Why do Android manufacturers suck at updates ?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Tig Bitties, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. Tig Bitties macrumors 68030

    Tig Bitties

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    #1
    I am a big Android nerd fan, loved the GPE line, was great to have a stock Nexus style OS on a flagship phone like the HTC One M8, and had official Google OS support for it. And I also prefer unlocked phones that allow custom ROM's, etc... Or even sorta like stock Android phones like the OnePlus One, running Cyanogen.

    Anyways, why do Android manufacturers like Samsung, and even HTC suck at updating their phones ?

    My point is let's say the Samsung Galaxy S5 for instance, or even the HTC One M8. Both flagships phones from last year. Both phones have the Lollipop update being released right around now, and they change the phone a little bit, but not what you would expect from a major upgrade to 5.0.1, coming from 4.4.4 Kit Kat they were running previously. My point is, they still look OS wise almost the same as their Kit Kat versions of Touchwiz and Sense 6, with Lollipop features.

    But come this Spring, both manufacturers will release their brand new flagships, the S6 and M9, and those will be Lollipop based as well, but will look radically different and newer OS style wise, with a whole new Touchwiz OS and a whole new Sense 7. But why the big style difference and OS look over Lollipop on the S5 ? Why will the S5 running Lollipop look outdated compared to the S6 running Lollipop ? Why even do that ?

    Look at Apple with their iPhone line, or Google with the Nexus phones. When iOS 8 came out, the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5, all got the update, and they look the same, not a different style or look to it on the older iPhone's, it's the same across the board.

    Look at the Nexus line. When Android 5.0 Lollipop was released, the Nexus 6, Nexus 5, and Nexus 4 all got the update, and all three phones have the same OS, all looked the same, not different style, or look, but the same across the board.

    Look at past history. Why does the Galaxy Note 3 Touchwiz, look so different than the Note 4 Touchwiz, running the same 4.4 OS ? The Note 4 Touchwiz is a lot nicer and newer looking, than the Note 3 running the same Android OS. Why do they do that ? Why didn't the Note 3 get a Touchwiz update, to make it match the Note 4 Touchwiz style at some point ? They are both running 4.4 Kit Kat, but different Touchwiz versions. WTF ?
     
  2. MkVsTheWorld macrumors regular

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    #2
    It's all about the money. Apple has higher profit margins than many Android manufacturers. Therefore, it's more profitable for them to focus efforts on new handsets. Also, carriers play a big role in stalling updates too.
     
  3. gotluck macrumors 603

    gotluck

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    #3
    Yea IMO it is all about money / getting you to upgrade.

    I've went from 4.2.2 to 5.0 on my GS4 GPE and I'd wager performance has improved with every update. It really puts a damper on my desire to get a new phone, especially since there is no true successor to that phone.

    Apple usually has a pivotal hardware feature that compels people to upgrade year over year. Android OEMS struggle with that - they kind of went all-in from the onset. Battery life has been the main new feature in 2014 for android or screen resolution I suppose.
     
  4. Tig Bitties thread starter macrumors 68030

    Tig Bitties

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    #4
    Well then for me, it will only be Nexus phones, or manufacturers that allow rooting and unlocked bootloaders, to flash AOSP ROM's.

    Or Jailbreaked iPhone.

    But what gets my craw, is the strange updating or not of previous phones, from Samsung for example. The Note line is a great example. Again why does Touchwiz on the Note 3 running 4.4 Kit Kat, look so different and outdated compared to Touchwiz on the Note 4 running the same 4.4 Kit Kat ?

    The Note 3 is supposed to be a top flagship phone, only like a year old or so. It can't be considered obsolete already.
     
  5. nviz22 macrumors 601

    nviz22

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    The point is to market to you. They want to get their buyers to get shiny object syndrome. They are committed to getting updates at their own accord and when carriers want to bloat them enough. It's the nature of the business. One thing with iOS and Nexus users is that they're basically guinea pigs for those with other devices or aren't early adopters respectively. Fragmentation is also there. iOS and Google don't carrier bloat. What you're asking is to have them say "you know what, we make too much profit, so let's be friendlier towards our customers." Samsung may not be Apple, but their business model works. Apple controls every aspect of the software and who their hardware partners are. Honestly though, if you want a Multi-Window w/ Samsung, you need to wait. iOS 8 lacks multi-tasking and battery life. Nexus is just generic and overrated software that serves as a basis for Android and nothing more. It's just simple. I have a 5C and Note 4, my Note 4 is my primary device for a reason.
     
  6. Tig Bitties thread starter macrumors 68030

    Tig Bitties

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    #6
    At least with an iPhone or Nexus phone, when a new update comes out, you know you will get it, and not need to have the brand new shiny latest phone that was just released last month.

    Android 5.0 Lollipop was released for the Nexus 5, Nexus 7, GPE phones, and Nexus 4. And all got the same update, not a gimped lamer version on the older Nexus 4, it got the same update. Same with the iPhone. iOS 8 was released for the old iPhone 5, and it was the same iOS 8 as the iPhone 6 Plus. Not a different looking iOS 8, but the same.

    But why does the Galaxy S4 running Kit Kat, look so much different than the S5 running Kit Kat ? I ****ing HATE that :mad:
     
  7. nepalisherpa macrumors 68020

    nepalisherpa

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    #7
    Apple makes its own hardware and software. They can focus on the hardware, build the update, test with carriers, and release it. In the Android world, Google builds the update then the manufacturers tweak/fix it for their hardware, then the carriers have to f'it up, and then, it finally gets released. So, even if we take carriers out of the equation, it will still take a longer time for devices to get updates.
     
  8. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    Because Samsung has so many damn phones that there is no way they can offer proper software support to all of them, especially considering the wide variety of hardware being used. For example, the community was bitching and moaning about TW on the S4 so they redesign it for the new S5. What they're not doing to make a skin that works well across all of their hardware--too much time and effort. So S4 owners are stuck with old TW.

    And also what everyone else said--Samsung is a hardware company that is relying on you regularly replacing your phone to make money. There is no financial benefit to them to provide long term updates to its customers. Why spend anything updating software on a device they don't won't you to keep?
     
  9. Tig Bitties thread starter macrumors 68030

    Tig Bitties

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    I don't really have issue with the length of time it takes for Android 5.0 to hit the Nexus, and then wait 3 months for it to be released for like the HTC One M8 officially. I am fine with that.

    My point is why does HTC for example, have the M8 with Sense 6 with Lollipop, and then the M9 with Sense 7 Lollipop, and the M8 will take forever to ever see the Sense 7 update. Like Samsung not updating Touchwiz on older devices to match current Touchwiz look and theme, even though both phones are running the same Android version.
     
  10. gotluck macrumors 603

    gotluck

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    #10
    I like this, but you have to be careful with that second paragraph because apples business model is basically the same. :p Samsung (more than just Samsung really) should be treating updates with more parity imo because of the goodwill it creates that we see Apple experiences.
     
  11. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #11
    Agreed but Apple is in a significantly different position, predominantly due to the loyalty of the customer base, their vertical integration (with full control over their software) and less hardware to support.

    I don't think Samsung necessary neglects their devices intentionally but rather the resources/cost of supporting so many variations of so many devices makes it cost prohibitive.
     
  12. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

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    That's just a lack of planning on Samsung's part, easily reflected in their lower profits.

    Samsung needs 3 - 4 global phones a year at most.

    The customers are watching. Support after the purchase is an issue for many consumers. It would be in Samsung's interest to instill more warm and fuzzies by being quicker with the updates and overall support.
     
  13. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #13
    Samsung support sucks, as does their quality control in my experience. 5 different Note 4's all with hardware issues. 2 weeks to get my phone back from one of their 2 service centers in the US saying there is nothing wrong with it when I can reproduce the issue at will. I have no plans on purchasing an iPhone as it's not the phone I prefer, but damn I'm jealous of just walking into any Apple store and having my phone replaced on the spot. THIS is one of the reasons IMO that Samsung is losing money so badly, you just can't compare to Apple's customer service.
     
  14. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

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    #14
    Last 3 Samsung android phones I purchased all had warranty work and exchanges. Their QC needs work for sure. That includes my Note 4.
     
  15. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

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    #15
    What exactly was wrong with 5 different Note 4s?
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #16
    This is one major reason why I've shied away from Android, and if I return, I'd want to be able to root it so I can update it, to get a vanilla version so it comes straight from Google.

    I think Manufacturers put too little time, effort and energy in updating existing models, and as time goes on, there's less and less output them, i.e., older phones won't see much love
     
  17. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #17
    Faulty GPS hardware on all of them, my last and current one the entire phone freezes for a second every 5 or so seconds. I've tested, configured, factory reset, flashed custom ROMs, kernels, etc and cannot fix them. I have a great need for the stylus/digitizer so I just settled and kept my last one.
     
  18. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

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    #18
    Glad I haven't experienced that on mine. I use GPS almost daily.

    I wonder if the metal sides have caused interference for some.
     
  19. Tig Bitties thread starter macrumors 68030

    Tig Bitties

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    #19
    Samsung is obviously making throw away devices IMO, by not supporting them much after a year later and the next gen device is out.

    I still have my old Galaxy S4, it is the white ATT version, beautiful phone, very good one handed size, I like the actual feel and size of that phone a lot. But man Touchwiz is the worst on the S4, just so laggy, the settings menu is a mess. And again my big beef, even though it has been updated to Kit Kat, it still runs the old looking Touchwiz it launched with two years ago, Samsung doesn't update Touchwiz on older phones, just the Android version, but keep the old outdated Touchwiz, which seems really odd.

    At least HTC will eventually update older phones to the current Sense version, down the road. So Sense 6 looks the same on the M8 and M7 and both running Kit Kat. You don't see HTC updating the old M7 to Kit Kat, but still keeping Sense 5 on it.
     
  20. MasterRyu2011 macrumors 65816

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    It's just a different dynamic in play in the Android space. Apple controls both hardware and software of their devices. Samsung needs to wait for Google's update and then tweak it for TouchWiz so it doesn't break things. I don't know how much time OEMs usually have to play around with early builds of Google's updates, but I would they think they need time to build upon it with their skin. That's the nature of the game. Also, just because things don't look drastically differently doesn't mean there are no big changes under the hood.

    Maybe it's not a matter of them "sucking" but more about the cost and benefit. The general public as a whole doesn't really care about new OS's. In fact, most find it a nuisance to update. Maybe OEMs just don't see the benefit on prioritizing OS updates.
     
  21. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #21
    I think that's the mentality of a number of Android makers. Kind of sad :(
     
  22. TacticalDesire macrumors 68020

    TacticalDesire

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    #22
    One thing to consider is that in 2014 alone, Samsung released 5x as many phones as apple has since 2007. Apple has released about 10 models to date.

    1, 3, 3gs, 4, 4s, 5, 5s, 5c, 6, 6+

    Samsung released 52 in just 2014
     
  23. sunking101 macrumors 603

    sunking101

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    #23
    Apple also suck at updates. Sure they keep on coming, but they still suck. Apple send updates to attempt to cure previously buggy updates. I would much rather have a nice, stable OS and then *not* update it. Why all this clamour for 'updates'? The Emperor's New Clothes?
     
  24. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #24
    You think Apple is the only manufacturer to send out updates to correct bugs? Last time I checked, there wasn't a single version of any mobile OS that stopped at the very first release. There have been multiple versions of every major Android release since, well, it was first released. Hell, there have already been two .X updates for Lollipop and we're just three months out. Lollipop is probably the 'least stable' major Android update in the past 4-5 years. And I'm not pointing fingers or making accusations--releasing major OS updates is rough work and never goes perfectly smooth.

    The difference is that approximately 75% of iOS devices are running the latest OS available while barely 1% of Android devices have its latest release and only 40% are even running KitKat which was released 15 months ago. That's what people are complaining about.
     
  25. sunking101 macrumors 603

    sunking101

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    #25
    I hear what you're saying but I'm just countering. I've had nothing but problems with iOS updates for, well, pretty much the whole of my five + years of iPhone ownership. In my experience they either slow an older device down, create battery drain, or introduce bugs. Practically every single iOS update.
    The thing is that since iOS7, people count down the hours to each new update because they desperately need bugs attending to....and in the main most bugs just aren't fixed and you always play roulette with battery drain & fresh new bugs. Then there's all the hassle of doing clean installs and setting up as a new phone in order to hopefully cure the issues. This rarely works and it's a forlorn, pointless task nine times out of ten...but we try it anyway.

    My Android devices have been historically pretty stable out of the box and I haven't been crying out for an 'update'. People always moan that only Nexus devices get prompt updates and that Samsungs etc only get one (untimely) update in their lifecycle. Who cares I say! So you might miss out on a couple of features you won't ever use and probably don't need, or you'll have to do without the 'fresh new look' etc. I've actually grown to loathe updates because they're usually a huge letdown.
     

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