Nearly every Android smartphone user has suffered the irritation of knowing that a new version of Android has been released by Google, and they haven’t received it yet. Sometimes they never do.  Updates can often  take around six months to come, if they do at all. Why does this happen, and why does Google let it happen time and time again?

The bloatware process

Briefmobile The biggest cause of update delays which increases device-software fragmentation is not caused by Google, it is the fault of mobile phone carriers who install their bloatware.

Once Google has released a lightning fast, gorgeous new version of Android like Ice Cream Sandwich last year. The smartphone manufacturers then dirty it with their own bulky add-ons, and make a few tweaks here and there to help it run on a specific device. HTC adds HTC Sense, Samsung adds Touchwiz, and so forth, in addition to that and other cumbersome applications.

After the manufacturers are done (about 1-2 months), the software is passed on to the mobile carriers, who then add all of their custom software on top of the manufacturer’s. When I first got my Desire HD it was littered with HTC and T-Mobile applications I didn’t want or need, stealing up space, processor cycles, battery life, etc. Once the carriers are done putting on their bloatware and testing it out (3-4 months sometimes) the software is finally pushed to the devices the carriers and manufacturers deem ‘compatible’. Many devices do not receive software updates, even then they are perfectly capable of running the new Android builds…

The money-making racket that follows


One of the ways manufacturers and carriers make money off of Google announcing software releases is to hold the software back and only allow it to be released on their newest devices. This ensures that existing customers who want the ‘newest and greatest’ software will be motivated to purchase a new phone which runs it. This shouldn’t be the case — existing customers should receive a prompt over-the-air update.

This is only sleazy marketing to help start initial sales of new devices. Most devices currently running Android 2.3 Gingerbread are perfectly capable of running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the manufacturers and carriers just don’t want you to. This means that disgruntled customers like myself go and download custom ROM’s from the community which allow us to enjoy Ice Cream Sandwich, with the hassle of research and warranty busting that comes with it.

Google should put their foot down

All this bloatware and the delays of upgrades only hurts Android’s name and public perception, and the customers themselves. Google should lay down the line and give firm instructions on how software should be released to Android fans. It isn’t fair that Google make us a great new build, and the Scrooge-like manufacturers and carriers won’t release it on older phones just so they can make ever more money.

Google should start stating that if carriers and manufacturers continue to deliberately delay the release of Android, then those companies will be penalized by having to endure delays before receiving a new software build, while all their competitors already have it. That would certainly motivate carriers to distribute updates faster, since they can’t afford to fall behind.

Perhaps Google should put additions into Android to help networks out

I can see one of the viewpoints the carriers may have which causes them to hesitate releasing the newest Android builds.

When you look at sales records, networks are still having no trouble selling devices running Android 2.3 and in a lot of cases, Android 2.2. Why should they start making things more complicated for themselves by moving up to 4.0 when they’re already getting plenty of market share by selling the older stuff?

When you look at the new features in Ice Cream Sandwich, they’re all lovely additions for the user to enjoy, but offer no benefit to the network providers. It may be the case that, as well as Google being stricter with networks delaying Android releases, they should also do things to make releasing software upgrades worthwhile to the networks. After all, I can see why T-Mobile wouldn’t want to spend funds sending out a new build of Android 4.0 if it didn’t benefit them in any way.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I would be in favour of Google enacting a policy where carriers delaying releases invokes penalisation, as it would get the carriers into gear. With the popularity of Android right now, no carrier could say no and risk losing precious modification time with the next release of Android.

Do you think this is a good idea? Should Google release the newest builds of Android to companies who have shown their goodwill first? Did you want Ice Cream Sandwich as soon as it was announced, or were you happy to wait for carriers to make their additions?

  • Joshua Powers

    I think you all need a lesson in free market capitalism, OEM’s and carriers love android because of it’s ability to be fragmented/differentiated, Differentiation is important part of competition, which is why carriers and OEM’s aren’t crazy about windows phone. Yes the end result is android’s user experience isn’t reaching it’s full potential (which is debatable as UX is subjective) but in free market capitalism Technical superiority and user experience don’t make or break a product they are only a few pieces of the puzzle. Also the entire point of open source is that no one controls it. iOS devices are all the same because they are from ONE company, not many. All the companies using android are not just competing with Apple, they also compete with each other which is difficult when there isn’t many differences between yours and your competitors products. So if all these “issue” with android drive you nuts rage at the proper system, captialism, not Google (if they were control freaks like Apple we’d call them douche bags so they can’t win no matter what they do), not Android (this is how open works deal with it), not the OEM’s/Carriers (they exist for the sole purpose of making a profit and crapware/fragmentation/lack of updates help them do this). Also quit being lazy and root/rom your phone android’s openness is for you too if you’d just get off you butt and take advantage of it.

    At the end of the day, if Google did everything people keep insisting they do to lock down android “for a better user experience” it would kill android quicker than anything else and then we’d be stuck with apple’s and MS’s wall gardens

    • Gabba

      ^ This.

      People have no idea what they’re asking for and the effects it’ll have. If Google starts making demands, a la Apple or Microsoft, you better start preparing for unforeseen consequences.

      • Jerry

        Google doesn’t have to make any demands. All they have to do is continue updating their Nexus devices. People can buy them, then let all the skin-happy manufacturers with declining profit margins stand around with their proverbial dicks in their hands wondering where it all went wrong while Google just have Motorola offer up their phones/tablets.

        • Jerry

          In short: If you’re sick of skins and non-existent updates, vote with your wallet and buy Nexus.

    • Brian Sayatovic

      But what user even cares about the differentiation? TouchWiz, MotoBlur, Sense are all annoying. We can find third-party apps that are better and lighter than those. And carrier bloat? Please. Who uses AT&T Navigator for $X/month when Google Maps is free?

      I think the carriers and manufacturers need to learn a free market capitalism lesson: your software differentiations are not why people choose you, so quit wasting time and money on it!

      • Joshua Powers

        Small problem with your theory, Crapware/skins do increase revenue other wise they wouldn’t do it, they’ve been doing this as far back as there was such a thing a crapware, it it didn’t make them money they would have stopped by now. Also your right user’s don’t care about skins and crapware, however they also aren’t aware of it either, you have them a galaxy phone with touchwiz and all of Samsung’s crapware and they think it’s normal. Also it’s not about the user it’s about revenue and profit.

        • Erik Neu

          I think you are kind of both right. It costs to add stuff, so they must be doing it for a reason. I think the reason is that the marketing types want to have something to talk about that seems unique–something they can combine, in advertising copy, with the phrase “only on the X model” or “exclusvely from X carrier”. BUT–I think they are wrong, and sooner or later someone will have the guts and vision to prove it.

          • Joshua Powers

            I doubt crapware will ever go away, the pc market has had crapware and still has it to this day regardless of what anybody thinks of it.

          • Erik Neu

            But don’t Macs come crapware-free? That would help my contention–a provider that differentiates via vanilla will be rewarded.

          • Joshua Powers

            Apple products as a whole are more polished because it’s vertically integrated, Ideally every oem would like to do the same, but its a big risk as there are dozens of oems and developers aren’t going to rewrite their apps from scratch for dozens of different OS’s. This means they need a distributed platform (one OS for many OEM’s) in the past that meant trusting some other big company to get the OS UX right, and while this may have helped them compete against apple, it makes it hard to compete with each other as they all have the same os/ecosystem. Now android is a compromise for them, they get to alter android to make it their own but at the same time they get access to an ecosystem as long as they agree to a few guide lines. This is why android is successful and will continue to be so, it’s conducive to the free and open market. Also there is more to making a smartphone successful than making a BMW, a lot of android’s success is from budget devices on prepaid, lets face it, not everyone wants to spend 100+ a month and sign a contract, we have options. That’s ultimately android’s advantage over iOS’s polish and shine, options, not everyone can afford a BMW that’s why we have lower cost cars which are successful because if lower cost/more options.

          • Joshua Powers

            No they wouldn’t necessarily, because the market at large (geeks are a minority) doesn’t care about vanilla android, when they buy a phone they ask does it do what I need/want it to do? they don’t care about how the UI looks like or should, most of them are barely aware their phone is running android, or even what android is.

  • Every phone should have the option of having a stock Android software by Google with no software added and without needing root. This way when new updated roll out you just upgrade knowing it should be fine.

    This would force carriers to make better tweaks if they want people to use their modified versions. Offer some custom specific apps or mods that would make me want your software rather then make crap and force it on me.

    • Joshua Powers

      Do you have any idea how difficult this would be, android isn’t skinned, it’s modified that’s what you do with open source. So to do what you purpose, each phone would need twice the nand rom to hold two versions of the same os (carries “skinned” and Google pure) (this would increase the cost of phones as nand rom is the most expensive component in a smartphone), Google would have to build a stock image for over 1,000 devices, even they don’t have that kind of man power.

      • I and many other I’m sure would pay a little more to have a phone with Stock Android knowing you would get the latest update as soon as it was released. That’s basically Nexus phone that Google is selling. It would nice to have that option on other phones as well.

        • Jerry

          If the Nexus phone would add an sd card slot and keep up with current hardware, I simply wouldn’t need to buy or have Android on any other phone. I just recently sold what tablets I had and ordered the Nexus tablet. I have now since sworn off any tablets that are not from Google themselves, straight from the Play Store. I won’t even consider any other Android OEM tablets anymore. They’ve burned their bridges with me on the impossibly slow updates, if they ever come at all. Google is about like Apple to me now in terms of choices, although they will have a few more than Apple, but I simply will not stray outside of Google’s own offerings anymore. Too damn expensive playing the ‘guess which device sees an update’ game.

      • Moocow2024

        I’m not sure I follow your logic Joshua. If there was simply an unmodified version in addition the modified carrier version, no changes to hardware need to be made. I assume you meant that if they carried both versions… but that’s ridiculous.

        Also, why again would google be responsible for creating the software? Smartphone manufacturers already do this. They tweak android to run on their hardware, give it to the carriers, they tweak it to run on their network and add a bunch of shit.

        This would actually be an extremely simple solution to this problem.

  • Erik Neu

    I know the carriers want to find a way to have product differentiation, and look to do that by adding crap on top of vanilla Android. But since ALL carriers do that in roughly equal measure, if ONE of them zigged where the others zag, and staked out a reputation for being the pure vanilla Android offering, then *being vanilla would be differentiation!*. It would also: 1) Save them money–no expense on developing and testing customizations; 2) Let them be first out of the gate with new versions of Android and new handsets. I really think that if a carrier invested in this reputation *and stuck with it*, OVER TIME, they would reap a lot of benefits.

    T-Mobile, are you listening??

    • SamsaraGuru

      Once upon a time someone did a study. Why do people really buy from a particular manufactuer or purveyor of a product/service?

      They found in order of priority that there were four factors (I’m doing this from memory so the exact wording this isn’t):

      1. Will this person take care of me and look out for me.
      2.Quality of the product or service
      3. Will they be there when I need them
      4. Price

      What we have today with the “Post Pay” providers – Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint – are huge business concerns that know only too well that as W. Clement Stone – the Insurance billionaire wrote in one of his self-help books – “The way to get rich is to sell something inexpensive that repeats.”

      To that end the providers are flogging a dead horse paradigm designed to get people to temporarily forget their own self-interest for self-preservation and buy into their onesided two year contracts.

      To that end their offerings are all designed to make serve the goal of luring you into believing that you are getting a “good deal” and anything they can do to obscure the onerous thing they want you to committ to will be used and deployed.

      If you have ever spoken with a car mechanic what you will sooner or later hear is how the idiots who designed the engines, the layouts of the parts etc never fixed a car in their lives and are more interested in making the engine look good than actually trying to make it easy (or economical) for either the consumer or the mechanic to get it fixed when it breaks down – often right on schedule given the allowed life expectancy planned obsolescene requires.

      Apparently those who produce operating systems use the same type of thinking and give little real thought or concern for how the people down the road using their “brain child” are going to deal with the spoiled brat it ultimately becomes due to their lack of due diligence and precient thinking.

      Google has some of the best people in the tech world working for them. I find it really hard to believe that having all of that brain power at their disposal they could not have sat down and said:

      1. Here are the problems previous OS system creators have had
      2. Here are the approaches that worked; here are the ones that didn’t
      3. What should we copy; what avoid if we want to avoid the problems they had
      4. How can we make this as open and free a system as possible and basically unlike what Apple has done and is continuing to do in terms of its locking people in and doing all in its power to never let them escape their clutches.
      5. How do we create something that is going to be first and foremost of benefit to the people we SUPPOSEDLY are all serving – even if albeit with BS spin master generate platitudes of being “Good corporate citizens” devoted to our client’s welfare.

      MAYBE if someone had taken the time to do that; well maybe I wouldn’t and all of my co-contributors wouldn’t be need to take time to write – but then, we wouldn’t have the of expressing ourselves

      Have a good day everyone; call someone you love and let them know it!

    • Gabba

      The Nexus sales numbers beg to differ.

      • Erik Neu

        Meaning Nexus hasn’t sold well? I think there are alternate explanations for that. If the most recent Galaxy Nexus had been released across all carriers during the holiday season, I think it would have done quite well.

  • Joshua Powers

    Also lack of major updates, while annoying for us geeks, are not that big a deal, just look at the PC market, how many people are on Windows XP and Vista even though Win7 has been out for what 2 – 3 years? There’s only a handful of devices being sold with froyo, most everything else is gingerbread or above. And I don’t what to hear about how difficult it is for developers as the evidence doesn’t back it up, we seen new apps and games coming to android all the time so apparently they are figuring out how to deal with fragmentation just fine

    • Gabba

      For some reason, it’s not allowing me to upvote/”Like” your posts anymore :(

    • AppleFUD

      I generally agree with your points. . .

      The average user has no clue what version of Android they are running and I’m sure many don’t even know what OS it is.

      I’ve explained it many times to friends and family why they should buy a Nexus and avoid other Android handsets IMO. They don’t really get it — but I like ____. Why? they give me some strange reason that boggles my mind.

      And for those of us that can figure it out there are ROMs however, it isn’t necessarily the case that you can find a decent ROM for said device. . .

      This whole issue has been beaten to death and it is the double edged sword of Android, however, all customers have a choice. We can buy a Nexus & get our updates, etc — very much like any iOS user and like ios we only have one choice. However, we can also look to MS & RIM if we don’t like the situation.

      Thinking that Google must and/or will do such and such to make all techies happy is pissing in the wind.

  • Thing is updates take forever even if carriers add no bloatware to the firmware. In my country Vodafone doesn’t add any branded apps, but despite that ICS update for SII took forever, even though firmware was the same as an unbranded one. So it’s the manufacturers’ UX fault first and possibly carriers’ interest to sell new devices, bloatware’s fault is out of the question, at least in my country.

    • Joshua Powers

      Thing people don’t realize about android, is the arm hardware platform is not standardized like x86, as result it’s not possible to just take the source code and compile and ship right away, it needs to be modified for every different device, this is why MS is so strict on their hardware requirements, right down to the specific model of SoC (system on chip) oem’s use in an attempt to make updates quicker. As I keep trying to tell people they need to look at Android source release like a window RTM, pretty much the final version but third parties (oem’s and carriers) need time to integrate with their business strategies and product lines. Also take into account that large publicly trade companies think in terms of months and years, wanna know why that smart phone that released months after ICS release still has GB, because they started developing that phone months before the ICS source was released, these companies serve investors and share holders and have deadlines to meet, they don’t just turn a 180 when ever Google decides to do something. These phones don’t come from no where, it can take 6-12 months to build a phone from inception to final release, patience people.

      • Obviously someone is stalling and it’s all about the money. I don’t deny it takes time to adapt ICS to multiple hardware, that’s were WP and IOS wins, but seriously… waiting years to upgrade from Froyo to Gingerbread, which wasn’t much of a drastic change like Gingerbread to ICS, it really sucks. Glad i live in Europe, looks like US carriers need ages to update or bring new phones to their line-up at the same time with Europe. Let alone the fact US carriers love to change phones’ design.

        • Joshua Powers

          The main delay in updates regardless of who, is updates are not as high a priority as new phones because new phone bring in revenue where as updates increase spending there by cutting into profits. Also how have you waited years for gingerbread, it’s only been out for 1.5 years.

          • I didn’t wait for Gingerbread, read on a tech site about a certain old Froyo phone (can’t remember which though) updated to Gingerbread this month.

          • GBGamer

            Back flip 2, I think.
            On another point, I think that Google should restrict access to the Google play store for manufacturers that refuse to update perfectly capable devices. (Restrict access to the manufacturer, don’t take it out on older devices)

          • Jerry

            But at this point, I’d rather just buy a Nexus phone and to hell with the other manufacturers that want to jerk people around. Let them go back to manufacturing toasters and microwaves.

            Google just has to learn first that until phones are sporting 200GB as opposed to 16-32GB, SD card expandable memory is a must, and at this point, all phones should support SDXC standard instead of just SDHC which not even the Nexus does that currently.

  • Brian Sayatovic

    Upgrades for minor point releases of Android are one thing, but a whole new OS (like Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwhich) is something else. Getting a major upgrade for free would be like expecting Dell to give you a free copy of Windows 8 when it comes out.

    I, for one, would be willing to pay a reasonable about to get Ice Cream Sandwhich on my phone.

    • Android is freely distributed so that argument doesn’t hold up. When you buy Dell PC the price of the Windows is built in and that’s why an upgrade to Windows 8 would also cost you.
      But when you get a phone your only pay for the hardware since Google provides Android for free to manufacturers. And so yes when a new version is out I want it. Just like Linux/Ubuntu you get the latest version when it comes since it’s free distributed.

      • Joshua Powers

        So go and get it, like you say it’s free.

        • Modz

          XDA! You ever heard of that?


          • Come on guys. I change my ROM every week on my phone and tablet. As great as developers are there wasn’t a working Camera or 4G on Evo 3D until recently when official Virgin Mobile RUU was leaked. There are limitations there and not the developers fault.

    • Its free to go from Ubuntun 10.x to 11.x . Android is Linux the same should apply. Windows is a different realm.

      • Joshua Powers

        it is free, all you have to do is go get it. I did I never trust oem’s/carriers to update my devices

  • Fcastillousfq

    I think the best solution is to separate carriers from phone manufacturers. People should be allowed to buy any phone they want with any carrier they want. Carriers should be only service providers. Updates will come faster since only the manufacturers will have a say.
    Many countries work this way and it’s perfect.

    • Joshua Powers

      I totally agree, but in america the Government is given as little power as possible, and currently our government doesn’t have the authority to make our wireless market like that of other countries (not to mention the cost of trying to covert current network to a single open standard) to give our government this level of power scares a lot of people and would be a political nightmare and would take years to reach a consensus let alone put a law into effect.

      • Gabba

        “the Government is given as little power as possible”

        In other words, in the good ol’ US of A, the Gov’t doesn’t have the power to tell private citizens and private companies what they should or shouldn’t do with their private property. I fail to see how this is a bad thing; if the Gov’t can tell a telecom what to do with their spectrum, they can also tell them what to do with their patents and OS.

        It never ceases to amaze me how liberals actually WANT a selective dictatorship for their favored causes

        EDIT – Yes, I know spectrum is licensed, but my point remains – once it’s licensed, the Gov’t gives up control of how it’s deployed

        • Gabba

          EDIT 2 – I meant to reply to Fcastill, not Joshua; and I meant to say *some liberals – didn’t mean to make a blanket statement

        • Joshua Powers

          Your correct, it’s not a bad thing, much like democracy, android and free market capitalism it about freedom, the trade off is it’s often a little messy, but freedom is far more preferable to a dictator ship no matter how much crime/mess they reduce. Android is open, what the market looks like is what open/freedom looks like, too many consumers are too apathetic about the whole thing to keep companies in line. If you don’t like open then this is not the platform you are looking for.

        • “In other words, in the good ol’ US of A, the Gov’t doesn’t have the power to tell private citizens and private companies what they should or shouldn’t do with their private property”

          No, he’s saying the government doesn’t have the power to put the foot down and tell private companies (that want PROFIT) that they’ll have to do what’s best for everybody instead of what’s best for their pockets. Many things in capitalism are like that. Our society is not built so we can discuss how we can make things better. It’s built so we’ll have to choose premade choices and alternatives which are not always the best.. Or good at all. We’re sold on this ludicruous illusion of “choice” and “free market” and “competition” and so forth. That’s really way more improductive than gathering together and making things work*.

          But techies are so prone to believing that “competition is better than anything for innovation” that this idea will fall on deaf ears around here. Anyway, I digress…

          * Just for the record, no, I don’t want a selective dictatorship. I’m an anarchist. I’m just defending Joshua’s point of view because I see where he’s coming from, and that’s what I defend, I just don’t go to the same place… That is, I also agree with you in a way: if the govt. were to intervene I don’t think that would be such a good idea…

      • Philip Paxton

        So why can we not use our market power to get this going? IF every Android enthusiast said enough and demanded that their carrier do what they wanted with these phones then it would happen. The problem is we’d have to do without for while to make them know we are serious. So let us start here and now and demand our networks support timely updates, and no bloatware, etc. Odds are that one of the 4 carriers would do it.
        Or better yet let us do a kickstarter project with a goal of 10 billion dollars to start a Wireless network that actually offers all of these things? It could happen, but it is not likely. Look what happened to Light Squared. They got stomped out of existence. Maybe it was the GPS issue but more likely it was the big 4 terrified of a wholesale vendor that would truly allow for CHOICE!.

        As to the government intervening. I would support a Constitutional amendment that would make all Spectrum public and give the FCC the rights to block out frequencies for certain uses nation wide. There is no reason that all 1.9Ghz spectrum (for example) could not be assigjned nation wide for shared LTE use that all carriers can use. If all the Spectrum that just AT&T and Verizon, had was shared and used more efficiently we would not have any spectrum issues for some time. But since we screwed the pooch at the outset of this journey we will never see this.

        • Jerry

          Just buy a Play Store Nexus. You’ll have no bloatware and a lot more say as long as people are willing to drop the subsidies.

          • Jerry

            Google could also stand to do something, anything with all the white space spectrum.

    • carriersbad

      Ya, but many countries worked together to better the networks, but the Good ol usa with its capitalistic prowess tried to better the other guy and now has different standards. The oem’s can’t make one phone like they do in Europe and Asia. But i do agree with your idea. Would b nice

    • sn0wbaLL

      yup, here in Ukraine its like that. i lived in the states for 16 years, now living here in Eastern europe. the only thing that America will have trouble with is forking out the full price of the device. Here, carriers dont control the devices, but there arent any carrier subsides either

      • Jerry

        Gotta drop the subsidies.
        Although smartphones are supposed to be becoming cheaper. I don’t see subsidies being a necessity in the long run, much to carriers chargin since they claim to recoup the costs in service prices. No subsidies, no need for high data charges, for example.

        Don’t forget with technologies like Lightradio on the horizon, cable companies could very well become a serious threat to the cellular business if they decided to. They are already creating free wifi hotspot service around towns for their home broadband subscribers.
        Lightradio could really help to expand that coverage. Plus the cable companies already have roaming agreements of sorts with each other over these hotspots. Cellular companies don’t hold as many cards these days as they’d like to think they do. They could be in for a slippery slope.
        Must be why Verizon is looking to team up with Comcast. They know you could use Lightradio antennas and then backbone broadband, say over power wires. Things could get ugly in a hurry for cell providers since data is their only area of growth now as texting and calls can all be done over VOIP now.

  • Neal

    That’s one of the few no-so-great aspects of Android.

  • tyler

    the only thing needed is unlocked bootloader and easy way to root on all phones. People who don’t make use of these features don’t need fast updates. What you want is currently impossible due to the actual relations between the different market actors.

  • Very Curious News.

  • Fbarcelo

    As I see carriers are slowing down evolution and restricting my liberty just for adding software & services that usually are just useless or low quality copies of other software.
    My current phone is my 3rd android phone, allways hacked them and installed customized roms, but that should be something official, not a hackerkind option.

  • olbp

    Actually, a simple solution would be as follows:

    Google readies and releases a new version and sends it to the Manufacturer.

    The manufacturer, PRIOR to adding any of its own BLOATWARE, should be required to polish and certify that its version works on each of its devices in its BLOAT-FREE form.

    That manufacturer should then be required to return ITS polished version back to Google, who will store it temporarily.

    Meanwhile, the manufacturer sends its polished version, with or without BLOATWARE, up the ladder. When it is sent up a countdown starts at Google.

    If the final version is not pushed out by the carrier within, say, a month or so, then Google will make available the optimized, BLOAT-FREE version certified by the manufacturer.

    If it turns out that the manufacturer’s certified BLOAT-FREE version isn’t any good, it will reflect directly on the manufacturer, and if they stop certifying new versions too soon after the device is sold (angry customers with still young but obsolete devices), that will also reflect directly on the manufacture. EITHER way, the manufacturer has a direct incentive to make them the best certified, timely, and long available BLOAT-FREE downloads possible.

    A further step would also be desirable for the end user: After a month from release by the carrier the manufacturer’s certified BLOAT-FREE version would still be made available for users who wished to download it and rid themselves of all the CRAPWARE.

    As a direct result of this availablity, the carrier would then have a great incentive to make their “tweaks” both useful and easy to use.


    See, simple, elegant, and in the customer’s best interest. Let’s see it, Google!

  • denny henson

    goggle should just recognize the great roms that are out there like cm9 now they even update themselves and are pleasant to use.
    and a little thing called a insurance app from play store (3$ a month) would do away with warranty problems or at least be a start.
    if carriers don’t want to play take some $ away

  • Amel

    i believe if this dilemma continue to persist, one day Android will die forever. More rivals with new OSs will come up, or better still switch to Apple. Android is so slow in releasing new updates. If you want ICS, you are forced to buy a new highend phone from manufacturers, thats so dictator. Old phones are ignored for the updates. You can throw your phone into dustbin. Google should force manufacturers to ready the updates and force all of them to release new version of OS at once worldwide. Just like Apple iOS. That gives a huge impact to Android existence. Rather than releasing it by manufacturers’ timing decision. Bad reputation definitely. If Android wants to survive, they must change they way they manage and do business. Else it will die forever. A matter of time…

  • Bryan Wong

    Agree with you 100%. The manufacturers and the carriers are making tonnes of money and yet neglecting consumers loyalty. The classic example happens to be HTC and Samsung with their HTC Desire and Galaxy S!

  • LanceMiller

    I too Agree with you 100%.

  • Philip Paxton

    At the very least the OEM’s need to be forced to open source their driver(s) so that developers who love the platform can update the handsets the people currently have. IF they did this and also, forced Carriers and OEM’s to offer a simple way to FULLY (I am looking at you HTC) unlock one’s phone so that people will ALWAYS have the choice of loading a custom ROM if there is someone willing to spend the time to make it!

  • Bill Roth


  • Rii

    Samsung did the same with the Galaxy Note. They did not bump it up to ICS until the S3 release.. Here in India, we are still running GB on our Notes…Half a year since I bought the phone and ICS has been released, no update yet. A few more months and I’ll be looking enviously at the ICS 5 phone users. And, to think we do not even have carriers as middlemen in the process here! Thank you Samsung for my worst ever 600$ investment.

  • freedomispopular

    Under open source licensing, is Google even allowed to do this?

  • TheOne2125

    People be real here now, Google nows what they did and this is how they wanted it to be. If all those previous android phones would have gotten the updates. Androids marketshare would not be where it is now. Google was making a power play to increase marketshare that is not going to happen with people still using their HTC Desire or Galaxy S. Googles plan was simple flood the market and with later version tighten the screws on updates and openess, compatibility, and companies being able to make forks that totally bypass Google. This is why Google will loath the Moto deal China made sure they keep it open for 5 more years that is a long time and Google did not like that at all.

  • The best course of action is for google to manage 100% of the update department the same way Microsoft controls when you get updates for your windows pc

  • The solution is for google to take complete control of when you get updates in the same way that Microsoft releases updates for windows pc. If you own a hp desktop hp doesn’t determine when you get security and software updates for windows, Microsoft does. Google needs to take ownership. They release ics which is supposed to be a more universal xperience for all android users with capable devices but all carriers and manufacturers were without the update because the first release was exclusive to one HTC phone available only from Verizon. Like the article says, if your device is capable you’ll be waiting about six months for your update but if your device is 18 months old or older u may as well hang it up and go buy another tablet or phone or you have to root ur device like my dell streak 7 because the carriers just want you to spend another $300-$500 and it’s highway robbery. Google needs to take ownership…

    • Jerry

      Google can only take ownership of the Nexus devices since ARM hardware is not standardized like X86 on the PC is. This is where the ball is in your court. Buy Nexus, get the updates. Although avoid Nexus on CDMA like Verizon as GSM is not proprietary tech like CDMA to Qualcomm is. Verizon has been jacking around their version of the Nexus. If at all possible, get the GSM Nexus straight from the Play Store and your issues are over. Just don’t expect to get 5 years worth of updates or something equally unrealistic though.

  • To answer the question more directly, google needs to release to the user not the company. AT&T has no say so on when apple releases iOS for my iPhone…

  • geo

    i was a die hard fan never had an iphone…i’m done with android.sick of the bloatware,laggy,virus, battery,apps that don’t work.and no updates.

  • bahrta

    I agree with Fcastillousfq. I wish google would put up a stop to crapware, but I don’t see that happening.