Sony Xperia U

As many of you know, Android handsets only have a finite amount of time until software updates are eventually dropped. To be fair to the manufacturers, it’s tough to offer long term software support due to the sheer number of new devices released each year, but the news always comes as a disappointment.

Today Sony Mobile has compiled a rather long list of devices that will no longer be receiving official software updates. The smartphones in question range in age from about a year and a half to two years old, which is pretty much the typical lifespan of most Android handsets, although two years is still arguably a little short.

The list of devices which will “not receive any further software upgrade support” includes the following models: Xperia arc S, Xperia S, Xperia SL, Xperia ion, Xperia acro S, Xperia go, Xperia P, Xperia J, Xperia miro, Xperia sola, Xperia tipo and Xperia U.

No doubt this is disappointing news for some of you out there, but on the plus side it’s nice to know that Sony is being upfront about future device support. There are plenty of cases where consumers have been patiently waiting for updates which never materialised.

How do you feel about Android software support, should manufacturers be expected to continually push out updates for old handsets, or is short term support a small price to pay for more regular hardware refreshes?

Robert Triggs
Lead Technical Writer at Android Authority, covering the latest trends in consumer electronics and hardware. In his spare moments, you'll probably find him tinkering with audio electronics and programming.
  • Al-Mothafar M. Al-Hasan

    Not Sony alone, all companies must be clear about this point, to avoid disappointment, they must add something about that each phone is limited time for support till specific date or release, Like “in 2015 we will stop support this phone” in each phone on package, or when release phone they must add note like any specification, “Phone under software supported 3 – 4 years from first launch date”, instead of shocking news or just sudden like that, at least its shows respect for their customers – or fans.

    Wonder, like Samsung Tab 2, still no single upgrade for its Android from release date.

    Anyway who is care, since there is another awesome custom ROMs like CyanogenMod (BTW I’m worry about being payed ROM instead of free later) , but this is for me, but for regular users its not good, they even don’t know what is ROM.

    Anyway its bad way from companies to keep you buy newest phone they have with high price before drop and keep their markets in flow.

    • Jack Parker

      The average consumer doesn’t know or care about custom ROMs. They expect Sony etc to update there phones like apple do

      Even though the iPhone 4 runs terribly on iOS 7 they still put it on there

      • Al-Mothafar M. Al-Hasan

        You got my point, This is what I tried to say indirectly :)

      • Opinion

        you did not got the point of the price “average consumer” did paid for the phone,i believe iphone user paid a flagship price for their phone,so they do get the flagship treatment ,where most of the phone that does not support by sony now are mid/starter phone,and apple does not hv a lot of hardware to deal with since only one/two phones a year with minor updates on the software but sony make smartphone for wide range of salary and actually “average consumer” does not even know/care about the updates or what android version their phone hv as the phone still function as they buy it

      • On a Clear Day

        Perhaps it would help if people did a little serious due diligence before they bought their phones? Instead of walking in and buying something suggested to them by a self-serving salesperson, who probably is almost as ignorant as themselves about what that “great” phone they are selling and you are considering has to offer.

        As far as Apple and its updates go – well, if you will keep the size of the unit exactly the same for nearly five years; if you changed very little in terms of RAM as well as other specs over the entire series – except to add basically for now useless features like a 64 bit processor so you can again claim to be “revolutionary” – gee, that would make it pretty easy to update the operating system – since nothing really has changed – there is a good word they have invented for this syndrome – BORING.

        Part of what makes Android infinitely more appealing to me – and I would imagine most people who eschew the servile, indentured servitude attitude of supplication of Apple’s – our way or the highway – attitude is that it offers me the flexibility to have choices; configure my devices as I will and not be locked into a cell with no hope of ever escaping.

        But, with freedom comes responsibility and the necessity to THINK for yourself; weigh choices and options; to use your imagination to “look into the future” and see where this decision or choice will take me and the necessity to consider a manufacturer’s reputation – re customer support as well as updates.

        I don’t care for Sony as a company; given its modus operandi in the past has always been – like Apple – to do everything in its power to get you trapped into their ecosystem by making their devices incompatible with everything else on the market.

        However, if you look at the list someone was kind enough to post above of devices Sony brought up to Ice Cream Sandwich level from Gingerbread etc – that’s not too bad a track record and they are to be commended. I am waiting for the S5 or may even wait for the Note 4 to come out – why? Because when they do what I will have are devices that will have all the horsepower needed to keep up with whatever starts gaining on them in the rear view mirror for about 3 years or so.

        If you use our head; buy the best your money can buy and are realistic about your expectations, you will rarely find yourself too terribly disappointed and won’t have to lament that a manufacturer “done did you wrong” – when in fact you were just uncircumspect and thoughtless in your choices.

    • renz

      So far I like what Sony do with firmware updates. I bought my xperial L around mid last year. The device launch with android 4.1 and Sony upgrade the OS to 4.2 late last year and between that there were also firmware updates fixing stuff. But to ask manufacturer to specifically mention how long they are going to support a device it’s not easy to do. But at the very least maybe they can follow Google standard on how long to support device which is 18 months.

      • Android Developer

        I wonder what the things google said about this standard meant for the manufacturers.
        It seems like instead of being the minimal time, it got to be the maximal time. something that only premium devices should enjoy.
        what good does it make to tell others there is a standard, if no company handles it?
        and even when google presented better tools to help manufacturers update their devices (PDK), and updated the OS to handle low end devices well, and google even showed that a medium-end device can work like a high-end device – all of that , for nothing…
        no company seem to make updates a regular thing. all android users wait for months between the release date and the update that might not even come.
        it’s truly a sad thing.

    • Henrique Rissi

      The Tab 2 had an update from Android 4.0 to 4.1.2, but you need to use kies to update it.

  • At least they are admitting it rather than making people wait.

  • Jack Parker

    Not really fair for those who can only afford mid range phones. I managed to get a z ultra for cheap and I’ll probably stop getting updates in a year or so which is still bad

    All companies should release a 1 low/mid/ high end phone and support all of them

  • Juan A C

    It sucks, all of those devices would benefit inmensely from KitKat. It forces you to stay on ICS or to buy a new device. It’s bad for the user and bad for Android.

    • najiy91

      agree on the kit kat point.

    • xPnoyStar

      Well, most of the chipsets from these devices are from NovaThor, which is now bankrupt. By the way in the Xperia S, it has an old chipset from Qualcomm, which Qualcomm doesn’t support anymore.

      • Android Developer

        but Qualcomm wasn’t bankrupted, so why did it stop the support on its chip?
        why can’t sony make reasonable deals with the chip manufacturer in order to be able to support their devices for 18 months?

        I mean, all of those devices are far behind the newest android versions, and some didn’t even finish their 18 months support yet…

        • xPnoyStar

          1. I didn’t say Qualcomm is bankrupted, Novathor is.
          2. Sony hasn’t got enough money.
          3. In the US, you can sue companies, but in the rest of the world not. :(
          4. Sony has no chance to update these devices, when the chip manufacturer is bankrupt or don’t support the chip anymore (Snapdragon S3).

          • Android Developer

            1. I didn’t say you said it did. I said it’s no excuse about Qualcomm .

            2. So it shouldn’t have made devices it can’t afford to support.

            3. With a contract, you can sue anywhere there is a decent judging system.

            4. Again, Qualcomm wasn’t bankrupt, so it’s no excuse to stop supporting a device that was released less than 18 months ago.

          • xPnoyStar

            1. I’m sorry.
            2. Yeah, then look at Samsung. They only update their flagships.
            3. Ok.
            4. List of updates:
            Xperia S/SL : 2.3 –> 4.1
            Xperia Sola 2.3 –> 4.1
            Xperia P: 2.3 –> 4.0 –> 4.1
            Xperia U: 2.3 –> 4.0
            Xperia Ion (LTE/HSPA): 2.3 –> 4.0 –> 4.1
            Xperia J: 4.0 –> 4.1
            Xperia Tipo: 4.0 (it was/is an entry level android phone)
            Xperia Acro S: 4.0 –> 4.1
            Xperia Go: 2.3 –> 4.0 –> 4.1
            Xperia Miro: same as Tipo
            Xperia Arc S: 2.3 –> 4.0

            Like you see almost every Sony handset had a major update to the next android version.

          • Android Developer

            1.+3. ok.

            2. who said samsung is doing well with its low/medium end devices ? they should support their devices too, as google has agreed with all of the big manufacturers. I still think they should have supported the first Galaxy S for longer time and even the second one.
            anyway, samsung creates a lot of devices compared to sony, and as I recall some of the devices that are mentioned here are considered flagship devices (xperia S , xperia Arc S and xperia ION) .
            Those are not so far from Galaxy S3 in terms of release date (just a matter of few months , some are even newer), and it will have 4.4 …
            the SGS3 was released on 2012/5 .
            If you talk about flagships, that at least they should be updated, then Sony can’t have this excuse here…

            4.just look at what i’ve written here, to see why I think it’s not respectable:

            as you can see, some didn’t get updated more than once, none of them will get 4.3 or above, some are 4 versions behind the most updated version that they should have got, and some didn’t even finish their 18 months support yet…

          • xPnoyStar

            2. Hoho, they are doing well on the low/mid end devices They flood the market and only the flagships get updates?.
            Not all of their sales are of their flagships.

            Yet, again that’s a little bit unfair, because the S3 is powered by an Exynos chipset and Exynos belongs to Samsung.

            The chipsets used in these phones you mentioned, are a little bit old (Snapdragon S2, S3). None of them aren’t getting any updates anymore. Deal with it. By the way the prices of them were lower than the S3!

          • Android Developer

            2. true true. It’s really hard to track how many devices Samsung is releasing, and I’m sure some of them don’t get much attention.

            About the SGS3, if Sony can’t make good contracts, maybe it should create its own chips then.
            Also, as I recall, the SGS3 also have other versions that don’t have Exynos. Did it get a new 4.3 version ? If so , what’s the excuse there?

            Prices aren’t an excuse either, since the phones are still considered to be in the 18 months support, and they were considered high end devices.

            Also, my guess is that since custom roms do excellent jobs without any drivers updates, this is also not quite an excuse.

            One day, my SGS3 will also have an AOSP based rom. I’ve already tested it in the past and it worked perfectly fine. I just prefer some of the Samsung functionality that I keep the stock rom.

          • xPnoyStar

            Ok, but you need to know that the Samsung Galaxy S3 with a Qualcomm chipset has the S4 Plus, which Qualcomm does support.

            And check out that you can get the AOSP code(s) for the Xperia L, Xperia S, Xperia Z/ZL and Xperia Tablet Z.

            Yeah, but the point is, these phones mentioned in the article was released after the split of Ericsson.

            Sony’s biggest mistake was the use of the old chipsets, but now they’re back on track. :)

          • Android Developer

            so Sony chose to use old chipsets , knowing that it won’t be supported, hence they knew their devices won’t be supported, so this is not a good thing at all.

            You say xperia Z and the rest of the currently new devices will be different? I sure hope so. I like competition, and provided that Samsung also has its own mistakes, I would love to have more decent choices.

          • xPnoyStar

            Yeah, that was one of their huge mistakes.

            In 2013, they are completely different.
            I have the Xperia Z (no wonder :D) and it’s latest update (4.3) is completely stable.

            More competition == More choices

  • Brendon Brown

    You guys moan, but I’m not seeing any other OEM as much as trying to go that far down the line … Just Saying

    • Android Developer

      trying far in what exactly ?
      some of the devices didn’t even finish the 18 months support. some have stopped being updated from day one…

  • RanRu

    Did any of the smartphones of yesteryear (Samsung Eternity, LG Vu) ever get firmware updates?

    Side note, remember when Apple was charging users money for firmware updates and Android was still free?

    • Brandon Miranda

      That was only for the iPod I believe.

  • Luka Mlinar

    I haven’t seen any updated on my U since the ICS. they couldn’t even take the time to fix the bugs, and as i found out; the U has more than an ant farm. This is what my menu looked like yesterday.

    • Android Developer

      How did it happen?

      • Luka Mlinar

        You tell me :D
        I wish this was the only big. My home screen can auto rotate. This shouldn’t be able to happen but i can use it in table view. Every now and again the phone has a new surprise for me.
        BTW the phone has never been rooted.

    • Juan A C

      I installed eXperience, from xda. I have a blocked bootloader, but it works perfect. It really sucks to have 512MB of ram, wish I could jump to a Moto G

  • kurta

    They’ve killed support for Xperia U about 1 year ago. Last update that I recived was long time ago. They could at least do one last update to fix some bugs before announcing this.

  • Jayfeather787

    Well that sucks.

  • David Avila

    I thought that Xperia Tipo’s updates were killed more than a year ago! Why did they brought it up again?

  • Nipun Tj

    i got xperia miro with ICS no kit kat WTF Sony. google have to do something

  • BBGG

    Did software update support for Xperia Play already dead???