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Android Phones to Get 18-Month Support Cycle

By - Source: Engadget | B 22 comments

One step closer to faster updates for Android users.

One of the biggest let downs about Android is waiting for the update. Sure, Nexus One and Nexus S users get them as soon as Google is ready to roll out the new software, but everyone else is left waiting for carriers and manufacturers to get their ducks in a row. In fact, it’s not uncommon for some users to not get an update. However, Google recognizes the fact that having such inconsistent software upgrades is a deal breaker for some customers and is hoping to address that issue.

Yesterday at Google I/O, Google announced that it was forming an alliance with phone manufacturers and carriers to ensure more reliable updates for Android users. Revealed during the keynote yesterday, Google hasn’t provided full details just yet, but we do know which companies are on board and how long they'll be supporting hardware for.

Google revealed that the new guidelines mean future hardware will be supported for 18 months after launch. That means you can count on your phone receiving all compatible updates for a year and a half after you buy it. Engadget reports that LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, AT&T, Vodafone, Sprint, Samsung, HTC and Verizon Wireless have all signed up so far. Andy Rubin, the father of Android, also mentioned that there is an ‘open invitation’ for other manufacturers and carriers to join, too. We’ll cross our fingers and hope more companies decide to get involved, but what we really, really want to know is if Google can get these guys to commit to rolling out the updates quicker.

We’ll keep you posted on that one.

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  • 2 Hide
    imin , May 12, 2011 4:59 AM
    this is what i want to hear before i buy any android device
  • 0 Hide
    proxy711 , May 12, 2011 5:30 AM
    Good news for samsung phone users. They take forever to release updates.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 12, 2011 6:02 AM
    sadly what its coming to is hardware functionality and network reliability, as far as the top questions to ask when choosing a android phone. Apart fro that those in the know, realize that the best thing they can do is to root their new device ASAP, dump the useless pre-installed apps and the 'already obsolete' version of android the device same with and put on the latest avail. android version on there with the apps and features they want.
  • Display all 22 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    jeffq , May 12, 2011 6:20 AM
    Of course, what the carriers might mean by supporting phones for 18 months is that you can expect one update 18 months after you buy your phone. AT&T (and Samsung) got almost halfway there by taking 7 months to get Froyo to Captivate, complete with an absurdly complex, flaky, Windows-only, manual process instead of an over-the-air automatic update. Nice job making phones as complicated and trouble-prone as PCs, guys!
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 12, 2011 6:22 AM
    Updates are set back because 1 the carrier needs time to load all their bloatware on it and it cannot be removed unless you root, and 2 they "leak" updates to see if it can be rooted and how to stop it. Motorola is notorious for locking down their phones, stay away from Motorola!! And Verizon loads all this unwanted garbage (bloatware) on the phone, avoid them also!! Currently HTC is apparently the way to go. Knowing what i know now, I will never buy another motorola phone
  • 0 Hide
    alikum , May 12, 2011 7:11 AM
    jeffqOf course, what the carriers might mean by supporting phones for 18 months is that you can expect one update 18 months after you buy your phone. AT&T (and Samsung) got almost halfway there by taking 7 months to get Froyo to Captivate, complete with an absurdly complex, flaky, Windows-only, manual process instead of an over-the-air automatic update. Nice job making phones as complicated and trouble-prone as PCs, guys!

    As trouble-prone as PCs? LOL my HTC Desire updates over the air. What do you say about that? And seriously? PC? Trouble? Those 2 shouldn't even be in the same sentence.
  • 1 Hide
    rantoc , May 12, 2011 7:12 AM
    jeffqNice job making phones as complicated and trouble-prone as PCs, guys!


    Trouble-prone & Complicated? Do you mean installing Windows7 once for instance and then don't have to care about it at all, if a person can't handle that with automatic updates etc they should not have any tech beside perhaps a toaster and a calculator!

    You Sir either troll or simply should not own any tech since it seems to be to complicated for you!
  • 1 Hide
    humbi83 , May 12, 2011 7:45 AM
    I have Sense 3.0 on a Desire HD today and it works just fine. They should ask the help of the xda community for porting to older devices. They should just allow access to their source repositories and not waste the time of talented people on decompiling their things.

    Just my 2c.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 12, 2011 8:24 AM
    The elephant in the room is security updates. Do they really intend to give people on a three year contract only 18 months of security updates?
  • 0 Hide
    Griffolion , May 12, 2011 9:30 AM
    An excellent idea, let's just hope it follows through as planned.

    humbi83I have Sense 3.0 on a Desire HD today and it works just fine. They should ask the help of the xda community for porting to older devices. They should just allow access to their source repositories and not waste the time of talented people on decompiling their things.Just my 2c.


    I agree, there's a whole community out there that can have their talent tapped.
  • 0 Hide
    guanyu210379 , May 12, 2011 10:07 AM
    @ humbi83: Yup! Agreed!
    I also think it s a good idea for the devs in XDA-Developers to receive the source repositories.

    -----InsertCoin v24 [Sense 2.1 + 3.0] CM7----

  • 0 Hide
    flightmare , May 12, 2011 11:41 AM
    This is a point I've bumped into lately.
    The Froyo update still is not rolled out in my country for the Milestone, so I downloaded the manual update from the Motorola UK portal. Now I'm finally running on 2.2, but I'm fearing the worst for 2.3 not even coming to my device at all.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 12, 2011 12:45 PM
    this a great move and is certainly going to steer Android ahead than iOS. however, does it also mean that after 18 months they do not care about their device??
  • 0 Hide
    The Greater Good , May 12, 2011 1:07 PM
    I'm glad that
    Androids are
    Going to get
    updates sooner
    ranter than later.
    I'm planning on
    buying the GS2
    when it comes to the US. Although it is nice to hear that my GS1 is going to be supported
    for a while longer.
  • 0 Hide
    jgutz2006 , May 12, 2011 1:44 PM
    Ok so im not sure who came up with the 18 months idea, but if these phone companies can subsidize a phone only based on the fact that they sign up for 2 year contracts (My American Education) tells me that this is 24 months, which means that Sprint, ATT, Verizon, T-MOBILE are all willing to lock you into a phone for 2 years without batting an eye but the prospect of supporting a phone during that entire time is ltoo much to ask for? Come on, what BS, I' think its total crap and i'm a guy who has a good job and pays the full price for my gadgets so these phone companies cannot lock me in anywhere.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 12, 2011 1:48 PM
    I have an LG GW620 with android 1.5 and not been updated since its manufacture. That I speak! I hope that LG do I sign today!
  • 0 Hide
    figgus , May 12, 2011 2:16 PM
    2 year contract should mean 2 years of support, imo...

    And I will never buy another Motorola phone as long as they continue to lock them down so tightly. HTC gets my money when this X is done. I want my phone to be like my PC: I expect my ISP to sell me connectivity, not lock down my computer.
  • 0 Hide
    fir_ser , May 12, 2011 4:50 PM
    Good to hear such news, now let’s see how it will be implemented by manufacturers and carriers.
  • 0 Hide
    c4v3man , May 12, 2011 5:39 PM
    Jacekring is right... the article's statement of
    Quote:
    you can count on your phone receiving all compatible updates for a year and a half after you buy it.
    is factually incorrect.

    Also, I don't care about manufacturers supporting the devices, I care about the carriers supporting the devices. I say make public access to all software releases within that 18 month process without carrier approval and then we're talking.... But even then, carriers are starting to look into blocking hacked/modded releases from accessing the network.

    Let android get big enough to be viable on the back of "open source" and "customization", then lock it down when you no longer need these features. Brilliant! Gotta love the telcos...
  • 0 Hide
    Rab1d-BDGR , May 12, 2011 6:31 PM
    After 18 months I'll generally have a new handset anyway, but this is still welcome news.
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