An interesting parallel plus solutions for the ...

Posted by lando on Dec 22, 2012 10:54 PM EDT
Lxer; By Landy DeField (lando)
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After reading the very informative and interesting article "The checkered, slow history of Android handset updates" (two thumbs up). It had a different effect on me. Rather than, frustrate me, or cause me to cuss at the lack of frequency for Android OS updates. I found myself amazed that we are able to have a conversation about hardware manufacturers providing complete OS updates for a Linux based Android device. It also caused me to see an interesting parallel, and left me asking can we change this? If so how?

I see a very close parallel between the history of driver updates for PC hardware and updates for Android devices. Let's go back in time a bit... The history of driver updates for hardware manufactured for M$ powered PC's four years into the PC revolution was virtually nonexistent. You could pretty much forget about even finding drivers created by manufacturers for hardware that would play nice with Linux let alone updates for them in the first four years of its existence. So the fact that various different smart phone manufactures are even proving OS upgrades to their hardware that is running a Linux based OS four years into Android's existence is completely incredible. Especially considering the manufacturers continued existence counts on people upgrading their phones to the next greatest design and feature set.

Just like device drivers in PC's in the early years hardware manufacturers put their money into the device not so much the drivers that made them actually work well. Why? There is more profit in doing things this way. Customer demand and the need for higher powered devices to keep up with ever shifting markets forced the hands of manufacturers to produce higher quality drivers and updates for them. M$ was even sued into submission hence the birth of free updates to their OS. Yet after all of the time and practice, manufacturers have had over the years; it is still a hot topic for debate whether the drivers being produced are truly high quality. Remember, we are talking about the devices many times less complicated than a device that can run the Android OS. It seems a majority of manufacturers are handling Android updates with the same practices they have used for driver development of days gone by, this makes sense from a business perspective but not so much for us consumers.

Manufacturers create a micro fork when they reach into the Android OS and add bloatware; which of course makes updating the OS a lot more complicated. There's a lot of money in the bloatware so this will always be an issue to some extent. This is one of the top reasons why manufacturers do not get the updates out as soon as others or at all. Many manufacturers initially created devices with a single version of Android in mind.

What are we to do? The best solutions in my opinion are either to contact your device manufacturer and request that they take their fingers out of the mix and add less bloatware. Good luck with that. Secondly and probably the only way to guarantee faster updates. Vote with your currency and only purchase Android devices that are closer to or are running an untouched 100% pure Android OS.

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