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Author Topic: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?  (Read 5554 times)

superboyac

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What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« on: August 06, 2010, 09:23:30 AM »
I'm reading about Android, and one issue keeps coming up that puzzles me:
People are talking a lot about Android versions (2.1, 2.2, etc.)  But they make a big deal about the versions.  Like, this device is running 2.1, but 2.2 may be available later.

My question is, why can't people just go and install the latest Android version as soon as it comes out?  That's how it is with all software.  All the software I use I just upgrade to the latest version.  It's a non-issue.  i don't get all the talk and fuss about it.  Is it not simple to upgrade Android?  Shouldn't it be?  Why should anyone be running 2.1 when 2.2 is out?  I'm not understanding something here.

edbro

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2010, 10:38:01 AM »
There are only 2 ways to upgrade the os. 1) an official, over the air download from the service provider or 2) root the phone and install a home brewed rom.

In the first case, the phone manufacturer and service provider have to integrate the os into the phone and ensure it works with all the hardware and apps.

In the second case, rooting the phone is not for the casual user. There is always a risk of bricking the phone. And, the warranty might be voided unless you can unroot.

I am currently waiting on an official release of 2.2 for my HTC Incredible.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 10:39:35 AM by edbro »

barney

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2010, 10:51:11 AM »
Quote
I'm not understanding something here.
Thee & me.

Can't speak to the other hardware, but I've tried to research the smartphone arena.
What I've found is a pretty soft implication that some phones cannot be upgraded to higher levels of Android because the phone hardware won't support the upgrade.

Nowhere have I found a statement to that effect, just implications - and very soft ones, at that.

'Twould seem that the developers don't care to try for any kind of hardware regression capability.

edbro

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2010, 11:00:06 AM »
What I've found is a pretty soft implication that some phones cannot be upgraded to higher levels of Android because the phone hardware won't support the upgrade.

I haven't seen that but I don't doubt it. I have seen some phones that will have some limitations after an upgrade. If I remember correctly, the original Moto Droid will get the upgrade but will not have the wireless hotspot capability that is in 2.2. Hardware limitation is what I read.

barney

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2010, 11:01:20 AM »
Quote
I am currently waiting on an official release of 2.2 for my HTC Incredible.

While I'm still waiting for an upgrade to the 1.6 version on a MyTouch :mad:.  Think they'd rather you buy a new phone than upgrade the software :o ;D.

I've a curiosity, though, anent upgrading other, non-phone hardware, whether the upgrade capability will follow other OS standard practices or mimic the telecom scenario.  Already know of one netbook upgrade failure, but that guy is a bit inept, so don't know if was OS upgrade fail or user fail.

superboyac

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2010, 11:17:24 AM »
I see, edbro. I was just reading a little about it.  It sounds like I take Windows for granted.  Windows is designed to be upgradeable, and it's not normal for an OS on a device to be so easily upgradeable.  i think that's the situation with Android.  Unlike PC's, Android is being used on a variety of devices with a lot of parts and components inside that are not open and standardized like the stuff we stick inside a pc.

It really makes me appreciate how far along we've come with pc's.  The fact that I can go to the store and buy any of the video cards, or hard drives, etc. and just stick it in and have it work.  imagine if phones or laptops were that way.  We pick the screens, keypads, inside chips, memory, and put it together ourselves.  Hey!  That's a business idea...

barney

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2010, 01:05:59 PM »
Quote
Hey! That's a business idea...
Yeah ... now get the telecoms to buy into it  ;D.

Edit:  look how long it took before we could buy our own land-line phones, instead of going through Ma Bell.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 01:07:44 PM by barney »

superboyac

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2010, 01:10:45 PM »
Quote
Hey! That's a business idea...
Yeah ... now get the telecoms to buy into it  ;D.
That's the great part.  It would be like a big F-U to the phone companies.  If we can build it, we tell the phone companies that all we want from them is their service.  If it becomes popular, they would have to submit.

It would be exactly what Dell did to get huge.  let the consumer build his own cell phone, and just buy the service from the phone companies.  Whose idea was it to tie the phone and service together?  Time Warner doesn't give me a computer when I buy their ISP service, why should phones do it?  We don't think about it because it's so normal for us.  Mark my words, someone is going to become the Dell of cell phones and they will become very rich for it.

barney

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2010, 01:26:32 PM »
Oh, I agree wholeheartedly.

But I spent the last decade of my corporate existence in telecom - MCI - and suspect it would take an act of congress to get them to go along with it, much less buy into it.  While it would significantly reduce their overhead - inventory, store maintenance, floor space, just to name a few - it would also generate a competition they really don't want.

From what I've seen, folk don't buy service from Verizon, Qwest, AT&T, T-Mobile, et.al. because of the service:  they buy the service because the phone they want is there.  The iPhone is a perfect example of that.  My service is T-Mobile.  Not because I think their service is great - it ain't! - but because I wanted an Android phone, 1st the G1, then the MyTouch.  And I'll probably stay with them because they've another Android-based phone I'd like to try.

From a consumer standpoint, your concept would be fantastic - the telcos would actually have to compete for your business with true service and innovation.
From a telco standpoint, it would be abomination, and I suspect they'd use every possible means, some legal, some shady, to fight such a development.  They don't want to lose their mini-monopolies  ;D.

mwb1100

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2010, 01:54:20 PM »
What I've found is a pretty soft implication that some phones cannot be upgraded to higher levels of Android because the phone hardware won't support the upgrade.
I think this is true - an Android build includes a Linux kernel, and the drivers for that kernel are generally compiled in for the particular device. This is really closer to a firmware update than upgrading a desktop OS. A new Android package really has to be built for each device.

Deozaan

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2010, 05:08:30 PM »
What I've found is a pretty soft implication that some phones cannot be upgraded to higher levels of Android because the phone hardware won't support the upgrade.

I haven't seen that but I don't doubt it. I have seen some phones that will have some limitations after an upgrade.

Yep. I have the original T-Mobile (HTC) G1 (known as the Dream outside of the U.S., IIRC). It simply does not have enough internal memory or other built in hardware for the latest versions of Android OS. It would be like trying to get Windows 7 to install on a 512MB hard drive you originally bought for your 386/66 Windows 3.11 PC almost 20 years ago. I don't think you could even squeeze it down to that size using vLite.

Even if I could get Android 2.2 on my phone (keep reading to find out how I can!), I still could never get my camera to have a flash, since there is no light on the back of the phone.

But hope is not lost! The beauty of the open Android system (as opposed to iPhone, and probably Blackberry and Windows phones) is that some fine modders were able to reallocate internal memory of my G1 so I can get Android 2.2 on my phone using Cyanogen Mod. I'm still on 2.1, but even that was supposed to be impossible for my phone.

If I remember correctly, the original Moto Droid will get the upgrade but will not have the wireless hotspot capability that is in 2.2. Hardware limitation is what I read.

Cyanogen Mod (CM) has allowed me to turn my phone into a hotspot. I used to have to download a special app for my phone for it (which required a rooted phone anyway) but now it's built right into CM 2.1. So maybe the Droid could work as a hotspot with CM installed.

I highly recommend anyone with an older Android phone who might be drooling over the new stuff they "can't" have to try out CM, especially if your phone is already out of warranty. I was becoming super jealous of my friends and family with their new Droids and DroidX and Incredibles, etc., just waiting for my contract to be up (still 9 months to go!) so I could upgrade to a better phone until I found out CM finally got 2.x working on the G1/Dream. Now I actually prefer my G1 over the DroidX. Well, the software part, anyway. I'd still love the better/faster hardware newer Android phones have to offer. :)

And yeah, there are still some things I can't get. I think certain apps are restricted to certain phones or carriers. For some reason I can't get Skype Mobile on my phone. It doesn't even show up in the marketplace (aka app store). Obviously a software upgrade isn't going to give me HD (720p) video recording or an 8 MP camera or a 1Ghz processor. But it's greatly pacified my previously strong desires for a new Android phone. Now I can bear the wait much more patiently.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2010, 01:20:32 PM by Deozaan »

Mark0

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2010, 06:23:54 PM »
If I remember correctly, the original Moto Droid will get the upgrade but will not have the wireless hotspot capability that is in 2.2. hardware limitation is what I read.
That's the telco company (Verizon for the Droid, if I'm not mistaking) "official reason", but it could well be that they simply don't like to expose that feature of Android 2.2.

Adding to all the above, if one want the most quicker upgrade path, he can always get a Nexus One; being a "Google Experience" phone, the day a new version of Android is released, it can be downloaded and installed.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 06:26:11 PM by Mark0 »

JavaJones

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2010, 05:40:17 PM »
Nexus One is no longer being sold, in the US at least.

In general you can upgrade most any Android device to a newer OS, but you do have to do some hacking. Sometimes a lot of it, sometimes less. In many cases it is fortunately quite easy. But the phone hardware makers seem to be wanting to make it harder (see Motorola with their new hardware in the Droid X for disabling custom ROMs).

So the Android market is unfortunately somewhat fragmented. There are plusses and minuses to the Android approach in general. Sadly you do need to do some hacking for most Android phones to upgrade to a version of the OS not yet officially supported by your carrier. This is a carrier problem, not a fundamental OS or hardware limitation. The carriers want control, and they also want to differentiate their devices with custom UIs (if only they were optional!), and these UIs take time and dev money to upgrade for newer OS versions, so either there is a delay while the UI (e.g. "Sense" or "Motoblur") is updated, OR they choose not to bother spending money on the update for a really old device. In either case it's annoying and unnecessary restriction.

I'm honestly impressed Apple has managed to maintain upgradeability for their phones to the latest "iOS" versions as long as they have, but that's because they have complete control over the hardware and a very limited model line-up with minimal hardware differentiation. In fact it's a mirror of the classic Windows/Mac difference, with millions of different Windows PC models, and usually 5 or 10 (largely similar) ones on the Mac side. But if you want anything that is not standard on the Mac/iPhone side, you're out of luck. No physical keyboards, no alternate networks, etc.

Which leads me into Deo's point (that I was hoping someone would mention, or I was going to :D), which is that in some cases it really is a hardware limitation, which is no different than how things are in the PC (or Mac) world. Newer versions of OS X for example have minimum hardware requirements, and won't run on older systems. In some cases (e.g. older CPU architectures no longer supported), you actually physically can not install the OS onto the older system as it doesn't include the right drivers. Maybe there is a way to get it to run with hacks, I don't know, but Apple makes it very, very hard.

In the case of Windows you can generally ignore the minimum specifications and install anyway, e.g. onto an old system with 128MB of RAM. If it works to install it, it probably works to run it, it just may be really, really, really slow. But it's your choice to do it. Since Windows has been based around standard x86 architecture for decades, it's not really a matter of a CPU not being supported. Maybe peripherals (e.g. audio drivers, etc.) won't be available for the newer OS, but the core system functions.

Anyway, what's going on in the Android space is that the hardware is on an accelerated development curve, and that's what separates it from the PC world and makes it seem so "wrong" to people (people used to Windows/Linux, or who bought in to the underlying promise of a Linux-based smartphone OS) that a device only a year or two old can't get the latest upgrade. The thing is we've more than doubled our CPU speed and memory in that time, and that's unprecedented in the desktop world. Think about any time in the past when you would have doubled CPU speed in a 1-2 year period (or less). Last year's Droid was the hot new phone at 600Mhz, and with 256MB RAM and 512MB ROM. The Droid 2, coming out less than 12 months later, has a 1Ghz CPU, and other phones (like the Samsung Epic I'm planning to get) have 1GB of memory and rising. Motorola is apparently aiming to have a 2Ghz phone by end of year! The speed of hardware upgrade is staggering, and to take advantage of the newer stuff, you inevitably leave the older stuff behind in certain ways. Maintaining backward compatibility is not always hard, but sometimes it's necessary.

On top of all this is the issue of the carriers and their lock-in desires, which I mentioned above. So no matter how much some of us might want it to be, the fact is just because Android is based on Linux doesn't mean it gives you that level of real freedom. You're still at the mercy of your carrier to some degree, even if you root your phone.

For me Anroid is still a big improvement over anything else out there, but I do wish the carriers and hardware vendors allowed a little bit more cohesion. If they weren't so concerned about lock-in and differentiating their devices *in software* (or if they at least made these things optional), everything would be a lot nicer in the smart phone world.

- Oshyan

barney

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2010, 06:10:43 PM »
The one thing that Microsoft did - the thing that made them a household word - had little or nothing to do with the OS, per se, but with the software standardization that was accomplished.  Yeah, Apple did much the same, but Apple has always over-priced their stuff - that's what let MS out-perform or surpass them in market share.  That's also a significant issue right now with Linux distros - too many applications that require a specific distro.

I was hoping that Android - and a bit of vision on the part of manufacturers - would do for the smartphone market what MS did for the PC market.  It still could happen, of course, but until the big players in the telecom industry abandon the Apple [proprietary] attitude, and the Linux [forking] attitude, I just don't see it happening.

Perhaps, if the telecoms concentrated upon unique application of software, as opposed to unique and proprietary  hardware development ... alas, not likely :(.  It seems to me that they could take a lesson from Intuit, Peachtree, a few others that have created their own niche in a mostly standardized OS world, but, then, I'm not the CEO of AT&T, T-Mobile, et.al. :huh:

Mark0

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2010, 06:17:05 PM »
Android IS a pretty standardized platform, in terms of applications compatibility.
There's much talking around about fragmentation, but that's mostly not the problem it seems.
For example, a pretty complex app like Google Maps Navigator, run on every Android version from v1.6 on.
That's about 84% of the Android devices around (according to this: Android developers - Platform Versions).
« Last Edit: August 07, 2010, 06:20:18 PM by Mark0 »

JavaJones

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2010, 07:04:05 PM »
The applications are pretty standard, yes. The only exception is largely to due with hardware features, not software, as far as I understand, and that is generally specific to e.g. whether it has a GPS, the screen resolution, whether it has a physical keyboard, an enhanced gyroscope (6 axis), etc. Newer OS versions also bring newer features, so if an app takes advantage of them it will require that OS. But most apps probably run on at least 1.6 at this point.

The real problem is actually that most manufacturers *are* trying to differentiate themselves in software *not* hardware. Most phones out there, aside from physical design, are almost identical. 90% use ARM-based CPUs, similar GPUs, same size batteries, similar size and resolution displays, similar memory, have no physical keyboard, and similar support for GPS, wireless, bluetooth, etc. Where they differ more significantly in many cases is their custom UI and app set. Motoblur, HTC Sense, etc. If these were just application bundles that were only available from the phone manufacturer and/or carrier, you could upgrade the OS and keep the app, no problem. The thing is they fundamentally change the UI design and so require a change to the OS itself, thus needing to be updated with each OS version. Stupid! Well, not stupid, but really annoying and IMO unnecessary.

Much of what they're doing could be implemented back into Android core (open source) and then everyone would benefit from it, and it could be made as optional UIs or even simply applications. Even if they don't want to make it open source, doing it as a custom application bundle would still allow differentiation of devices while avoiding the update delays. We really need the time to come when phones will be more like regular computer purchases, not tied to any carrier, and allowing any OS version we want. Maybe it will never come though...

- Oshyan

Mark0

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2010, 07:27:28 PM »
But that's exactly the basic idea behind Android: an open platform on witch every manufacturer can buildup, even differentiating their products to a great extent, if that's what they choose. Then letting the market and userbase decide what they prefer.
If users will show preference to barebone devices, with no particular extension to the standard UI, and quick update cycles, then the producers will probably adapt. If instead many will show appreciation for certain things, like for example the Sense UI, surely HTC will continue to work on that, even if that mean delaying new OS releases.
I for one would surely prefere a Nexus One.
But I think the large part of the userbase will not even realize the difference between the OS versions, or even what an OS mean. Things like Facebook contacts integration in the phonebook, or some fancy graphics are a much bigger selling point for many, so I understand why various manufacturers choose spend time on that too. It's their choice, and mine to look elsewhere.

barney

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2010, 07:40:14 PM »
Quote
not tied to any carrier, and allowing any OS version we want. Maybe it will never come though...
And therein lies the crux of the matter.  Each carrier wants to keep a 2-year contract with services that only they - regardless the phone involved, or even the OS - provide.  In order to do that, they're getting more proprietary than any software development company ever dreamed of becoming.

The hardware platform - even, to some extent, the OS - is irrelevant so long as that contract is signed.  It had been hoped - my hope, at least - that the advent of the Android phone system would alleviate that issue.  It has made great inroads on Apple's iPhone existence.  However, the providers seem more interested to provide features that are hardware related. 

It's no big thing if the phone you currently possess cannot use all the features of an Android upgrade, we've become accustomed to that as applications require more and more CPU/GPU power, and we eventually find ways around, for the most part.

It's not particularly disturbing that the MyTouch that I have cannot utilize all the functions of the latest Android update.  It is upsetting that I have to resort to sometimes unsavory methods to discover that.

But, if it were freely available from the telecoms, they would lose their aura of - what to call it? - invincibility? - supremacy? - profitability? - coverage? - I don't know.  After all, even if we should select a new phone for it's capabilities, we have to sign a new contract, and probably pay a penalty for terminating the old one.  I do know that the provider combat is making us collateral damage, since the existing providers are emulating Apple's proprietary mode rather than concentrating on providing service. 


Mark0

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2010, 07:46:06 PM »
One thing to keep in mind is that the phone-telco ties are country dependent.
For example, here in Italy is pretty usual for the just a bit experienced / passionate user to get a new phone from whatever source (shop, online store, ebay, etc.), and use with a SIM from any mobile provider; and also change from one telephone company to another periodically, depending on the evolving pricing plans, offers, etc.

JavaJones

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2010, 09:29:35 PM »
But that's exactly the basic idea behind Android: an open platform on witch every manufacturer can buildup, even differentiating their products to a great extent, if that's what they choose. Then letting the market and userbase decide what they prefer.
If users will show preference to barebone devices, with no particular extension to the standard UI, and quick update cycles, then the producers will probably adapt. If instead many will show appreciation for certain things, like for example the Sense UI, surely HTC will continue to work on that, even if that mean delaying new OS releases.
I for one would surely prefere a Nexus One.
But I think the large part of the userbase will not even realize the difference between the OS versions, or even what an OS mean. Things like Facebook contacts integration in the phonebook, or some fancy graphics are a much bigger selling point for many, so I understand why various manufacturers choose spend time on that too. It's their choice, and mine to look elsewhere.

This would be fine assuming the market were a bit more open (in the US). I would feel better about trusting consumers to buy the superior phone, reward the companies doing good, and punish the ones doing badly (by not buying) *if* your choice of phone were not also influenced by your choice of carrier. Since that's not the case here, the whole phone buying thing is much more unclear, and it's much harder to make a good decision. You have to take 2 major factors into account when deciding on a new phone - carrier and manufacturer - and they may be directly opposed to each other at times. If you like AT&T as a network, or for their prices, or whatever, you are limited by the fact that they have a contract with Apple and tend to favor iPhone products and so you were largely unable to buy any decent Android devices until recently. Or let's say you're looking at two carriers that both have a good selection of Android phones, but the one you really want is only on one network, and you prefer the other network.

This is exactly what I'm dealing with now. I want the Samsung Epic because it's one of the few top-spec phones with a physical keyboard (I hate the virtual ones, though they are improving). It's only available on Sprint, but Verizon has the best network. Fortunately Sprint's prices are a little better so I don't mind that much, but if I could get the Epic on Verizon I would! And no I don't want the Droid 2, with Motorola moving toward more hardware lock-down, not to mention the lack of AMOLED and a front-facing camera (and 4G, when it comes to SF, though I care less about that).

It's like the whole game exclusivity thing with game consoles. ARGH!

And as Mark0 said, things are different in other countries, so clearly it doesn't *have* to be this way. The way it is in e.g. Italy is basically the way I think it should be. I can make a purchase from a cell phone hardware vendor based on the brand, features, and OS I prefer, and then make a completely separate and independent carrier choice, and the two will work together just fine. I can even decide to later switch carriers, or switch phones, with no penalties or whatever. Granted I have to pay more up-front for the price of the phone, but over the 2 year (average US) contract you pay more anyway *and* you have to keep paying the same rate (your prices don't go down once your contract ends). Insane. The broadband providers seem to do fine not bundling high-priced hardware with their service, and like it or not the cell service providers are also likely to end up as "dumb pipes" given the advancement of hardware and services, and the desire for mobile Internet services. If you're good at being a "dumb pipe" and price accordingly, it's not so bad...

- Oshyan

barney

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2010, 09:40:54 PM »
US phone service has been a closed market since the first cell phone came out.  FTC opened up the market when it disbanded/fragmented Ma Bell (then known as AT&T - guess who's back ;D), but the market started closing again when cells appeared.  So it's well nigh impossible to get the phone you want with the service or provider (not necessarily the same) you want in the US.

The hope was that Android would, to some extent, alleviate this situation.  Someday, it might.  But not  :( right now.

JavaJones

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2010, 09:54:21 PM »
I don't see how Android *can* alleviate the situation. It's just an operating system. The interests of the phone makers and the carriers is in keeping things the way they are, I think. At least that's certainly true for the carriers...

- Oshyan

barney

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2010, 10:45:22 PM »
Android can do it the same way Windows did in the PC market.  When I got my first laptop - a business machine - there were probably half a dozen different OSes current.  DOS, in several different flavours, but others that I cannot remember - think the laptop was MK/V - ? - but not certain.  I'm not forgetting Amiga, Z90, all the rest that fell by the wayside - they fell.

At that time, Windows existed, but didn't work - Borland's (?) Carousel was better, and I was using OS/9 on a Tandy CoCo for my home stuff:  it had functioning, workable windows.  Software - if you could find any - was catch as catch can.  DOS was the most common and varied, and that's one of the things that started to make DOS the prevalent OS.  Then MS presented Win 3.0, 3.1, 95, 98, 98SE in fairly short order.  That's when software standardization really began.  It had started with DOS - if most  everything you could find, even games, ran on that OS, ya naturally wanted to use that OS - and a functional Windows platform, even on a DOS platform made things more attractive.  Compaq had a proprietary system, as did HP, and a few others, but they'd all run Windows.  The name of the game was standardization - if your hardware couldn't run Windows, it wouldn't sell.
Android has the capability to do the same thing - as more people adopt it, more manufacturers are going to be constrained to conform to it.  As that happens, more hardware vendors will be equally constrained to create fitting platforms. 

Yeah, that sounds like a stretch.  But considering that the smartphone hardware is advancing at about four times the rate that PC hardware did, it's a near-future reality.

And it's not hardware that drives software, it is software that drives hardware development.  So, Android has a real shot, good or bad, at creating the kind of standardization that happened with DOS/Windows.

(Before someone brings up OSx, Linux, et. al., remember that neither one would likely exist w/o Windows as a target/incentive.)

If Android really does get going, service/hardware providers are going to have to accommodate or lose market share - anathema to them!

JavaJones

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2010, 10:53:30 PM »
What you're proposing *might* happen, but more likely is that app makers will simply target older OS versions that are more broadly compatible, and the high-end will remain fragmented. The carriers and hardware manufacturers will need to change their attitudes for anything more fundamental to really work I think. Although it's possible that as Android evolves, stuff like what Sense and Motoblur enables will become more part of the core and thus obsolete, and then at least the manufacturer side of things would be more cohesive. Then you just have the carriers in the way...

- Oshyan

barney

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Re: What's up with Android versions and upgrading?
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2010, 12:06:22 AM »
Granted, I'm looking to the future.  But I'm also remembering.  The Amiga was superior, in many respects, to a lot of desktop systems in existence today.  There was another, a competitor whose name I do not recall - and too damned lazy right now to research it - equally capable machine, as well as the Z90, which took a different approach to most everything.  None of them exist today, save in ROMs that can be used in Windows or in a DOS/Linux environment.

What I expect to happen will be much along the same lines as DOS/Windows - adventurous app makers will embrace a new environment, people will adopt the newly created apps and complain when they're not available on older systems, then the vendors - and other app makers - will take note.  Then the explosion begins.  Android may not be the platform for that, but it has the capability, if its developers pay attention to history.

As for the app makers targeting older OSes, I don't think so - most of the ones I've know want to use the latest and greatest in order to display their genius.  Understandable - I'd do the same thing if I had the talent.  If you think about it, many of the requests here on DC are for things that no one else has done - many of which really push the edges of what is doable in the current environment(s).  But the folk here manage, don't they?  Not every time, but the successes are significant.

These are the people, and many like them, that will push some phone OS to its limits, and force manufacturers to accommodate their products, whether for free or for coin.  When that happens, service providers will have to acquiesce or go under.  'Tis my thought that Android - particularly being not vendor-specific - could provide the platform for such.

Perhaps not.  But it is the most viable phone OS I've encountered for that capability.  And when that happens, whatever the OS, the hardware folk and the service providers will have to acquiesce or go under.