Back in December, Google showed off and released the latest version of their phone-based platform. Gingerbread, or Android 2.3, brought several changes like NFC support, an interface overhaul, better power and process management and several other overall performance improvements. But the showcase in December was just a ploy to arouse the inner nerds in us all. Anyone who knows how Android operates when it comes to firmware upgrades knows that the process is far from quick and painless.

Based on previous accounts, we figured it would be several months before any phones started to receive their Gingerbread updates. The upgrade from Eclair to Froyo kick-started with the EVO just three months after Froyo was announced back in May of 2010. That said, nobody thought it would take half a year for Gingerbread updates to start rolling out. Rumors of the 2.3 update heading out to HTC, Samsung and Motorola phones have all circled the web a few times now, but nothing has actually happened on a large scale yet.

Android version 2.3 is nearly six months old and very few phones have been graced with the holiday treat. The only phones that officially have Gingerbread at the moment (save for the Nexus One) are phones that released with 2.3 like the Nexus S and the Xperia Arc – all of which came with little to no changes to stock Android. On top of that, phones are still being released with Froyo. It is rumored that the Droid 3, among other upcoming phones, will initially be equipped with Froyo instead of Gingerbread.

Google is allegedly taking control of the situation and has claimed to be battling both fragmentation and the lackluster update process. They are supposedly minimizing and monitoring every change that manufacturers make to their Android skins and will be enforcing much quicker updates from manufacturers across the board.

In theory, all of this sounds great. But why are new phones – that are being released over six months after the latest firmware announcement – still shipping with old software? It should be a priority to both the manufacturers and Google to have these phones ship with the latest firmware. Instead, we are brought new hardware with outdated software, forced to wait months for a firmware update to bring the phone up to speed. By that time, a new software is likely to be around the corner – and this whole process beings again.

Truth is, Google needs to enforce some type of policy that manufacturers have to agree to; it should require every newly released phone to be running Google's most current software. Realistically, manufacturers will need several weeks or months to have the new software working smoothly, so there should obviously be some leeway. But two to three months should be ample time for manufacturers to have most of the kinks worked out. And let's be honest, even after they take six months to a year to push these updates out, they will still be as bug-ridden as usual.

The next Google phone – expected to be running the upcoming version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich – is rumored to launch sometime before the year is up. Considering we are approaching the midway point of 2011 and no major roll-outs of Gingerbread have started, we are probably going to be dealing with a serious backlog of Android updates.

They say fragmentation is waning and turning to a non-issue. Just wait until the majority of Android users are stuck on firmware that is two versions old, with no word or foresight of any update. Let's see if users think it is a non-issue then. I don't know about you, but the Nexus line is looking better and better with every passing moment.

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45 Reactions to this post

"Why are most Android phones still shipping with Froyo?"

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Emanuel Ringo Anyone knows when i'll get the gingerbread update for my desire Z? - exact date...
Chris Langham I have a sgs captivate and I honestly don't mind running (ROOTED) Froyo. I am running Mosaic II (custom rom) right now but I don't mind froyo. Gingerbread is nicer though.
Mik N Salganek I wanted driod 3. At next christmas
Michael Spotts Because people will pay a premium price for phones that have the newest and greatest hardware/software. Why give you something you'll pay for? I have a hero and an evo running 2.3.
Edrin Gibson Fragmentation
Ed Covert @Alex: Soon. @Shawn: Most users? Try about 1% of Android users. If that.
Lorenz Angelo Barcelona @Shawn please read what I just wrote a couple posts up
Shawn Meadows Because they know the most users will root the phone anyway so what's the point in the out of box OS?
Alex Werries Isn't my g2 supposed to be getting the update ota? When will this happen?
Casey McCurry the real question is...will it blend?
Zach Cline Suckwiz .
Zach Cline Stock android is boring. As far as HTC sense goes, It';s the best out there as far as i'mn concerned. That's why samsung copied it with touchwiz 4.0 and motorola copied it with their new version of motoblur. So i wouldn't exactly call it crap.
Tony Abiama Who knows... I don't see a huge improvement coming from Froyo to Gingerbread anyway.
Patrick Bishop Becouse comp like htc have to put that crap sense ui on it and then make us wait. Just give us stock android please. I shouldnt have to root.
Zach Cline @ Israel. There's an idea. Gingerbread for the droid incredible is supposed to get released in the upcoming weeks, But knowing verizon it's going to take them another two weeks to push it out. So that means i won't see gingerbread until sometime in july most likely.
Iam Ariff maybe That phone can UPGRADE IT............to 2.3.......
Israel Leiva Because Google is getting lazy like Apple. They need to hire Cyanogen to help with the updates. Maybe have us manually download the update from a website versus waiting for our stupid carrier to send them out.
Shuaib Abdullah Id love to know the answer to this
Jakarri Jacobs I think the manufacturers are holding out for ice cream sandwhich
Marion Stevens Jacob beat me to it. Since most manufacturers overlay their own UI, they have to make sure it works correctly with the OS. In addition, most carriers have apps they want included, which also slows down updates. And finally, manufacturers have to make sure the new OS works with their hardware. And consider that new versions of Android are being released in very quick succession, much faster than other OS'es. A phone might go into development when one version is just being released, only to hit store shelves as the next version of the OS is coming out.
Justcallme Ren Gingerbread is still buggy in some departments and not slcompletely stable. Froyo however is completely solid. There are still a lot of apps and things optimized for 2.2 still and you can't just throw an untested phone out there thats wwhy there are updates. Gb is still fairly new. That's just my take on it :-)
Lorenz Angelo Barcelona Hey hey for all of you people who think you are smarter than all of us on stock please just stfu.....not all phones have custom roms ok.....just look at the galaxy s 4g, development there is pathetic..... all we have is one kernel and deodexed roms and as far as I can tell, those are not real custom roms or gingerbread.
Andrew Veale "Apple" and "timely updates" in the same sentence? Trolls trollin
Zach Smith In all honesty cyanogenmod runs better than most stock software, its really sad.
Anh-Tuan Le You have no idea how expensive letters are. Froyo only has 5. Gingerbread has 11.
Glen Perez Because they're a**holes
Lau Nielsen Else they had to open all of the boxes, turn on the phones and upgrade them, too much work =(
Jason Wilkinson The companies started building the software before gingerbread was released
Johnny Tooter Shackelford That is BS! They said the G2x shipped with GB 2.3, wrong! It still has Froyo 2.2.2 and, T-Mobile hasn't put an update on their site yet.
Zach Cline @ Tim. You're not getting the official updates, Just cooked up ROM's by amatuers. And one word : Fragmentation.
Jacob Yarbrough Because each phone has to have it customized to it's needs, and that would take way to long for the phone to be released.
Hansel Starley As long as my Windows Phone keeps updating I'm happing. I don't care about Android fans with their 2.3 updates and their separate Sense Update etc... I wish more companies where like Apple with timely updates.
Christopher E. Truty Carriers are fucking stupid and lazy
Paris Coke because these companies are fucking stupid
Sabrina Gonzaga i have no idea
Ramon Quintero Fragmentation
Sunny Patel I don't really know, why don't they all ship with gingerbread ? I think all high end devices should get the upgrade and the new ones should ship with it.
Joe Noyola Good question!
Konner Shea because manufacturers suck. ham
Tim Miyashiro It doesn't matter, my phone is rooted. I don't have to wait for carriers to release updates
Lorenz Angelo Barcelona Because carriers are stupid......
Dre Desvignes i'm guessing demand and supply issues?
Victor Rios That's what I want to know

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