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If I try hard to remember, I think the first time that I saw a regular amount of people say that the general consumer doesn't care about updates was sometime last year. Maybe way back at the beginning of 2011. It could have been earlier than that. It probably was. It doesn't really matter when it was, just that it was said.

There was a point back then that I would have disagreed. I would have disagreed simply because I know a lot of "general consumers" who want new software. Whether it's for their computer, or their camera, or whatever other gadget has some kind of functional upgradeable operating system, they want to make sure that they're on the latest version of it.

Not simply because it means having the latest and greatest (not always, anyway), but because being on the latest software usually indicates that the company behind the software is still trying to improve it and protect it, from whatever's out there that might harm it.

A lot of people compare the updates we get on our phones to the updates that we see from computer manufacturers. Both Microsoft and Apple release free minor updates to their platforms, Windows and Mac OS X respectively, for free. However, both companies charge for the major upgrades. If you're on Windows 7 and want to upgrade to Windows 8, it'll cost you. The same goes for upgrading to Mountain Lion from Lion.

I've asked in the past if you'd be willing to pay for software upgrades for your phone, and many of you would. Which makes sense.

So, riddle me this. If the general consumer doesn't care about software updates, why are manufacturers putting *any* thought into upgrading their devices? Serious question. Unless the update is vital to the device's existence, meaning it patches something in the software that is essentially broken and needs to be fixed, why are manufacturers even *trying* to keep up with the latest software?

Is it because the "tech people," the people that are apparently outside the general consumer line for whatever reason, care about it that much? Or, is it because sites like PhoneDog run stories about software versions, and point out in some instances where a certain device might be launching with outdated software?

Or, is it because manufacturers point out that they're launching with outdated software, and then make empty promises about upgrading it?

They're empty promises because there's no way to know for sure that it will come true. In fact, sometimes (more often than not?) it just doesn't happen at all.

Let's look at the DROID RAZR HD and DROID RAZR MAXX HD. Motorola announced these two devices, and said that they're running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. *However*, they will be upgraded to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean sometime before the end of 2012. An empty promise, *especially* based on Motorola's track record.

Why put yourself into that position? It doesn't make any sense to me. You are setting yourself up for disappointment from the consumer. Why? Because you honestly have *no idea* if you can get that update out before the end of 2012. And, honestly, that's all that matters to the consumer now. To me, who is a consumer as well as a "tech person." Now that you've told me the phone is going to get updated, and you've even given me a timeline, that's all that matters. That's what I'm going to be looking forward to when I buy the phone.

Stop it. Stop caring about updates. In fact, stop talking about them entirely. For you, manufacturer, honestly, they shouldn't matter. You showcase your new device based on its own merits, talk about how great it is with the software it is *currently running*, and then people buy it. There, you've done your job. Now, just make sure that software keeps running properly, is patched when it needs to be patched, and make sure that all the features are still functioning the way they're supposed to be from launch date forward.

Anyone who watched, listened, or read about the DROID RAZR HD and DROID RAZR MAXX HD event also knows that the devices are supposed to get Android 4.1 Jelly Bean by the end of 2012. Motorola, and any other manufacturer out there who decides to go this route with showcasing a new device (I'm looking squarely at you, HTC), is just setting itself up for failure and a backlash from, well, everyone.

Your phone isn't entitled to an update. It isn't. You buy it based on the specifications of the device at the time. It is not Samsung's, HTC's, LG's, or any other manufacturer's problem that Google releases new software regularly. The only time your phone *is* entitled to an update? When the manufacturer announces it and says it's going to get upgraded. When that happens, then yes, if you buy the phone you have every right to be upset that your phone isn't upgraded in the timeframe provided for you, if ever.

Let me be clear, though. I think, without a doubt, that if a device is fully capable of running the newest version of a piece of software, the next major update, then there is absolutely no reason that the manufacturer should not upgrade a previously released device. However, I don't necessarily think that upgrade has to be free. If it is, then that's just a huge bonus and the manufacturer deserves a cookie. Software upgrades are a way of thanking consumers for buying a product, I believe, especially when it comes to Android. "Thank you for buying our device. Here's new software to keep you in love with it." Maybe I'm off base here.

Do you own a phone right now that was promised an update, but never received it? Did you buy a phone only because of a promised update? Which one, and was it updated in time? Let me know, Dear Reader.


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66 Reactions to this post

"Are you entitled to a software update?"


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Slavy Todorov Of course not!!
Jake Smiths well your ensured one with the iPhone :p iOS 6. suck it android
Dan Edgar I don't care about the manufacturers or carrier updates, all the hype and long term releases. Think I'll just wait for Apple pie ala mode OS, coming in Q2 2015 lol
Wesley A Meek I've never waited for a newer OS because I can't stand all the bloatware that the carriers embed into them. I much prefer to load a newer version from a developer and most of the time it's better anyway. I still have an inspire with a beeter version of ICS than my vivid with stock ICS and soon I'm gonna load Jelly Bean to the vivid, not feeling that I'm entitled to the update, but instead feeling that the update is entitled to be on my phone!
Bryan T Miller Google should get their act together and start making the hardware themselves and then they could easily make sure their phones get firmware updates Apple has it best, and companies that are serious about software should make their own hardware
Harsimranpal Singh please tell me the launch date of google nexes tab 7 in india?
Kennith E. Jackson Really, what is really, at this time, on the minds of most people I know?; why in the hell can't these companies like, for example, HTC just realize that my phone is my phone. Just give options like 'in-your-face' and 'around-the-corner access to protective, customizable covers for our phones ( number one on most of 99 percents list that apple seems to get). The second major concern of ours I'll save for another day.
Jeff Jones Phones and other devices are too damn expensive as is and we should pay for updates? Um how about no. If manufacturers don't want Google updating Android as often, can't they just talk to Google about it? Isn't that kind of what the Alliance is for? If I pay $250+ for a new device, I should receive free updates to the device for the length of the contract. That means all updates, not just whichever ones the manufacturer or carrier decides to provide. Either that or they need to stop releasing new devices every 3 months with the "newest" software on it. Just my 2 cents.
Ed Seitzinger I don't think each phone should hsve to get a "major" update, ie gingerbread to ics, BUT manufactures should be required to provide the required specs and code to write drivers for any developer that would want to create needed drivers for those major updates.
Don Graves At the point when the manufacturer stops upgrading the device, they should unlock the bootloader with no loss of warranty. People are more or less stuck with their device for close to 2 years and it only makes sense if the manufacturer is going to stop supporting it, we should be able to do what we want with it at no cost to ourselves.
Eric Kroh if manufacturers dont care about ANY update..then we would never be using a cellphone as bugs and glitches will stay present
Benjamin Gorlich Austin rooting voids your warranty but nothing else. When it comes to updates I think I would pay a small fee to get an update, like maybe 10 bucks. But that update would have to come quick, like a few weeks between apple release the update and the phone getting the update. Not the 9 month bull crap that HTC took to upgrade my rezound to ics I mean jelly bean was running on several rooted phones b4 HTC got around to giving there phone ics.
Aaron Couts Google promised a 18 month guarantee so yes. If not then they should start unlocking bootloaders.
Adam Scherzer WTF is the author doing, (and smoking) by writing this article? Are they trying to ruin it for everyone? Are they oblivious that updates also keep things secure?
Dan Bittner Rooting ur phone is not illegal at all. Never has been and never will be idiot
Nyle Graham Yes, I do.
Austin Benson Yra I know tight and androif needs the next update.
Fabian Toti they should care about software up date ... thats what makes the phone good and is what gets you more costumers
Anonymous You paid for the phone. You're entitled to the updates that go with it.
Clifton H. Williams II They should keep us updated.. If I knew how to root or was not scared to try then I would........
Vinay Kumar P M Some people here say, updates are neccesary for a stable OS. What do you guys really mean by that? Were the initial mobiles not stable. Even today, we make calls, send text mssgs and ten years before, we did that too? So why did a neccesity for something new came up? And why to run behind it to make it stable? Coming to updates, Yes updates are required if you want to sell third party softwares. For example, why do you need an Facebook app in iOS or Android when u already have it in Desktop? Why integrate the apps like in Windows phones? Dont miss the money point. To keep us attentive towards to their game, updates are released and they will be FREE wether we like it or not. Because once they make updates PAID, why shd i bother to update when all my basic functions work well, which include - phone, mssgs, camera, audio player, video player, 2G internet, basic browser---these are the basic functions of todays mobiles ;-)
Mauka Side Yes. We should all get updated. The two Motorola phones I have had we're the worst yet. Both phones would reboot on their own and the razr maxx would reboot but never complete the cycle. So I always had to force off. This is junk. Even with ICS on , this could not be avoided.
Tony Abiama I'd rather them make sure the boot loader is unlockable than wait on updates from the manufacturer
Austin Benson Yea I know right
Kevin Phillips doesn't the google nexus phone have a sub 5MP camera, that's why I didn't get it..8 MP photos are like taking notes.. I do know there is a new nexus coming out but prior to this weren't they stuck with 5MP?
Austin Benson @ Trish tran yea it is illegal. To root
Luis Robles Figueroa Yes they need to focus on bringing them.
C Bryan Thomas There is a need for constant updates. When you run Andriod OS regular updates are conducive to a more stable operating system.
Lee Moore Umm Austin your wrong, just voids your warranty. It is your device you can do what you want to it
Vinay Kumar P M Why did this article so well written missed entirely the business view point? A customer wether general public or tech addict does really not care about software updates. Everyone care about having something special or unique in hand. Imagine we had just one os and only one mobile manufacturer globally. Why wud there be even a neccesity of updating the OS? You can sell those products at any price. So why do business community, inspite of knowing that upgrading or updating the OS is just waste of time, still do it. Its only to stay in the game. If no updates, how can u attract the consumer? No point. If iOS was stable and virus free then y take pain to update it to iOS-6. Because a person who used an iPhone3GS for three years will not buy another iPhonr3GS, just because he got bored. Show him the latest hardware and software, improve and polish the looks. Stay in the game, demand more price for iPhone 4, then 4S (taken apple just for example, not a fan or hater). Business is all about money. Technology is just a STRAW to suck away money from the pockets of people. But it is usefull at the same time. To conclude, let me just ask you all (whoever is planning to buy Galaxy Note2), will you people buy Galaxy Note2, with the same specs of Galaxy Note1. And just the change of external design?
Felix Tran Alright let's face it, a lot of people don't care about updates, or don't even know if their phones are supposed to have any. My sis got mad cuz I updated her phone to ICS and she didn't like the changes. Most of my friends never update anything beside apps. I'm not saying manufacturers should stop releasing updates. All I'm saying is some people have this funny idea that their phone would be a piece of trash if it's not running on the latest OS version, which is not true at all...
Cassidy Summer If the Android updates were more stable, and more regular, life would rock in the Android world. The fragmentation has to be reined in. Nothing good comes from everyone's grimy fingers in the mix. I had a perfectly amazing pece of Galaxy S hardware. Samsung delivered the two paltry major updates SIX MONTHS after the other manufacturers did (across all carriers). Then my phone became obsolete, unable to upgrade, after ONE year. On a two year contract, that is ridiculous. I am switching to Apple this upgrade. I can count on their upgrades AND hardware lasting.
Steve Bachman Hold on, I have to lock my doors, cuz I'm a goin ta jail! Damn you rooted S3 anyway!
Joernie Berrios @Austin Benson
Nick Strite The bad part about updates is that older gen phones get lost in the shuffle because of hardware issues.
John Diamond when did they start caring?
Joernie Berrios Iam glad Google has the Nexus line! Cause they always have the first OTA updates....
Antonio Vazquez lol at the guy who said its illegal to root your phone. haha what an idiot
David Vaughan Lol @Austin you can't go to jail for rooting your phone, but it does void your warranty
William Smith Yes this is not a computer we are bill every month for service and it should be part of the service! Especially as much as these companies charge!
Christopher Manic Johnson Just like desktops, we should be guaranteed updates for a year or so. But that also depends on if the hardware is compatible or not...
David Vaughan They stop caring about updates then I stop caring about any phone that isn't a nexus, problem solved
Edison Keong may i know what good at nexus?
Felix Tran @Austin Benson you're saying it's illegal to root? LOL
Fernando Diaz Yep like someone said.. Nexus for life.
Cesario Brito Jr. That's why the Nexus phones are gold.
Austin Benson Years there kneed to update. The s3 to jellybean update beacaus ice is laggy
Terry Knab if you're stuck with a phone for 2 years, you damn well better be able to get updates for it. when developers have moved on from Gingerbread to jelly bean, and you can't upgrade, your phone becomes useless.
Lowell Orlando Richmond and this is why i don't do android and stayed with symbian.....the stupid amount of phones that keep being release and the massive ammounts of updates they need EVERY DAY TIME
Kevin Phillips No, manufacturing updates are a bonus and that is why I enjoy Android
Austin Benson Rooting your phones is not good and u can go in jail for that and I like the updats
Sean Watson I have an Htc Thunderbolt. Needless to say I haven't gotten any updates in ages...
Robby Olko Personally IDC anymore I got sick of HTC bullshiting updates so I got the nexus.
Steve Bachman Rooted Jelly Bean with CM10 so I don't really care. I do my own updating. Oh, and NO BLOATWARE!!!
Austin Benson .yea. there should. Release the update 1st and then the phobe
David Cipollone I'm an HTC user... I think they need to focus on it more!
Eduardo Ordaz No. They should focus more on bringing the updates to phones and then worry about releasing new phones.
Zabian Hankerson Don't care I'm rooted, so I upgrade my software myself, lol
Nikola Karovic yes they should, actually they are annoying
Lowell Orlando Richmond i think they should slow down with the release of phones and focus on software updates for battery management




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