Are you entitled to software updates? There does seem to be quite a few people out there who seem to think they are. Whether you are or not isn’t really important anymore, I don’t think. If you wanted to sit down and have a conversation about whether or not manufacturers are getting better about software updates, I think you could have a pretty healthy discussion for a little while. Though, if you were to have that discussion, you’d have to include carriers, and that’s where the whole thing might get muddied.

There might be too many entities between you/your phone, and the process of that device getting an update to the latest version of a particular mobile operating system. At least, that seems to be the case for most devices. If we’re looking at, say, Apple’s iOS, then we know that this is a non-starter. We’ll see how it works with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, too, once an update is issued in the future.

The biggest problem with updates, the over-arching issue that seems to be the main focus for naysayers, is Android. Yes, Android’s not known for always have the most up-to-date devices out in the wild, but for anyone who is proficient in this conversation knows that carriers here in the States play a big part in that scenario. The world stage of updates is littered with all sorts of versions of Android, but I’d be willing to bet that the majority of users out there are happy, even content, with the version of their OS, updates notwithstanding.

Earlier today, Samsung and AT&T confirmed that the carrier’s branded version of the Galaxy S III is receiving an update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. (For the record, that’s still technically not the most up-to-date version of Android. But, it’s good to have it!) So, good news all around, right? Well, sort of. In the confirmation, AT&T also pointed out that the update is not going to be released over the air (OTA), but through Samsung’s proprietary software called KIES. So, if you don’t plug your phone in and run KIES, you’ll never know that there’s a software update available for your phone. Or, more to the point, you’ll never get it, anyway.

To put this into perspective, AT&T is the third carrier here in the States to offer the Jelly Bean update for their Galaxy S III. First to the scene was Sprint, and they offered the update OTA. Second was T-Mobile USA, and they also offered it over the air, while also providing the update in the KIES software for anyone who wanted to update that way. So, AT&T isn’t the only carrier (so far) to offer the update through KIES, but (so far) they are the only carrier to offer it only through KIES.

For me, getting a notification on my device that I have a software update ready to download is a pretty exciting time. Yes, it is. I love new software, new features, and things that are just new in general. That’s why software update notifications are important to me, as well as being able to download that new software on the fly, over the air. Having to go home and plug in my phone just to update ruins the excitement, sort of, or at least skews it a little bit.

I thought we were trying to move away from needing to plug our phones into the computer to do things.

But, of course, we can’t ignore the fact that there are some people out there who just don’t care about software updates, no matter what new features it brings their phones. So, in the case of AT&T’s KIES-only update, it might be perfect for those individuals. After all, they’ll never know an update exists and their phone won’t just start downloading it, either. Everything stays the same. Everything is safe.

I think the best option is to have choices. The choice to have the software downloaded over the air, or to go home and plug your phone in. Options are never a bad thing, especially when it directly relates to the consumer. I’m not going to sit here and say that restricting software updates to PC-only software is a bad thing, either. At least the update exists, and for those who want it, they can get it. That’s definitely better than nothing, after all.

But, tell me what you think, Dear Reader. Do you prefer your software updates delivered over the air? Or are you someone who would prefer to connect to your computer to get the new software? Or is the best option for the consumer to have multiple avenues to retrieving that software? Let me know what you think!

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eBay prices for the Samsung Galaxy S III

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36 Reactions to this post

"Plugging your phone into a computer is so 2004. Should all software updates be wireless?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Anonymous Most definitely, I don't like plugging it in all the time for updates.
Leah MaRie McGinley
Leah MaRie McGinley well cry if you might there bernard, it bothers me also but im not taking the cracker with no cheese on this. i went out to go get the galaxy note 2 and i got thrown down to a comment and i have decided to wait til my contract is up in may 2013 to get the note 2, and i still have everyone telling me thatI DONT NEED THAT BIG OF A PHONE, but is it there money that im spending ?,,hell no its mine and i shouldnt be told on how to spend my money,, if i want to get this dam phone i shouldnt have to put up with the crap i get from others either! i hear it from my bf and my son and my brother.so im just going to have to bit the bullet on this and wait!
Bernard Agbogah Emcee-lean
Bernard Agbogah Emcee-lean hey guys i'm bernard from ghana. i am a huge fan of smartphones and a dedicated member of ur youtube channel. i must say i am a techmaniac. lol. av always wanted a smartphone of my own but av been strugglin pretty hard getting one. it bcoms quite embarrassing whn i sit back and helplessly watch my peers from well-to-do families tinkerin with theirs. as part of my dire christmas wish list, can u pls surprise me with one of ur coolest smartphones? plssssssssssss? my postal address is P.O. BOX KS 1025 ADUM - KUMASI GHANA-WEST AFRICA. THANK YOU. :)
Mark Belkowski
Mark Belkowski doesnt matter to me as i always root. i never take ota's.
Naj Khan
Naj Khan yes but slow
Huner Mathias
Huner Mathias Yes
Billy Deeson
Billy Deeson It doesn't matter to me,all upgrades i have done have been through Kies,if you know what you are doing and keep KIES updated then it takes about 15 min. so Quit crying People......
Louis Parrilla
Louis Parrilla Yes they should be over the air, why should have to wait to connect it to a computer when my phone can do it
David DiPilla
David DiPilla Yes
Gordon Christie
Gordon Christie carriers are useless at sending them out was ok when the g1 was new but not now too many versions of Android for that too happen
Jeff Griffith
Jeff Griffith Like having a solid backup in case something goes wrong.
Jeff Griffith
Jeff Griffith There are reasons to do it through a pc.
Armando Sanchez
Armando Sanchez YES, please. OTA updates are the best. But I do get why some tend to do them by computer, some people may not have wifi at home.
Zach Cline
Zach Cline Updates are always free
Joernie Berrios
Joernie Berrios Thats the beauty of having a Nexus phone....you will always have the latest and greatest software updates..;-) straight from google
Keith Ainsley
Keith Ainsley Yes!
Bill Gillespie
Bill Gillespie What's a software update.... Rooted ftw
Matthew Dooley
Matthew Dooley Updates are free if you connect to WiFi
Anthony Lasam
Anthony Lasam If totally automated, what about stuff you *don't* want? Should be both...
Chris Hyson
Chris Hyson Updates need to be free and wireless. They should be done automatically and I will the background so people who never update will update. Or at least a clear change log
Jc Bermudez
Jc Bermudez They are most of them haha
Luis Robles Figueroa
Luis Robles Figueroa Yes they should be all OTA (Over The Air) updates. No extra cost to your data plan.
Basil Mahmud
Basil Mahmud Both should be an option.
Paul Christensen
Paul Christensen yes. I haven't had to plug my phone in to my computer since I bought my G1 and dumped my iPod. All wireless, all the time including music and video.
Daniel Yap
Daniel Yap according to nexus 4.
Alexander Rojas
Alexander Rojas They're not?
Luis Arturo Batista Aquino
Luis Arturo Batista Aquino no, i always like doint it on a computer
Paris Coke
Paris Coke Yes. What's the point of having 4g if not
Wanda Hood Scott
Wanda Hood Scott Absolutely!!
Fernando Xelo
Fernando Xelo No.
Demitri Schiffres
Demitri Schiffres Um, yes. Lol
Jose Be Julme
Jose Be Julme Agreed with @Alexander!!
Mauro dAngelo
Mauro dAngelo I don't agree...
Lynn Wheeler
Lynn Wheeler Of course. It's a wireless phone isn't it ??
Ibnul Sharar
Ibnul Sharar Isn't it already? ;)
Alexander Dewitt
Alexander Dewitt Yes but shouldn't cost you data

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