Don't sweat the missed timetable, HTC

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| October 3, 2013

You have to give credit where credit is due, as far as I'm concerned. No matter how much of a "mess" Android has been in the past, and no matter how many times we've heard that Google was trying to fix it, I think we can honestly say that it's finally happened. Sort of. As best as they can, anyway.

There's nothing they can do about the past, with all the varying versions of Android out there, or the ridiculous amount of different devices. That's all said and done. All Google has ever done is focus on the present, and the future in equal measure, and that's not going to stop now.

The only difference lately has been the lack of major software upgrades to Google's mobile operating system. With every software version that we've expected to be "Android 5.0," it just hasn't been. Android's Jelly Bean, Android 4.1, was announced at the company's I/O conference on June 27, 2012. It was available on some devices in the middle of July. The rest, as they say, is history.

It's not that simple, though. Actually, it's a pretty great story, because Google wasn't quick to replace Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with another major version upgrade, which would have ultimately left devices behind. Again. Like we've seen so many times in the past. Google's decision to stick with Android Jelly Bean was a good move, especially for as "long" as it has been around.

Why is it a good thing? Because it gave time for manufacturers to catch up. Within the stretch of Android 4.1 to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, we've seen more devices make it to the "newest" version of Android in record time (especially this year). Moreover, we're seeing devices actually launch with the newest version of Android, which is practically unheard of.

Companies that have been synonymous with missing updates are actually able to not only upgrade, but upgrade to the newest version of the platform. How many times have we seen a new version of Android announced, and a device get "updated" to the version behind it? But, with the longer stretch of Jelly Bean, we're not seeing as many devices left behind.

We've got HTC that launched their flagship device, the One, earlier this year running Android 4.1.2. That wasn't the current version back then (it was Android 4.2.x), and so the obvious question was, "When are we going to get upgraded?" HTC was quick to point out that Android 4.2 was coming, and that they had plans to upgrade.

Android 4.3 came around next, and with it, more questions. Would HTC just ignore Android 4.3 and upgrade to Android 4.2 anyway? It wouldn't be the first time. The difference this time around was the fact that Android 4.3 is still Jelly Bean, and that apparently went a long way for the manufacturer because they decided to skip Android 4.2 and just go right for Android 4.3.

They released their own timetable, and they announced that all of their U.S.-based One handsets (and even a surprise device, too) would be upgraded to Android 4.3 "by the end of September." Timetables are nice, but they generally don't work out. And that's exactly what happened this time around with the Android 4.3 rollout for the U.S.-based One devices.

Yes, Sprint-branded Ones are getting the update rolled out right now, but AT&T and T-Mobile versions won't see the update until the middle of the month. Verizon's version? The end of the month. It's just a missed timetable, though, and I honestly think that HTC deserves some slack this time around.

Why? Because they're going right for Android 4.3 and not going with Android 4.2. They're doing their best to update their flagship device to the newest version of Android publicly available. That's good news. I know for a fact I'd be writing a very different article if HTC was updating to Android 4.2 and not 4.3, though. They get all the good grace simply because they went the extra mile right out of the gate.

But, waiting is still waiting and it's never any fun. It's certainly not any fun when a company announces something but they aren't able to stick to the plan. It happens. And, again, I think HTC does deserve some slack here, for once, even if they weren't able to meet their own plans.

So, tell me, do you own a One? How do you feel about the missed timetable? Are you just happy you're getting updated to Android 4.3 and not 4.2? If you're on Sprint, did you already get the official release? Let me know!

Products mentioned