Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Phone Wars - Iphone and the 7 Droids

You may not be old enough to remember the Mainframe Wars but the players were known as IBM and the 7 dwarfs. Now in the cell phone wars we have the same thing all over again, with one big difference.

Back in the 60's I worked for one of the dwarfs and we all made an IBM Clone that was either, faster, had more memory or was cheaper. The Droid Iphone clones have the same game plan except we provided all software updates and our machines were always up to date.

I have an Iphone but I know people with Droids at the Gym who are always complaining, now I understand why. Most of these phones are not supported, they can be as much a 3 OS's behind. The graph shows that many Droid clones become simi-bricks as early as the first year. Wow, you got to see this graph.
Amplify’d from
Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support
The announcement that Nexus One users won’t be getting upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich led some to justifiably question Google’s support of their devices. I look at it a little differently: Nexus One owners are lucky. I’ve been researching the history of OS updates on Android phones and Nexus One users have fared much, much better than most Android buyers.
I went back and found every Android phone shipped in the United States1 up through the middle of last year. I then tracked down every update that was released for each device - be it a major OS upgrade or a minor support patch - as well as prices and release & discontinuation dates. I compared these dates & versions to the currently shipping version of Android at the time. The resulting picture isn’t pretty - well, not for Android users:
Other than the original G1 and MyTouch, virtually all of the millions of phones represented by this chart are still under contract today. If you thought that entitled you to some support, think again:
  • 7 of the 18 Android phones never ran a current version of the OS.
  • 12 of 18 only ran a current version of the OS for a matter of weeks or less.
  • 10 of 18 were at least two major versions behind well within their two year contract period.
  • 11 of 18 stopped getting any support updates less than a year after release.
  • 13 of 18 stopped getting any support updates before they even stopped selling the device or very shortly thereafter.
  • 15 of 18 don’t run Gingerbread, which shipped in December 2010.
  • In a few weeks, when Ice Cream Sandwich comes out, every device on here will be another major version behind.
  • At least 16 of 18 will almost certainly never get Ice Cream Sandwich.
Also worth noting that each bar in the chart starts from the first day of release - so it only gets worse for people who bought their phone late in its sales period.

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