back to article Want the latest Android version? Good luck with that

The latest stats from Google show that Android "Jelly Bean" continues to gain ground as the most popular version of the platform, but the very latest releases of Google's smartphone OS continue to face slow adoption. Jelly Bean is a bit unusual as Android codenames go, because Android versions 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 all bear that …

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  1. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Does it matter?

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/09/balky-carriers-and-slow-oems-step-aside-google-is-defragging-android/

    "Google's strategy is clear. Play Services has system-level powers, but it's updatable. It's part of the Google apps package, so it's not open source. OEMs are not allowed to modify it, making it completely under Google's control. Play Services basically acts as a shim between the normal apps and the installed Android OS.

    "Nearly everything that can be moved out of the main OS has been. The only features left that would require an OS update are things like hardware support, Application Frameworks APIs, and Apps that require a certain level of security or access (like the lock screen, Phone, and Settings apps).

    "This is how you beat software fragmentation. When you can update just about anything without having to push out a new Android version, you have fewer and fewer reasons to bother calling up Samsung and begging them to work on a new update. When the new version of Android brings nothing other than low-level future-proofing, users stop caring about the update."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does it matter?

      Yes it does, but it shows the disrespect the makers have for their customers.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Does it matter?

        No, it shows the disrespect the CARRIERS have for their customers. When I had my Verizon Xoom, I got no updates, despite it being a "Google experience" device. Ditto for my Droid phone.

        Since I've bought my Nexus 4 from Google Play, I've had no fewer than 4 OS updates.

      2. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Does it matter?

        "Yes it does, but it shows the disrespect the makers have for their customers."

        The problem is that the telco is the customer, and the telco don't care about a phone they stopped selling last week. It's standard for them and not related to android. I had to hack my old Razr V3 to install updated factory code as it came with 1.0 software and the telco never offered an update.

        That's why I bought a Nexus 4 direct from Google, piss on the phone company.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does it matter?

        "Yes it does, but it shows the disrespect the makers have for their customers."

        Initially I though the same, but now I'm less sure. There is a tiny bit of this, but I suspect that it is more that hardware makers don't really understand software, and users expectations of software. In the world of hardware,you make it you sell it, and you fix or replace a few under warranty until the last warranty expires,and then you wash your hands of it (certainly the model in consumer electronics - things differ in long life white goods, for example because there's a support and spares market for a decade or more).

        The other thing to bear in mind is that mobile hardware has evolved so fast that a mid to low end handset from a couple of years ago may simply be incompatible or too sluggish running the latest version. Is the user really helped by an upgrade that gives new features but makes the whole phone really sluggish?

        I'm pleased Google appear to be sidestepping the whole pantomime of waiting for device makers and telcos to get their act together.

      4. Bullseyed

        Re: Does it matter?

        Uh, exactly the opposite. The manufacturers/carriers do not want to push out new updates because it will disrupt the user experience on their devices. The hardware was built for one piece of software. Running another on it isn't really a good idea.

        I don't really get all this emphasis on "fragmentation" and why it is a problem. If you have a 486 Packard Bell computer that is still plugging along, it isn't a problem that it isn't running Windows 8. The phones that are using Android 2.1 or 2.2 are utter shit that would break if forced to run 4.3. If you don't like that or don't understand that, then technology is the wrong industry for you.

        But the apps! They won't work!

        I don't expect Office 2010 to run on Windows 95, and you shouldn't either. When software stops working on your device, it means you need a new device.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does it matter?

      Kind of scary that all the functionality is being put into one mandatory super app that has scary privileges. Android shouldn't be considered open source any more.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Does it matter?

        How does this affect the extra layer OEMs put on Android like TouchWiz? Would these updates wipe that out and leave them stock, or sit above or below it? Or run the risk of bricking the phone if Google or the OEM screwed up?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does it matter?

        I note that the latest realises from the NSAs newest publicist tell us that Blackberry, Android and iPhone are all easily hacked by the NSA. It seems that Windows Phone for the short term at least is the only secure option...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does it matter?

      @Dave 126 - "Nearly everything that can be moved out of the main OS has been. The only features left that would require an OS update are things like hardware support, Application Frameworks APIs, and Apps that require a certain level of security or access"

      =====================

      I can tell you it doesn't matter one bit to me. I've got devices with everything from Gingerbread to Jellybean and everything in between, and I get nearly all of my functionality from the apps rather than from the version of Android. Frankly, I usually don't notice the difference at all.

      Since switching to Firefox Aurora on all those devices rather than Chrome for Android, I've found I've got a much more in-sync Android environment across all devices.

    4. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      @Dave 126 You beat me to it.

      I was just about to post that link! It is indeed a very interesting pont. It is clear that Mountain View have decided that if the OEMs and the carriers will not work with them as far as this is oncerned then Google has to work round them. The more obvious this becomes the less the producers and the carriers are going to like it given that they all have an interest in not allowing as many upgrades as the given device would support. I wonder if any of them are considering "doing. an Amazon" forking the OS and going it alone?

      1. Arctic fox

        Re: @Dave 126 You beat me to it.

        Just to take the point a little further. I believe that (given the brand recognition that they now have) the only thing that is holding Samsung back from forking Android and going its own way is the issue of setting up their own independent ecosystem as far as apps are concerned.

        1. Stacy

          Re: @Dave 126 You beat me to it.

          I'm not sure it is carrier specific.

          Clearly the carriers are worse the manufacturers, but I have never had a carrier branded Android phone, and updates are still months or years behind Googles.

          The problem is that carriers then either won't roll out the manufacturer update when it does, eventually, come.

          Having owned an iPhone, WP8 and a couple of Androids from different manufacturers I would say that the iPhone and WP8 are updated most often (I've had a few updates for the WP8 in a couple of months and the iPhone was updated for about 3 or 4 years before Apple stopped support (midway through an OS version I have to say, and the last update it had stopped it working, with the bug fix to the introduced bugs not being released for it, making it an ornament...)

        2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          Re: @Dave 126 You beat me to it.

          "the only thing that is holding Samsung back from forking Android"

          Samsung may well go its own way with Tizen. Or not. We shall see.

        3. MrT

          "independent ecosystem"...

          Samsung are not far off - their Hub is quite slick and they have an app store already. There are a few issues with it though - their version control is a bit patchy, and some apps are almost impossible to update, such as Photo Editor on an SGS2 - I keep seeing an error when trying to update this built-in app on my wife's phone.

          It seems like a good effort but not yet ready to replace Play. It's also not consistent across current handsets - GS3/Note 2 seems to be the cut-off there, at least from what I see on various models from friends and colleagues.

        4. Ally 1

          Re: @Dave 126 You beat me to it.

          You mean like Samsung Apps that already comes with Samsung phones

        5. Bullseyed

          Re: @Dave 126 You beat me to it.

          Agreed. I'm afraid of if/when Samsung tries that. I hate their app stuff on SmartHub for my TV. Every app dials home to the Samsung server before running. If the server is down, no app for you.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last I checked, there's no telling how long before Kitkat comes out, at any rate Dave_126 is right in that Play Services is going to carry the vast majority of features in the future.

    Also - last I checked, Honeycomb also had multiple point releases with the same codename - 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2. Let's face it - 4.2 and 4.3 aren't exactly major updates either. though I suspect they were numbered such to encourage adoption of the latest version. 4.2 is likely more desirable to everyone than 4.1.3

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Want the latest Android version? Good luck with that"

    In the Chinese culture, 4 is an unlucky number, so 4.4 will be really unlucky.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Oh for those quaint old days where mobile manufacturers would carefully tip-toe around other cultures and avoid software version 4 or model numbers with the number 4 in.

      Now MS, Apple, and Google are in charge. You get version 4, and if you're lucky it'll even get the timezones right too.

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      It sounds like

      Dead. Or in the case of Kitkat, perhaps something along the lines of a decaying silt dead where corpses are fed upon by the tiny flecks of life in the murk of ultra-fine particles hanging in the water column creating a thick obsidian haze in a slow decent inhibited only by Brownian motion or more literally 'dead sediment dead' but that isn't very dramatic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It sounds like@Eddy Ito

        I nominate you for the Reg commentard's James Joyce of the week award.

        The prose was lovely,I just didn't understand what your point was.

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: It sounds like@Eddy Ito

          The point is that 4 is an unlucky number because in Mandarin Chinese it is pronounced 'si4' (fourth tone) which differs only in tone from the word for dead or death, which is pronounced 'si3' (third tone). Likewise, four point four is pronounced si4 dian3 si4 and my attempt at humor "dead sediment dead" would be pronounced si3 dian4 si3.

    3. Uwe Dippel

      Insightful

      ... is what I'd mod you if we were in Slashdot.

      Though let's continue: 8 is the lucky number in Chinese tradition. It sounds like 'prosperity'.

      Tell this to Mr. Ballmer. He might rejoice.

  4. Julian 3
    FAIL

    Windows Mobile was worse!

    As bad as Android is for dragging its heels for updates Microsoft's now defunct Windows Mobile was much worse. The best thing to do was to forget it! Updates were like hens teeth unless you wanted to seek out an unofficial ROM which could be troublesome. Microsoft have learned from the experience with Windows Phone.

    Still on the bright side at least Apple has managed to get updates right.

    Google need to be a lot firmer with operators and manufacturers.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Windows Mobile was worse!

      >Google need to be a lot firmer with operators and manufacturers.

      Google don't need to get firmer because they have introduced a cunning workaround. Basically, Google have moved much of what Android does into a piece of software that is updated through the Play Store, and so doesn't involve the carriers in any way.

      Have a look at the linked article in the first post.

      1. pepper

        Re: Windows Mobile was worse!

        I wonder why google did not do this before, my N900 used to get OS updates through the application manager(front end for apt-get etc.). Even though it isnt as fancy as the play store it did allow you to install any package through it. Surely they must have seen the writing on the wall?

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Windows Mobile was worse!

        Can't Google release an installer for Android that will install it on any compatible hardware much like Windows (or Linux / Free BSD etc) does on PCs, then they can release updates with out the manufacturer having to do anything?

  5. dssf

    Forced vendor waits, aimed at forcing customers' hardware updates?

    Forced vendor waits, aimed at forcing customers' hardware updates?

    Seems like it to me.

    My tab's Android version: 3.2

    Kernel: 2.6.36.3

    Se.infra@SEP-40#1

    Samsung surely can do better, considering I bought this thing in July of 2012.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Forced vendor waits, aimed at forcing customers' hardware updates?

      Which honeycomb tab is it, Samsung have been releasing lots of jellybean 4.1.2 updates for their 2012 kit this summer on Samsung Kies android updater and Over-the-air.

      e.g. Galaxy Tab 7.7 P6800 Receives Official Android 4.1.2

  6. BleedinObvious
    Angel

    Use Play Store, don't use Unknown Sources

    Still lots of fear about this - you don't need to be on Android 4.3 to be safe:

    - If you only install from the official Google Play Store, you're fine - Google can scan their store server-side.

    - If you don't install any apps, you're fine.

    - Stay clear from Allow Install from Unknown Sources, which by default isn't enabled anyway.

    - Vulnerability that trojans are installing via is a phone-side weakness, which is only a problem if the app source you're using (pirate app store, spam email or mms containing installer) isn't vetting the apps before they reach your phone.

    Re: stuck on Gingerbread are budget 512mb ram and/or 320x240 screens, they just don't have the grunt needed for the newer Android releases.

    Lowest spec owned by my family members is a Galaxy Ace 2 and that's on an official Jellybean 4.1.2 now.

    My almost 2 year old midrange Galaxy Nexus is running 4.3 like a pro.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Use Play Store, don't use Unknown Sources

      Not true - Malware has also been previously found in the Google Play Store apps....

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Use Play Store, don't use Unknown Sources

        ... and there are plenty of legitimate 3rd party stores like Amazon or f-droid.

        The flaw in the design is in Android which only allows Play or everything when the design should be any app downloaded from any of the installed app stores or everything. But Google's interest in fixing this is low, that might change the perception that Play is good and everything else could be dodgy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Use Play Store, don't use Unknown Sources

      Except, if you have an older phone, you won't be able to connect it to the Play store and be forced to install apps that are from another source on a phone that has an outdated OS.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MTP vs UMS

    I heard that as of 4.1 Jellybean, Google did away with USB mass storage as the method of accessing files stored on the phone and replaced it with MTP. You know what, I'm happy with my 4.04 thanks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MTP vs UMS

      Actually, I wonder if Microsoft's trolling over FAT had anything to do with the move away from USB mass storage/SD card support in newer releases?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: MTP vs UMS

        Some Sony Xperia phones give you the option to connect as Mass Storage Class, since Google did away with it.

        Just what is the world coming to when a Sony device connects to a computer more easily than its rivals, and without any special software? It must be the end of days...

        1. shonangreg

          Re: MTP vs UMS

          They did a 180 after the debacle wityh the X10. I know, I had one and was pushing a campaign to populate discussions forums with simple accounts of how Sony was not updating its past phones, so why would anyone choose to buy their current ones. For about six months, I couldn't find any mainstream reviews that didn't have one or more conspicuous such comments.

          I'd like to think that forced Sony to face a truth they were trying to deny. Soon after, they went from threatening modders to actually sharing code with them -- and they lightened and de-integrated their propritary UI.

          Sony has been one of the best (non-Nexus) developers now for a couple of years now. I wish they made an Xperia Note.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Jordan Davenport

      Re: MTP vs UMS

      Google actually set MTP as default as of 3.x (Honeycomb). Others have adopted MTP at different releases, however. For instance, CyanogenMod didn't change over until 10.0 (Android 4.1, Jelly Bean Ⅰ).

      If your phone itself supports Mass Storage mode and is rooted, you should still be able to set 4.1 or higher to act as a USB Mass Storage device through the terminal. At least, you still can in CyanogenMod 10.0 and 10.1. (Mileage may vary. You and only you are responsible for whatever you do to your phone. No guarantees!)

      PS: I really wish I could edit a post without withdrawing it and re-posting. I never used any Honeycomb devices, so my first encounter with MTP on Android was in 4.0. Further research on the matter tells me it actually showed up in 3.x though - not quite sure whether it was 3.0, 3.1, or 3.2.

      1. Jordan Davenport

        Re: MTP vs UMS

        Bah! Apparently CyanogenMod 10.1 stable did get rid of mass storage mode as well! It worked in the milestone build I was using but not on stable when I just attempted to re-apply it. I guess Google probably did in fact remove it from Jelly Bean.

        As to why Google switched from mass storage to MTP, I found this article on reddit with a response from an Android dev: http://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/mg14z/whoa_whoa_ics_doesnt_support_usb_mass_storage/

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: MTP vs UMS

          Cheers Jordan, that's a good link!

          "However the cost [ of a unified storage model] is that Android can no longer ever yield up the storage for the host PC to molest directly over USB. Instead we use MTP. On Windows (which the majority of users use), it has built-in MTP support in Explorer that makes it look exactly like a disk."

          The annoying thing is that MTP support in Windows Explorer might look like a disk, but doesn't behave like a disk. Example: Explorer doesn't present an 'Open with...' option in the context menu for files on a MTP device. So, even if you normally have .JPGs associated with Picasa Photo Viewer or IrfanView, Explorer will open pictures on your phone with Windows Photo Viewer (urgh).

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: MTP vs UMS

            Well, as I understand it, one BIG reason for the switch to MTP is the fact that MSD require DISMOUNTING the device on Android so the other OS can mount it (it's a limitation of the spec's definition because USB assumes a master-slave relationship--multiple masters breaks the spec). Since many more apps are calling up the MSD, even in the background, this can be potentially destabilizing. MTP at least has the benefit of being usable on a live-mounted system.

            That said, Google realized this isn't perfect. They've been trying to extend the spec to account for this, but I think they would appreciate a different specification to be adopted by the general computing world. It's just that no such alternative is forthcoming.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: MTP vs UMS

              Well, as I understand it, one BIG reason for the switch to MTP is the fact that MSD require DISMOUNTING the device on Android so the other OS can mount it (it's a limitation of the spec's definition because USB assumes a master-slave relationship--multiple masters breaks the spec).

              Not just that, but also the FAT filesystem driver on Android will probably do strange things when something (namely the OS at the other end of the USB cable) modifies the partition's data behind its back. Likewise the other OS will misbehave too.

              The only way around that is to use a file system that can handle concurrent access from multiple instances. That is the likes of OCFS, GFS2, etc. Given Microsoft's allergy to EXT3, I don't see them supporting GFS2 anytime soon, and I think most people would balk at having to use a clustered file system just to have simultaneous access to files on a SD card from a desktop computer and the phone it's installed in.

      2. Red Bren
        Thumb Up

        Re: I really wish I could edit a post without withdrawing it and re-posting.

        Just get 2000 commentards to upvote you and you can edit for 10 minutes after posting. Have one from me. Only 1999 to go...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    google play

    If this post was about Apple, there would be hordes of Fandroids crying 'walled garden'.

    Before you downvote this post into hell, just stop and think for a moment and ask yourself this question

    "Could this be the first part of Google's very own walled garden?"

    One of the advantages of Android is the ability to tinker with it. Now the Chocolate Factory seem hell bent on removing that. erg, Walled Garden.

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Boffin

      Re: google play

      Yes, it's a walled garden, always has been, but one with plenty of gates to allow users to leave should they want, and tinker as much as they please. That's good.

      GJC

    2. JohnG

      Re: google play

      "Could this be the first part of Google's very own walled garden?"

      Of course - but Google Play doesn't have a very high wall. It is easy to install things from outside Google Play.

      However, that isn't really the problem that the article describes. Whereas Apple do provide O/S updates to users, Google does not. It is all left in the hands of the device manufacturers and cellular network carriers, who typically don't care about devices they sold last year.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    KitKat?

    Is this a commercial tie-in or a furture litigation on the horizon? Perhaps they intend to take a break from OS making for a while.

    1. MikeS

      Re: KitKat?

      http://www.kitkat.com/

      good to know they have a sense of humour (and of coursedon't mind the PR)

      1. Bryn Evans
        Coat

        Re: KitKat?

        I'm waiting for the obvious Reg Headline when the first fault is found -

        KitKat Meltdown !

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: KitKat?

        That's the crappy US copy that uses Hershey's vomit flavoured 'chocolate'. The real KitKat site is here: http://www.kitkat.co.uk/content

    2. the-it-slayer

      Re: KitKat?

      There will be some specially branded Android Kit-Kats on sale in their big selling countries. The only good thing Google has done since the birth of the bloated mobile OS.

      This is why Apple is sitting on top of the mobile podium. They managed to bully control on updates etc over mobile carriers who are mostly good for nothing with it comes to the smartphone arena.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: KitKat?

        Since when have Apple even involved carriers in their updates? You have to use iTunes....

        1. Maliciously Crafted Packet

          Re: KitKat?

          Sounds like your right up to date with current events.

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: KitKat?

      They got permission from both Hersheys, who own the trademark in the USA, and Nestle, who own the trademark in the rest of the world.

  10. davenewman

    RAM limits and developer problems

    My phone is on Android 2.2 (Cyanogenmod for the Milestone), as it doesn't have enough RAM to run a later version properly. I suppose it is doable with swap space, but that would slow things down.

    The biggest updating problem is for developers, as you have to choose your target version when compiling, using only the APIs available then. So you have a choice of using all the latest features in a small market, or making your app compatible with nearly everything, but having to use old APIs and writing more code yourself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: RAM limits and developer problems

      You can target the latest APIs and still support older devices by limiting the feature set if it depends on something in the new APIs.

      See http://devtcg.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/gracefully-supporting-multiple-android.html

  11. Idocrase

    This is why everyone should learn to mod phone OS's. I've been on 4.3 since a few days after it was released thanks to the chaps at XDA developers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Blah... not everyone has a einstein brain for technology. People want turn on, update, play and turn off. Not root mode, check root mode, fire commands, upload image, check phone, upload backed-up data, get fed up with buggy version, start over again.

      1. Geoff Campbell

        Re.: not everyone has a einstein brain for technology

        Perhaps Sir would be better off with an iPhone?

        GJC

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or you could use something that just works out of the box and gets regular updates like Windows Phone...

    3. Charles 9 Silver badge

      That's assuming your phone has the oomph needed for Android 4.0+. I tried it once on a Desire Z (T-Mobile branded G2) and found it was too limited in RAM to work properly (it kept FCing apps), so I settled on a Gingerbread ROM before selling it off to help pay for my new phone.

  12. king of foo

    we can fix this...

    Xmas is coming

    Tell everyone you know to buy their non-iPhone using family/friends with a handset more than 3 years old a nexus 4 and donate their old model to charity

    Anyone left over could be converted to ffos.

    Most mobiles have a Max of 4 years use before they start falling to bits/ looking embarrassingly scratchy anyway. Google should be targeting these people with a nexus 4 this Xmas. TV ads showing crappy old mobiles refusing to dial 999/911 while their small children burn to death before their eyes in an Xmas tree light related inferno... Would make a good enders or corrie Xmas special... Noooo... Damn you extended carphone warehouse contraaaact...

  13. Paul 135

    "As has always been the case, slow adoption of the latest Android version is largely the fault of carriers and device makers."

    A lot of nonsense. This underestimates the amount of work the device manufacturer has to do to make the AOSP code work on their hardware. They essentially have to fork the code and modify for themselves, and in turn also have to wait for the SoC manufacturer to do the same.

    The fault more lies with the poor modularity of the driver model for ARM devices in the Linux kernel and Google's non-out-in-the-open development model.

    1. Paul 135

      ... And most of that time probably is due to testing and certification.

      Here is how Sony Mobile details what they have to do:

      http://developer.sonymobile.com/2013/07/25/explaining-the-software-upgrade-process-and-its-improvements-for-android-4-3/

    2. h3

      RE: Paul 135

      They have to do basically nothing other than unnecessary stuff they choose to do. (Making things worse with such things as touchwiz).

      (I have built a working image twice for two different devices from scratch using just the stuff provided by the SoC manufacturer - this is from knowing nothing whatsoever about it - kernel updates are obviously harder but most of the time they don't bother with that either. (Most of time was spent hacking in libs that I had no source for but if you have those sources that bit is even more trivial).

      The SoC Manufacturers have things working almost as soon as Google has that isn't what takes the time.

      People who are paid to do this sort of thing should be capable of creating a device directory such that it should be working straight away after an update.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the fuss?

    it would seem thats Google's 'mistake' is to be quite open about its ecosystem. after all, OTHER platforms

    have older devices running the OS of halcyon days - take the IOS world, for example, only the latest phones/ipads/ipods get the latest flavours (yes, at least recent devices all get the CHANCE to be updated to the latest and greatest release) but the rest of the older devices get left in the previous release world..along with any holes/security issues that happen to affect them.

    1. Gadget Rage is BAD

      Re: the fuss?

      An iPhone 3gs can run the latest version of iOS 6. Thats 4 iterations back and released 4 years ago. Its only now with iOS 7 coming out that the 3gs is being dropped. Even then you'll get iOS 7 support on the 4, 4s, 5 and 5s. Apples support for older devices is vastly better than Androids. Sure certain features are crippled but at least you're getting all security updates that are available to newer devices.

  15. PaulR79

    "According to security research outfit Kaspersky Lab, only Android 4.3 is impervious to the Backdoor.AndroidOS.Obad.a Trojan, yet virtually no one is running that version."

    Curiously the figures for people affected by that trojan also seems to be missing. Imagine that!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they could step away from the RFC or embrace it that would be good

    Multiple routes offered i'll take the most stupid and I will not offer an alternative on IPv4. IPv6 I'll tear down the session and ignore the rfc.

    Android is ok, but even as a lifelong fan and owning two phones right now and only using other peoples iPhones, I'd say apple have something right, which is take care of the customer and make it workable with what's out there. The detrimental overly strict rule following only 80% of the time really puts me off Android from several perspectives, 100% would be ok.

  17. Christopher Rogers

    I assume this also includes all the generic Chinese tables kicking around as well?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    persistent fragmentation problem for the platform?

    Utter tripe.

    Everyone knows that Google has migrated all the cool stuff out of the OS and into the Google Services Framework, which supports all phones back to Android 2.3

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/09/balky-carriers-and-slow-oems-step-aside-google-is-defragging-android/

  19. Fab De Marco

    What I'd Love to see is....

    Android devices that must use a similar feature MS had to put into their OS,... Browser choice..... or in this case.... Launcher Choice.

    So When you buy a Samsung device, for example, the first thing you are prompted for is Would you like the Touchwiz overlay or Vanilla Android..... If they choose vanilla android they will get updates in the same way as any nexus device.

    Lets face it, not everyone who owns a smartphone is smart.... the world isn't populated solely by geeks who want the latest features, latest updates, etc. Some people just want to facebook, twitter, WhatsApp and..... help me out here guys what else does a phone do... oh yeah and phone calls. If their phone does all that they won't care how up to date it is as long as it does it all and maybe looks flashy while doing so.

    So your non geeky types will probably adopt the manufacturers overlay whereas the geeks of the world will probably go for the nexus experience. Of course the manufacturers will never allow this.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Alan Brown Silver badge
    Mushroom

    You probably don't want 4.3 anyway

    My nexus was updated OTA a few weeks back - and immediately started having wifi problems (intermittent connectivity, can't stay connected, can't get connected in the first place, etc)

    Lots of Nexus 7 owners are reporting the same thing

    Just to confirm it's a 4.3 and not a Nexus problem, the same thing started happening when I updated a Samsung SGS2 to Cyanogenmod 10.2 (JB 4.3) - up to 4.2 it was fine. As 10.2 is beta (and bug reports are mostly discouraged) there aren't many CyanogenMod users who've reported this issue (yet)

    Yes, I switched off all the battery-saving tweaks, etc etc. It made no difference whatsoever and the problem is significatly worse for 5GHz channels than it is for 2.4GHz.

    There are some hints that it's specific to 802.11n protocols but only one of my APs has N (which can't be disabled) whilst the others are A, G and B units - they all have the same problems.

    On that basis it's just as well that 4.3 hasn't been widely rolled out until the Wifi is fixed Whatever the chocolate factory did to the kernel, it's been highly detrminental.

  22. OrsonX
    Unhappy

    lure of the "update" button

    we always think we are gonna get something better, often not the case, yet I can never resists.

    Some "update" examples:

    iPhone3G: iOS3 to iOS4, painful.

    Mac Book Pro 2009: Snow L. to Mountain L., more like Mountain Goat.

    iTunes: slower with each update.

    Galaxy Note: 4.0 to 4.1.2, let me see.... lost screen transitions, wallpaper not aligned when numeric lock implemented, lost the standard clock, lost the old accuweather app and replaced with "new improved version", and biggest of all, lost the ability to MAKE A NOTE WIDGET ON THE GALAXY NOTE, of course, I did gain many wondrous things, like "multiscreen" (utter bollox), a single S Note (utter bollox), and so on...

    Yet I can never resist the next update...

  23. dotdot

    update to .. what .. for what ?

    does what it says on the tin ?

    I think not. (just you test it for a while and see how much of it is still in dev..)

    not known for understating anything or .. for that matter stating very much to be precise.

    google yet again fluffs along thinking people will just go with the flow.

    "get a grip...!" you've blown it with android. Failing to give the hw vendors os' to test when you said you would.

    Now you think they'll continue to drink that kool aid... again.(well they have no choice.. and that will sadly trickle down do the public again...)

    in a few years time this will be looked on as..

    "a lesson on how not to release os updates with no plan and no roadmap to speak of.. whilst trying to entice apps and hw folks to jump your ship.. not knowing what was exactly powering the ship."

    hey that's the way of the smartphone.notapple.alt world... anything but apple looks decidedly thoughtless..

    KITKAT anyone.. ?

    1. DryBones
      Meh

      Re: update to .. what .. for what ?

      Name one operating system, one program, one major application that hasn't needed patches or improvements. Not that hasn't gotten them, but hasn't NEEDED them. Hint: there is no such example.

      Again, show me any software package that itemized the future bugs and feature additions during the initial release. Again, there is no such example. This is why we have change logs.

      Remarkably short-sighted and paranoid commentary, not to mention badly composed. Are you off your medication again?

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