Re: Android upgrades
Upvoted you, but we read the situation differently.
First, my iPhone 4 was mostly OK after iOS7, but my buddy's exact same model limped miserably. He for one definitely regretted iOS6, but then again he's never met an app he didn't install ;) So, your installation of iOS8 on a 4S, which had a CPU boost compared to 4, hardly disproves my point. Wanna bet iOS9 will be useable?
I also know that Apple devices can get security updates on old iOS releases, when the mess is serious enough. But that doesn't happen all that often that I know of and you would still be saddled with obsolete 3rd party app that likely would not have fix backported. For example, let's say you use Chrome and there is major iOS6 vuln - will Chrome be backported too? If not, does a patched iOS6 provide sufficient protection?
I don't think it's Google's job to keep manufacturers from being stupid. Just like it wasn't MS's job to bully PC manufacturers into not using weird stuff in the 90s - HP & Sony were pretty notorious IIRC for being hard to upgrade hardware on because machines were always subtly different. Guess what, I didn't buy them then and won't now because I still remember that. Should Mrs Lawmaker have stepped in?
Google's job is to provide an Android platform that is fit for purpose and has the potential to be maintained and it mostly does that. My new phone is a Nexus 5, because I wanted to test the Android waters but was sensitive to others lagging on updates. If anything, it's a cheaper phone than most. OK, I don't like it overmuch, but that's not due to slow updates.
Frankly, while you have very valid points as to why Apple is in a desirable position here, are you suggesting that the only valid biz model is hardware + software + apps from the same integrated manufacturer? A walled garden of sorts?
Vertical integration has been very useful to Apple, but has driven price points pretty high, esp on iPhone 6. More of an old-style reliable Mercedes than a Lada, for sure. But you have your niche provider all available to buy from should you choose to do so. Mind you, given the sales volumes, it would be stretching things to claim iPhones are niche.
There is the opportunity for all sorts of pricing between iPhones and landfill Androids. I submit that better value is likely to come, not necessarily from the Androids builders with the biggest marketing budgets, but those willing to provide good value cheaply. (quite possibly not those with large investments in skinning Android with bloatware or large legal investments in battling with Apple and sundry). The Hyundais and Civics of phones.
And in a way, cheap Nokia phones with good-enough WP 8 are doing their bit to lower prices too (question : how are those supported? I recall some unhappy WP7 users when WP8 came out)
Android is not immune from dumb manufacturers' support foibles but that is no reason to criticize the OS itself overmuch on that particular issue. Nor is it a reason to wish for regulations which will be outdated by the time they come into law. Most of us work in IT - do you really wish legislators to second-guess _your_ work, as long as it is fit for purpose? Maybe Google can use its Android Silver program to fix some of this as well.
I agree that support is important to both of us. Maybe it will become so for others. Maybe we need a big nasty vuln to wake everybody up. But until then live and let live. One size does not fit all and if, as you say, many Android users don't care, then that's their right not to and to purchase from the wrong sellers.