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BLOG: Android upgrade fail list: Which companies made promises they couldn't keep?

JR Raphael | Jan. 7, 2013
Another year's behind us, and that means it's time to fire up our magical truth-seeking missiles and see which Android manufacturers are writing checks they can't cash.

In the fourth quarter, Moto pulled the plug on its promised upgrades for the Atrix 4G and Photon 4G. The company did offer hundred-dollar credits toward future purchases for owners of those devices, but after backtracking on its word, I doubt that gesture did much to soften the blow.

To be fair, transitions take time -- and most of Motorola's backlog is a carryover from the old guard. Here's hoping this is the last time we have to call the company out for disappointing decisions.

Some closing thoughts

At this point, you might be thinking: "Hey, jerkwad: My phone still hasn't gotten Jelly Bean. Why didn't you drop its manufacturer into your fancy bucket of fail?"

Well, Timmy, remember: What we're looking at here are failures to deliver onpromises for Android upgrades. (Also, I prefer Mr. Jerkwad, thankyouverymuch.) Whether or not a company decides to upgrade a device in the first place is a far more complicated matter -- one that includes technological limitations, financial considerations (i.e. level of adoption vs. cost of upgrade), and lots of other things that can't be objectively measured.

Some manufacturers, like Samsung and Toshiba, have also stopped making specific software upgrade promises for their devices -- a change that occurred, interestingly enough, after the companies were called out for missing some self-imposed deadlines. Hey, if you don't make any specific promises, you can't break any specific promises, right? I'm not sure leaving customers in the dark is a much better alternative, but it is what it is.

Last but not least, it's important to keep things in perspective. Plain and simple, most Android devices don't come with inherent guarantees of ongoing, let alone timely, software upgrades. If fast and frequent upgrades are important to you, an unlocked Google Nexus device is the way to go. (That, or learning to root and take matters into your own hands.) Other phones and tablets have their own sets of advantages, but speedy ongoing upgrades typically aren't among them. 

Still, promises are promises -- and when a company tells its customers it's going to provide a service, it sure as hell ought to deliver. As long as Android manufacturers keep making upgrade promises, I'll keep tracking 'em -- and I'll keep calling 'em out when they fail to come through.

You can always find the latest Jelly Bean upgrade info for any device in my Android 4.1 upgrade list. It's constantly kept up-to-date with the most current details available for all phones and tablets.


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