While there are many pros and cons to using an operating system like Android over iOS, one of the major disadvantages that plagues Android users is the frequency and timing of official updates. Depending on the phone, its manufacturer, and even your carrier, operating system updates aren’t guaranteed all the time and to be on time, especially if you’re using an older Android device. On the other hand, iPhone users don’t have such problems. Ever since the first iPhone, all of Apple’s iPhones have been receiving updates consistently, and most importantly – at the same time.
For those of you who aren’t convinced, Michael DeGusta of theunderstatement.com recently posted up a chart showing a list of every Android phone shipped in the US until the middle of 2010, and charted out the updates available for the devices – whether they are still supported, when they received their updates, and how far they are behind. And the results? Not very pretty.
While he only managed to cover 18 phones in his research, it contains enough data to prove a point: most Android phones were shipped outdated, are still outdated, and will never be updated – at least officially. Sure, there are ways to update your Android device though custom ROMs and so on – but it’s only the more adventurous crowd that bother to find out how to do so. Compared to the iPhone that is easily updated, updated on time and all at once – Android is a mess.
Regardless of what the reasons are for the lack of system updates (be it bad management, or the manufacturer’s decision to not release any updates), Android definitely loses out to the iPhone when it comes to reliably receiving updates. But is this a major issue for consumers when it comes to choosing a device?
After all, I know a quite a number of people who are happy with their Éclair/Froyo devices and couldn’t care less about Gingerbread let alone Ice Cream Sandwich. The Android phones that they currently have work well enough for them and do what they need it to do, so they don’t even think about operating system updates.
And on the other end of the spectrum – there are the power Android users who want the latest updates as soon as possible, and never waste time flashing custom ROMs with the latest version of Android on their devices. The fact that Android lets users upgrade their phones faster than some folks who don’t know how to or bother to could even be a selling point for the operating system.
So if a phone works the way that is suitable for an individual, does it matter if it gets the latest official updates or not? What do you think? Drop us a comment below and let us know what you think.