Oct 28 AT 12:56 PM Taylor Wimberly 30 Comments

Sprint rolls out flawed Android strategy at developer conference

I’m not the only one who is worried about the Sprint OTA problem. Check out this blog post from developer Rick Scherle who attended the Sprint developers conference.

Unfortunately, the phones are running Android version 1.5 while the rest of the world is on 1.6. This means that a lot of newer applications (including the new version of the Android Market) won’t run. With everyone else talking about releasing 2.0 next month, Sprint is saying “2010″ for version 1.6. That’s bad.

Worse is the fact that Sprint’s network doesn’t support OTA (over the air) upgrades for the Android. This means that, while other carrier’s customers get their phones upgraded automatically, Sprint users will have to visit the Sprint store or go through some complicated software installation procedure using their PC and a USB cable, a gymnastics exercise which is beyond most users.

So, bottom line, is it time to move back to Sprint? They have snappy data speeds and really broad coverage in most of the country, plus a lot fewer dropped calls than T-Mobile, and I’ve been really happy with their customer support. A lot of people should be really happy with Sprint’s new Android offerings.

But I can’t do business with them if they don’t have the products I want, and what I want is the current version of the Android operating system and all the latest software. After all, what would my friends say?

A tipster from our last post suggested that Sprint might skip Android 1.6 and jump right into Android 2.0. However, that might not occur till 2010.

According to a report from AndroidGuys, HTC will indeed be skipping Android 1.6 for the European Hero. If HTC skips Android 1.6 for their phones with Sense UI, then I guess it makes sense the the Sprint Hero could also skip this update.

When I was at CTIA, a representative from Samsung said their Moment phone might not receive Android 2.0 till Q2 2010.

Am I making too big a deal about this? The hardcore user could probably care less about OTA updates, but we only make up about 5-10% of Android phones sold. Do you really think your little sister or Mom is going to hook their phone up to a PC and perform these updates as they are released?

Some might argue that the average Android user can do without updates, but that is naive. Since Android is built off a Linux kernel, it is vulnerable to the same security exploits and it is important to receive regular updates and patches.

If you own a Sprint Android phone, please sound off.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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