Dec 28 AT 1:50 PM Taylor Wimberly 31 Comments

Rogers Wireless highlights some of Android’s problems

Does this smartphone come with two years worth of updates? You might want to ask your wireless carrier that question the next time you purchase a new phone. Several years ago, most of us never dreamed of receiving major software updates for our phones. Now, we demand them.

Rogers Wireless is one of several carriers that is struggling to keep their Android phones up to date. We recently reported that several HTC phones might be stuck on the outdated Android 1.5, but it appears the problem is much more complex than we originally thought.

Rogers Android desktop.

Rogers Android desktop.

One Rogers customer, Michael Schmidt, was so upset with the lack of urgency from his carrier that he launched his own website to bring attention to the issue. I Want My One Point Six is an effort to demand Android 1.6 for the Rogers HTC Dream, HTC Magic, and recently launched LG Eve.

Mr. Schmidt did his research and came to similar conclusions we have offered in the past. Rogers Wireless placed their order with HTC to receive the Dream and Magic phones with Android 1.5 and additional customizations.

Google made Android 1.6 available to manufacturers on September 15, 2009, but the update never found its way to Rogers customers. HTC went on to release Android 1.6 for the Dream and Magic phones, but never spent the time (or money) to customize it for the Canadian carrier.

What followed is a long finger-pointing debate between the two companies and they are currently investigating their options.

We have seen few official comments from Rogers, but Schmidt received the following response:

I understand you frustration. We at Rogers are dealing with unprecedented circumstances here, which sometimes come with being the first to market with new, innovative phones and being a leader in the industry. We are doing the best we can to learn from these experiences and communicate with our customers.Mary Pretotto@RogersMary

It sounds like Rogers is aware of the problem, but will they do anything to address it?

Android phones need to get updated (for security reasons, not new features), but who should be held ultimately responsible? Is it the role of the carrier, handset maker, or even Google?

It is too soon to tell, but we will eventually find out which carriers and handset makers are serious about updating their Android phones.

Source: I Want My One Point Six

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

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • Jeff

    This highlights how ridiculous these carrier walled gardens are. Why should the carrier determine whether I get a software upgrade from the vendor? Does your home ISP tell you whether you can upgrade to Windows 7?

    • http://Website David

      But they really don’t. It’s a simple process now to root a G1 and install a modded ROM. That’s the beautiful thing about Android…unlike Apple’s phone, you can do what you like with it. Here’s a link to check out:

      • http://Website CJ

        Hey genius, no one should have to root their phone to get an update. And by the same token the phone manufacturer isn’t required to update it just because an update is available. The bigger problem here is the carriers. Phone manufacturers need to stop allowing the carriers to dictate what features will and will not be available on a handset. If HTC, Sanyo, Motorola, etc stood together and and told the carriers “here’s the phone we’ve made, take it or leave it” the carriers would have no choice and then we wouldn’t have to worry about carrier specific customizations holding up the release of new firmware.

        • http://Website Simon

          If you don’t like how the carriers treat you, then buy a dev. or SIM free phone…

          They subsidise the cost of the handset and need to make that money back (e.g. by not paying for updates on the handset, etc).

  • Tony Bullard

    This is a great example of how bad Big Businesses are at doing anything quickly. Rogers can’t hire some folks to work on an OPEN SOURCE operating system to make the changes they want, meanwhile you’ve got one guy updating Cyanogen Mod every couple of weeks (often even faster).

    Rogers needs to hire two code monkeys to work on their Android distro and just let them do what needs to be done. Problem solved.

  • http://Website Mal

    It’s a question I asked Verizon before I purchased my Droid. I’d bought a Moto Q9M from them three years earlier, and there wasn’t a single OS update for it. What about the Droid? Will you provide updates, block them, in any way restrict them?

    I was told that the Verizon CEO was committed to the open source Android, and had publicly stated that there would be no interference from Verizon in the OS.

    I never did get a commitment to updates.

    • http://Website carig

      I’ve been holding off on the Droid for this exact reason, I haven’t seen any for-sure evidence it will get updated.

      HTC is updating the eris and motorola is updating their motoblur devices, I don’t think verizon will get in the way of updates but whose responsibility is it to release updates for a google experience device?

  • http://Website Nick Kijak

    This is another reason android phones should offer root access. Those who care should be able to install any image they want.

  • grr

    Patience every one patience

    • http://Website Cintra


      I with other early purchasers of HTC Magic in Norway, as well as those in other Nordic countries I believe, are still waiting not only for version updates, but access to paid applications!

      We are talking of 6 months or so..

      Any future purchase decision for an Android by me, will be based on a clear statement that Over the Air updates will be available for the model I choose. Hopefully that will be a Nexus One :)

  • Isaac Waller

    I got a ADP1 and use it on Rogers. Advantages:
    – unlocked bootloader and such
    – not carrier locked
    – cool pattern
    – updates whenever I want them
    – you have to pay through the nose for one (shipping / tax to canada = $$$$$$)
    – no 3G on Rogers (EDGE only – I don’t mind)
    It’s not a route most people would take, but since I’m a developer it was worth it to get the developer phone with developer support, not having to go through Rogers.

    • PhaseBurn

      I have an ADP1, also, and a Rogers Dream (among others). Both are on AT&T, and both are rooted, running cyanogenmod ( EDGE only on the ADP1 as Issac mentioned, but I get 3G on the Rogers phone.

      Since I’m not Canadian, nor using Rogers, I don’t care at all about the Rogers firmware. I replaced it, since it had no benefit for me. Hearing that they aren’t releasing updates really is disheartening to hear about because the majority of their customers will have a negative experience, but truth be told, I was off of their ROM a long time ago.

      There’s a number of options to get a HTC Dream or Magic up in Canada, though, not including the costly ADPs sold through Brightstar that are an arm and a leg. eBay sells a lot of new and used T-Mobile G1s, which admittedly don’t have the cool pattern on the back like the ADPs do, but they’re a lot cheaper, some going for less than $100 if you get lucky.

      If anybody needs help rooting the phone, or installing cyanogenmod, there’s a lot of documentation at, including a page specifically for Rogers phones. If anybody needs more help, there’s an IRC channel for it, and a good support community for it, too. My Rogers phone runs 1.6 with parts of Eclair backported to it, because of this. Yours can too. While I wish Rogers would get on the ball and provide a real update, I’ll be surprised if it happens.

  • t

    Dont complain. do some research and root. its the true beauty of android.

  • grr

    @cintra….I got fed up with cell phone providers not agreeing to send out updates I just rooted my phone….try that out..and you’ll be getting more updates then you ever thought you would get..thanks to cyanogen :)

    • http://Website Derek

      Problem is, he only supports the two phones that he owns. nothing else.

      This is a complete slackness on the entire triumvirate of cellphones in the android market. Google should demand that hardware and cell providers update on a regular basis. Also, I blame Google for the fractured nature of Android. Giving only Motorola the 2.0, then hiding 2.1 for themselves and their nexus one phone.

  • kenny

    When I heard a while ago that the g1 might not even get 1.6 I said “well looks like its time to root”. Even though we did get 1.6 (and all the problems that came with it) I’m still more than happy with my decesion to root. Can we say multi-touch? Anyways I digress get with the program canada aye!

  • http://Website chris yackulic

    i just want to chime in a bit on the rooting process,my friend has a rogers dream and we tried to root.well once we did some serious reading up on it we tried the one click root method on his phone.well we tried to enter fastboot commands and had trouble.we did it twice and neither of us are computer novices by any the end the phone locked up and we were able to install the latest rogers rom update to save the phone.we had some help from xda forums but their is some info lacking for basic users on doing this and is not clear cut instructions if you run into problems.i envy those that have rooted phones being able to try new stuff out and play with the latest gadgets and everything.At the end of the day though the process can be overwhelming for most users.rooting is not for everyone and their are alot of bricked phones to prove can’t blame people for not rooting…..

    people should not have to root period….

    carriers,manufacturers and google need to get on the same page so they can give everyone the same experience and update these phones properly.i don’t care to have rogers,at&t or tmobile junk on my phone and that junk handicaps the phone and slows them down anyways.just leave the phones alone and the android community to the customizing of these phones and it will increase postive user experience.something the iphone got really right was taking the carriers and manufacters out of corrupting users experience from that perspective.

    if anything i hope rogers and htc learn allot from this experience because with the future of android just beginning is time for them and others to learn they sell cell phones and have no business messing with software or they endup in the position they are now with unhappy customers.

    when i buy android again it will not be a carrier branded phone or HTC until they get things right …. it will be a google experience phone or a iphone cause i don’t want my experience handcuffed and disabled by them…..

    I should not have to root the phone i just paid good money for on a 3 year contract to get updates it should be getting and have to fight with manufacturers and carriers to support the product properly.

    rogers needs a android division and needs to clean this mess up and save face… needs to take manufacturers out of the custom rom business…let them create apps for the phones if they want to put junk on it…….

    sorry for my rant but i needed to release…..

    • mm14

      “when i buy… again…. it will be…a iphone cause i don’t want my experience handcuffed and disabled by them…..”

      so iphones aren’t handcuffed and disabled?

      Come on, seriously? There is not another company in the world that has attempted to “lock in” a customer more, and give them less modding freedom than apple has with the iphone!

      • http://Website Derek

        I agree with you in that Apple has complete control over the iphone. However, you can jailbreak it, just like you can root some of the android phones. There are tons of mods out there for jailbroken iphones, some are really cool. I find it hilarious that the same people on here advocating rooting your android phone just to get latest functionality are the same ones bashing iphone users for having to jailbreak their iphones to customize them.

        But at least with an iphone you know you’ll get updates (for free too) and that AT&T has no say over whether or not you can get the updated OS, you get it directly from Apple. Also with the iphone, every phone is capable of running the latest and most up to date and secure version of the OS. Not so with Android phones.

      • leomony

        i don’t know u shiting,Oh no, not *some* htc phones…that can easily port from a non-rogers version.

        How about the Samsung Galaxy which globally is stuck on 1.5!?

  • Pingback: Android and Me()

  • dethduck

    See, this is why carriers and manufacturers need to stick with the stock OS/interface. Everyone’s need to put their own “personal touch” on these products inevitably screw the customer in the end, and as a result themselves.

  • http://a a

    Wait for android 2.0.

  • http://Website NedlyDeadly

    Strike another mark for the “never need to root” camp. The fact is, even the majority of Canadian Android users are probably savvy enough to figure out how to root the phones and load customized Roms, we shouldn’t have to.
    The handset market is changing, and Rogers has yet to figure that out. I’d like to see some real numbers to prove my suspicions, but I would be willing to wager that even though the Canadian Android user base is small, the ARPU (average revenue per user) for those users is way higher than the average customer base because of the extended data plans with the phones. We represent the early adopters, the enthusiasts, the fanboys. We are the future of their business. We represent the important word of mouth factor that determines if Android (and for that matter, any smartphone) will be successful for Rogers through our influence on regular users. Without commitment to update the software on these phones, I can’t make recommendations to less savvy potential buyers. For me, rooting and loading custom ROMS from the amazing community that has developed around Android has some appeal to me. But if that is a required activity simply to enjoy the OS, the entire appeal of the phone is lost for the vast majority of people.
    Rogers has bungled Android since before Day 1. They did not know how to market the phone, because they didn’t know who they were marketing the phone too. Their internal knowledge of the community around Android was non-existent, and their sales reps were wholly non-existent with the phones during launch. We aren’t iPhone users. We don’t need Steve Jobs telling us what we want, we know what we want from a phone, that’s why we chose Android. Apple tries with each software update to lock out the iphone, Android users on Rogers have to unlock the phone to get software updates.
    So Rogers, do you really want a user base of customized Roms created (in some cases) by “who knows”, loaded by “who knows”. Doesn’t that spell disaster for the security on your network. On that note I agree with the earlier statement about hiring in house coders. If you absolutely have to customize the ROM in your offering, you’d better be ready to do those customizations yourself, or simply get the f%&^ out of the way.

  • best ISP offers

    Yeah, there’s a number of options to get a HTC Dream or Magic up in Canada.

  • http://Website Francis

    I lined up (I was the only one lol) for the HTC Magic the day it came out. I’m paying a fortune for 3g and the rest of rogers wireless services. GIVE ME 1.6! I’m not asking for 2.0… GIVE ME a paid apps store! I’m willing to fork over money if you let me!!! I’ve had to install SlideMe to get access to paid apps and those versions aren’t updated as much.

    I’ve tried to Root my phone, but since I applied the official HTC firmware update (which was nice…) I can’t get any of the root methods to work.

    If you’re not gonna gimme 1.6, let me root. If you’re not gonna let me root give me access to the official paid app market. I’m not asking for much. I just want the full, damn android experience.

  • http://Website Jag

    Thankfully I figured out how to root the other day. Best decision ever. I wish there was an exe file or something that could do the job for less learned users. There were a couple of scary moments in there. I wish there were more features with cyanogen, but their tutorial cannnot be beat. For rogers users check out the cyanogenmod wiki and look for the EBI1 kernel tutorial. This way you can use your existing radio to avoid conflicts.

  • http://Website Richy

    Oh no, not *some* htc phones…that can easily port from a non-rogers version.

    How about the Samsung Galaxy which globally is stuck on 1.5!?

  • Pingback: Rogers Wireless confirms Android software updates for select phones | phoneinferno()

  • Pingback: Android and Me()

  • http://Website Robert Yuna

    Have you heard anything about this somewhat smaller Sony/Ericsson update that will allow 2 finger use of the screen as well as other smaller improvements? Sony says it released the update about 2 weeks ago but I’ve not seen anything from Rogers.