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 We recently reported that several HTC phones might be stuck on the outdated Android 1.5, but it appears the problem is much more complex than we originally thought.
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.