Jun 27 AT 9:02 PM Taylor Wimberly 37 Comments

Sprint Hero and Moment users left behind on Android 2.1

Sprint customers who recently purchased the HTC EVO 4G can expect an update to Android 2.2 in the “near future“, but older Sprint phones will not be as lucky. A recent announcement from Sprint confirmed that the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment will forever be stuck with Android 2.1.

The notice is unfortunate, but at least Sprint has the balls to drop the bad news early instead of leaving their customers endlessly waiting (**cough T-Mobile**).

Google just released the source code for Android 2.2 and revealed it would build for the HTC Dream and Magic, so we believe that all first-generation Android phones should be technically able to run the latest firmware. However, each software update that is rolled out by a carrier can cost quite a bit and Sprint might be looking for an opportunity to cut cost.

Once again, this raises a very interesting question for carriers that sell Android phones. How long should a carrier support an Android device with firmware updates after it has been released?

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Source: Sprint

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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  • http://geekits.blogspot.com/ Alex de Leon

    They have the big balls for the bad news, but customers don’t care about.

    Probably Hero is the first Android devices for many people, but it could be the last.

  • Dave K

    I have an HTC Hero (Sprint), and I always expected at least a 2.1 upgrade, but once I got that I assumed that was it (barring any minor bug fixes). Sure, I’d love 2.2, but after HTC reported that they’d be skipping 2.0 and holding off in order to go straight to 2.1, I was pretty certain that would be the end of the line. I’m ok with that.

  • MetalMessiah78

    I think carriers should update the phones for the first 2 years a device drops.

  • http://Website Bill Nye

    Hey can you guys find out some information about how the process goes as far as getting source code for an Android phone out to the public? The Incredible had its source released almost immediately, whereas the Hero had a 3 month wait. Is HTC planning to do the same for the Evo?

  • orginn

    they are dropping the 2.2 updates for those phone cause so many people have them and prolly 80% of those people will use the tethering abilities on those phone and the will really slow down the sprint network

  • http://Website Riz

    Haha, Sprint suck so bad. Their motto should be: “The Now” all customers left behind unless you purchase our newest phone and pay an additional fee. And we will call it a hardware fee because we STILL don’t value our customers and think they will pay for anything that we call mandatory, “Network”.

  • http://Website james

    I think you should get updates for the life of your contract with them. In the UK that would be 2 years

  • http://www.ScorchGaming.com Zack

    I think we shouldn’t care about the carriers. I think we leave way to much up to them (The phone manufacturers build the phone for the carrier, not the end user).

    I think it should be more like a Computer OS. We can install whatever on whichever we want. Without the need or approval of the carrier.

    Then we should go so far as purchasing whichever phone we like and works for us, without worrying if it’s going to work on our carrier; basically the manufacturers building each phone for each network/carrier.

    Ah, the happiest EVERYONE would get from that.

    • http://www.ScorchGaming.com Zack

      Whoops, happiness* not happiest.

    • http://Website Jay

      they tried that http://www.google.com/phone

      but I have to say I love the concept. I am saving a ton with t-mobile’s even more + plan and have swapped out 4 phones in a year that I found on ebay. Just got my nexus one and think it will be awhile before something better comes along for me.

  • Antibox

    I have come to find it is to be expected with Sprint. Not a surprise. Samsung should use opensource drivers so other developers could continue updating on the hardware platform. I think many of the current phones are capable.

  • http://Website Jimmy13

    I wonder if this will continue as phone specs continue to get better and the lack of updates is just do to hardware limitations on first gen phones or if it will always be a gamble.

  • http://Website Quasar

    I agree. They should update for at least the first two years the phone is out. Hopefully this won’t be as much of a problem once the development of Android slows down in the future.

  • http://Website kentucky kid

    I agree with those of you who said the carrier should at least update for the first 2 years. Kudos to you guys.

  • http://Website Chancy

    It’s the phone manufacturers and not the carriers. If HTC had built the G1, MyTouch etc very well, contemplating if to update them would not be an option but now you have to worry about the amount of memory on the phone. If the hardware can support it. If it will slow the system down etc. This is why Nexus One is still one of the best Android phones till date. It shows Google’s true vision of Android not one where we are stuck with silly skins (no offense to motoblur or htc sense) that make updates take longer to be available.

    I think Android phone manufacturers should step up to the plate and start making phones with the future in mind instead of putting great Android firmware on sub par hardware.

  • themetatron

    as for the question, how long should a carrier support updates to a device? for as long as the carrier warranty is, if it’s one year, than the phone should get any and all software updates available in that year, regardless of android, winmo or otherwise. i just keep waiting for the day that carriers start following pc standards, honor hardware warranty regardless of software. sorry, but carrier software is horrible, that’s why there are so many xda/androidspin type sites around

  • http://Website wodin

    I know you guys are not going to want to hear this, but carriers should not have to update your phones at all…beyond FIXES. HTC and Samsung make the phones, Google makes the OS, Sprint just lets you use it on their network. It is expensive for Sprint to get a new version up and running on the phones. Why should they be required to spend money to update a phone simply because another company (google) decides to pump out new versions every few months? Google is what is causing these issues. If they did larger updates only yearly, you guys wouldn’t be bashing Sprint for having the balls to say no.

    I’m a Hero user and want 2.2 as much as the next guy (I will thanks to cyanogenmod!), but to expect one company to spend money based on the actions of another is absurd. Hell, a lot of the other Android phones don’t even have 2.1 yet.

    Stop acting like selfish children with this inflated sense of entitlement.

    • http://www.ScorchGaming.com Zack

      Part of you point makes perfect sense. But the thing is, it shouldn’t be, we shouldn’t let it be up to the carriers to update/upgrade our phones. They shouldn’t have any say. We don’t need them to give us the Software Update. Google develops the OS, yes, and releases the versions. We should be able to go straight to them for the new version. Not wait until our carrier approves it after mulling over it and poking around the idea for five months.
      You internet provider doesn’t tell you when you can get a new version of Windows, or OSX, or Linux, do they?

      • http://Website wodin

        I wrote a long ass reply to you, but it quoted someone else for some reason. Scroll down a bit!

        • http://www.ScorchGaming.com Zack

          Replied to you below also.

  • http://Website Joeskie

    Agreed. All carriers should instate a upgrade guarantee that corresponds with the type of contract one would be signing. Seeing as the vicious cycle seems to bee set at 2yrs we should at least see get two firmware upgrades. This will make carriers have to think twice about the types of phones they release and these manufacturers think twice about the type of handsets they come to carriers with. I know I will catch flak for this next statement but android developers and manufacturers need to take a lesson from apples business model and think about the future. I see so many great applications on the market fail our be inaccessible to users because off how fragmented android haas allowed itself to become.

    • http://Website Joeskie

      Btw I have a nexii running 2.2

      Ps: fuck apple, fuck apple right in the ear.

      • http://Website Nunya

        “Apple’s Steve Jobs caught on camera doing Shin Shi Shin Shi!”

    • http://Website wodin

      I agree that it SHOULDN’T be that way, but it is. Google does not make the OS compatible with all phones. The only phone they make Android for is the Nexus 1. The phone manufacturer and carrier have to then create/install drivers for all of the different hardware and then test everything extensively.

      To use your PC OS analogy…What if MS put out a new version of windows with absolutely no drivers pre-installed. I’m not talking just no video card drivers or something like that, but not including drivers for the CPU’s and Motherboards. You would not be able to turn it on to even get to the internet to download drivers. Dell, HP, or any other OEM would have to take the time to make sure the OS you WANTED worked for their products AFTER it was released. This is exactly what google is doing. They create an OS, release it for their phone and the code to the OEMs, and then people blame the OEM or carrier if it doesn’t come out quickly or at all.

      BTW, how many OS updates that weren’t just fixes has anyone gotten on their phones pre-Android? 3 updates for Iphone, I never received a single one for my BB Curve, no updates to feature phones obviously, and webos had a few updates. Sounds like the phones you should get for updates are the ones where they are the only phone made by that manufacturer.

      I am an android lover and will use it for the foreseeable future, but Google is the problem.

      • http://www.ScorchGaming.com Zack

        Um… Obviously Google does make the OS compatible with all/any phone OR device the manufacturers want to use it on. They don’t have requirements for the device to meet for Android to be used. That is the same way all computers work, the drivers are created for the hardware.

        So you’re saying if there wasn’t different drivers, then we wouldn’t have this problem? You do realize that that means we’d be just like the iPhone? One piece of hardware with no variations.

        For older versions of Windows, it doesn’t come with most drivers. It only comes with drivers for generic hardware and/or the only drivers it will have are generic and don’t have the full features of the actual manufacturers custom drivers. That is how it works, you install a fresh load of Windows, you don’t have drivers for Ethernet/Wireless, so you’re not getting the drivers off the internet. For newer versions, it does come with generic drivers for some hardware devices, but not all, definitely not all.

        They don’t code Android specifically for the Nexus One and port it. How would they do that? Since the N1 didn’t come out until 2.1? How many versions were there before that? You think they just went back and redid how they write the code for Android because of the Nexus One?

        How many of those phones that saw those few updates, were only bug fixes? How many of those phones got NEW FEATURES with their updates? New version = New Features. That’s why people want the new version. Not just for bug fixes.

        • http://Website wodin

          I understand why people want the updates, I do too. I’m just saying why carriers shouldn’t have to update the phones. If it was something of their creation then I’d understand. If they said it would get the update and then didn’t, I’d understand. The issue is that people feel entitled to updates when it costs the carriers money that they either don’t have or don’t want to spend.

          I have android and will not get any other mobile OS unless something amazing comes out (which wont happen). I want these updates as much as the next guy, but I am not confusing warranties with updates. Their phones work the same as the day they bought them, but they expect the carriers to spend money to make it work differently.

          Anyways, good chatting with you, on to the next topic :)

          • http://www.ScorchGaming.com Zack

            I agree that people do feel entitled to the updates a little to much. And I do realize the carrier’s have to pay for them. So I understand why they’re not in a rush to get it done.
            But that’s why I say they should stop being the controller and let someone else take the responsibility. Stop trying to control us and let us make our own happiness.

            Heh, agreed.

  • http://Website Dre

    This really isn’t right for those who spent to get the phones when they came out, the Hero and Moment are less then a year old but they choose not to upgrade them any farther, and saying 2.2 is incompatible or the phones are incapable of running 2.2 is wrong since they left out things with 2.1 that slowed the phones (live wallpapers)

    But it’s probably all about the money, if we Hero and Moment owners want 2.2 we’ll just have to shell out for that upgrade, right Sprint?

  • http://Website Derek

    They lock you in to a two year contract, they should at least have to support the phone and software on it for two years.

  • http://www.bossyman15.com Adam Clark

    doesn’t matter really

    as long you rooted your phone then you can just drop the custom 2.2 rom on your phone

    problem solved!

  • http://Website GuardianAli

    All phones use different HARDWARE. Cpus, Gpus, ram, displays, touchscreen sensors….ALL of the hardware from all these phones comes from a LARGE varying source of hardware providers.

    Google makes the GENERIC OS code. The CARRIER is the one that then has to spend the money to have engineers and software guys spend time to get the new OS version working with the drivers, etc..of the hardware for EACH AND EVERY phone. And not just working but test it for major flaws and bugs. Things like JIT that is enabled by default in Froyo (2.2), can cause havoc and force close issues galore without proper execution.

    If a phone is not popular, or didnt sell enough to have a large enough user base for the carrier to warrant that money spent, then they wont. Its common sense. Hell, I wouldnt either if i was them. It sucks if you own one of these phones but its common sense and perfectly normal. And i for one dont blame them.

    Google themselves admitted that their release schedule was a bit fast and said on record that they are slowing it down to major yearly releases (ala Apples June events). This should minimize the fracturing and maximize the amount of time each phone uses the built in OS version before the next one is out. Which will also allow phone user bases to increase enough for a carrier to warrant the upgrade fixes.

  • http://Website GuardianAli

    And for the excuse that “well if the mod community can get it working then the carriers should too” is not valid. Not from a business perspective. You mod your phone and brick it, the carrier is not responsible to spend time and money fixing or replacing it. If they mess something up with an upgrade and it causes issues then they are responsible to fix it.

    If you have one of these phones that wont be supported anymore then modding is the way to go to get the goodies of new OS releases (im running one on my droid as we speak). But dont blame carriers. They are doing what they need to that makes the best business sense. Sucks..but if you ran a business so would you.

  • http://Website WakaFlocka

    I’m never buying an HTC phone again…I have the droid eris and upgrades take forever. Sticking with stock android

    • http://Website justhavnfun

      You do realize googles Nexus One (stock android) is made by HTC right? They are the first to get updates.

      • http://Website Wakaflocka

        Well I’m never getting an HTC Sense phone again

  • Time Pilot AKA

    A nice confirmation that 2.1 devices will get 2.2, but I’m already thinking: How many 2.1/2.2 devices are going to get 3.0? At the rate OS updates are being made [right now], it’s not an absurd idea to consider.

  • http://www.facebook.com/perpetualnavigator Alicia Brown

    Funny… my Moment upgraded to 2.1 on the 5th of August. So explain to me exactly how the Moments got “left behind”?