Jun 16 AT 2:01 PM Taylor Wimberly 58 Comments

T-Mobile’s pledge to Android users: “No phones left behind”

Buried inside last week’s myTouch 3G getting Android 2.2 leak was an interesting message from the high-ups at T-Mobile. Cole Brodman, CTO of T-Mobile, closed the letter to company employees with the message, “No phones left behind. That’s our pledge”.

It sounds good on paper, but what exactly does it mean?

We are talking about a leaked document here so there are no details on how this pledge will work, but it comes at an interesting time. Sprint and Verizon just upgraded their first-generation phones to Android 2.1, but T-Mobile still has six phones with Android 1.5 and 1.6. The new myTouch 3G Slide is T-Mobile’s only phone with Android 2.1 and it came that way out of the box.

Even more concerning is the fact that some T-Mobile customers appear to have already been left behind. Samsung Mobile recently said the Behold II would receive an update from Android 1.5 to 1.6, but that a full upgrade to Android 2.1 was not in the works. T-Mobile has yet to officially comment on this phone (and a lot others) so it’s up in the air on what could eventually happen.

The pledge does raise some interesting questions that many Android customers have wondered about recently. When you purchase an Android phone, does the carrier have any responsibility to offer regular software updates? And if the carrier commits to Android updates, how long should that guarantee last? Should it be one year, two years, or even longer?

What type of pledge or guarantee would you like your carrier to make when you purchase an Android device?

Click to enlarge and read the pledge.

[Post image via Flickr]

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

  • themetatron

    Pretty sure it’s part of the OHSA OEM agreement that android devices be upgradable. But then again, its also part of the licenses to release sources, too. Maybe Google needs to start enforcing these things.

  • http://Website Sizzler

    Personally I feel the carrier should guarantee however many updates that Android has in a timely fashion for at least 2 years after the phone’s launch date – not the date you sign a 2 year agreement. Anything more updates than that is totally up to them.

    • http://Website kol

      Would love to see a major updates with the nexus one. I still keep faith with the nexus 2 model before.

      Which turns out to be the Droid 2.

  • http://Website Tim

    no phones left behind, except the G1

    • juanito

      Exactly. I have precisely one year left on my contract with my G1. Oh, well, the pioneers take the arrows!

      I just wish they would state, one way or the other, what the plans are. If there is no plan to update the G1, then fine, just say so, and I’ll root the phone. Why such a big deal TMO?

      • http://Website Wayne

        You know you qualify for an upgrade after a year right?

      • http://Website Dashi

        Hate To Break Your Heart But Google/Tmobile Already Said The G1 Will Not Get An Official 2.x Update But That There Will Be Roms Because Of New Ways People Have Been Doing Them

        • http://Website Wha?


    • http://Website sad g1 owner

      and the behold 2

  • http://Website Daniel

    They should support fully for at least 2 years after released. That is the length of a typical contract. If we are expected to sign up for 2 years before an upgrade, then they should support you for that long.

  • http://Website Ben

    The carrier should not involve themselves in the maintenance of software any more than is absolutely necessary. That means no customizations. If they want to make applications fine, but don’t hold back operating system updates because they don’t have the resources to keep their stuff up to date. I think the carrier probably prefers to sell new phones instead of upgrade the existing ones for free.

    Imagine if your internet service provider told you that you couldn’t upgrade from windows xp to windows 7. That would be laughed at. Can someone tell me why we allow the carriers to get involved in the software upgrades on our phones? I don’t know the technical details, but I bet there is very little customization that is absolutely necessary to allow a phone to work on a particular carrier’s network. Maybe google could enhance the system to reduce the number of any legitimate excuses the carrier has for getting in the way.

    • http://blog.tenkely.net tenkely

      Well said.

      • http://Website Nate Lundie

        If that is the case about the data usage then they should send all of the users a link to download the file, then they can download it on their computer and put it onto their phone that way.

    • http://Website Ken

      Have you not heard of the Nexus One??!!!!????

    • http://Website Me

      I couldn’t agree any more. The carrier should have nothing to do with phone software. In fact, carriers shouldn’t even be selling phones. They should be a phone service, and you should buy your phone from the manufacturer. Ahh, in a perfect world…

    • http://Website Me

      Dude, it’s called a computer. Back when I had a WM phone, any updates I ever got were downloaded on a desktop and sent to the phone from there.

  • http://Website deckrider

    The carrier should provide timely updates for at least the duration of the phone’s warranty.

    After this period, the carrier may discontinue these updates ONLY after providing the customer with approved root access to the device (in other words, not gained through some exploit as many must do today).

    • Dharmabhum

      I’d say this is the minimum. Maximum for me would be two years from the phone’s release since that’s the length of most contracts these days and we’re not eligible for upgrades until then in most cases.

      That being said, I’d also be ok if they just left out any software updates and did whatever was needed to either facilitate updates via official sources (the way the iPhone updates now, or how updates might come from Google directly) or allow whatever access is required to load custom ROMs on the device.

      This whole thing is a big mess though… ideally I don’t want carriers to mess with software updates or hosting them OTA. But if we ask them to allow access for ROMs and jailbreaking, then we run into potential problems with carriers bricking phones while they root them or still forcing us to root them ourselves.

  • http://Website Nick

    I’d be fine with them just allowing DIY updates. Nowadays you have to hope someone can come up with an exploit to unlock the phone if you ever want to update it.

    • Dharmabhum

      Yea, this is also an option. Carriers don’t have to worry about OTA updates but they then host the update files somewhere that users can get them and install themselves.

  • http://www.kid-genius.com delayne

    G1 ? . . . that’s like the MAIN android phone left behind !

    • http://Website Terry White

      The G1 is already running 2.1 (via Cyanogen)… how is that being left behind?

      Sure, T-Mobile didn’t provide the update, but they allowed the open release of all the information necessary for the Community to support the phone, and they did nothing to prevent mod’s to the G1.

      • http://Website joshd

        not everyone has the skills to do a cyanogen upgrade (or the desire to void their warranty).

        • http://Website Me

          Everyone should grow a brain and use it. It’s extremely easy to root an Android phone and to install a new firmware onto it. And there are detailed guides that can hold your hand online. The point of Android is to be open and free. The fact that people are actually sitting around waiting for their carrier to provide an update for them makes me sad. I thought Android would end that kind of crap that we experienced with WinMo upgrades.

  • http://Website John Giotta

    Did they not mention the CLIQ too?

  • http://Website dh

    Had the G1 for 1.5 years and due for an upgrade. Wait for the Galaxy S or go with the 3G slide? I love my physical keyboard, but know the Galaxy’s screen, processor are superior. I also know Samsung hasn’t done very well with android updates(behold II). What to do?

    • Uncemister

      the keyboard of the slide is surprisingly great, you wont be disappointed =)

    • Dharmabhum

      I don’t know with whom the responsibility lies, but knowing a Samsung device was going to be left with 1.5 and now will be halted at 1.6 (officially), I’ll probably never buy a Samsung smartphone again.

    • http://www.austinpickett.com Austin

      Hahah I’m in the same boat. November is when mine expires. Awaiting for something nice to come out. Xperia?

  • DreBeezy

    Just got a Cliq XT and was expecting 2.1 but apparently this phone doesn’t deserve the update which it needs desperately…stop playing with my mind T-Mobile the second Quarter is almost over

  • http://Website joe

    samsung killed this when they decided to not support the behold 2 beyond 2.x . So it dose not matter what tmobile’s new motto of no phones left behind means . Its just a bad joke on their customers .

  • http://Website NowVoyager

    Correction: We were told that the Behold 2 will not be updated beyond 1.6! No phones left behind??? This phone was thrown off a train, run over by a tractor, shot with an AK47 and thrown under a bus. We can safely say…it was left behind.

  • http://Website Remicks

    I’m getting tired of T-Mobile’s lack of support for their phones. Their customer support and prices are second to none but come-on T-Mob support your phones the same way.

    I’m really disappointed because my MT3G is stock vanilla Android and I’m still stuck on 1.6. Where Droid Eris, Sprint Hero and Euro Hero owners already have 2.1 and they have the Sense UI running over it. Plus they are all the same phones.

    I’m hoping this promise is 2.2 on the MT3G before the month is out as hinted to before. They need to come through with something big for their customers. I have been a loyal customer for years but it’s hard not to jump ship for the EVO or the upcoming Droid 2. Especially since both Sprint and Verizon have shown they update and support their phones.

  • http://Website Dee

    im just getting tired of t-mobile in general. lack of great phone selection, lagging behind in updates (anyone remember the nightmare that was 1.5?), they just seem to be settling for any android phone they can get that another carrier didnt want. it is my sincere opinion that G1 owners who jumped on board with android first be offered some kind of incentive. sure the slide is nice but is that the only option we have after almost 2 yrs?and then with the impending supposed launch of the iphone on tmobile i can only imagine what will happen to android then so they can launch this camaign but im gonna launch my own; Leave t-mobile behind.

    • http://Website Remicks

      I agree with you. With how they are seemingly already neglecting good Android phones and updates, especially since being the carrier that brought it to market, I can only imagine how bad it will be if they get the iPhone. I can only imagine what will happen to the network integrity, I don’t want to deal with the dropped calls and data caps like AT&T. I will leave AT&T junior at the first opportunity.

      Still I won’t blame them from picking it up from a business perspective but from a customer perspective, bye-bye.

    • http://Website Mulder

      Remember 1.5? Cliq and Cliq XT users are STILL running 1.5!!!!

      • http://Website Drew

        Behold 2 is still on 1.5 too! I’m so annoyed. I feel like no one else has this phone! How did we behold2 users end up being the joke of the android community?

    • http://Website Bill

      Nexus One.

  • http://Website Tony

    I am a TMo customer now for 6+ years, Never once thought about jumping ship for some promotional offer…..And while my Behold 2 is something I picked up used, I still feel like I am neglected on this phone… 1.6?? 1.6?? And its not even out yet???

    Seriously, I am waiting for the Galaxy S and maybe it’ll be a galaxy S on another carrier, after all I am off contract….

    I myself feel left behind, and I do understand TMo is at Samsung’s mercy….
    Hmm maybe I will look at something other than a Samsung Blu ray player…thats on my to do list….

    • http://Website Bacon

      Nexus One. Look it up.

    • http://Website Drew

      yeah. 1.6. I don’t think I will ever (knowingly) purchase another Samsung product. What a bust!

  • http://Website El Guapo

    This is a bad joke after they let Samsung abandon the Behold 2. The G1 is a different story… it has been out for a very long time and is upgradeable easily by community ROMs to 2.x.

    The Behold 2 is a totally different story.. this phone is only months old and has already been abandoned. I would think VERY carefully before buying the Galaxy S

  • http://Website RJ

    I’ll put it in terms so you can esily understand. Imagine Apple fans had to buy a brand new I-Phone everytime there was a new software update. They would be furious, well that’s what we android users have to go through. Since Android OS is on so many phones,it’s hard to know what phones to get so you will be able to upgrade the firmware. It’s really ridiculous, and although I love the Android OS, I am thinking about getting the I-phone, so this way whenever there is an update I will get via Apple. Tmo completley dropped the Android ball. They had it, and they were running into the endzone and fumbled it on the half yard line, never to recover it again. How are you the 1st company to support a new idea, but now the lagging behind every other carrier. It was like they were too timid with the idea. They came out and said “Hey we got this Android OS, and it’s pretty cool we think.” Then when it caught fire, Sprint and Verizon were like “Yeah TMO, you’re right this is pretty awesome, thanks buddy, we’ll take it from here, now you go back and play, and if you come up with any other awesome ideas, make sure you run them by us first ok.”

    The G1 was the 1st and the last best idea TMO had, they have had no game changer, and they completley abandoned the phones they had. I remeber when I bought my Mytouch 3G, they had this huge marketing campaign, with all these celebs, it was supposed to be there flagship phone, now they are giving them away and you never see a commercial about them again. What about there awesome upgraded HSPA network……FAIL! I can’t even get a signal in my home office. I’m pretty over TMO, I do not think they will ever recover, and if they think a Garmin Phone or an Android Sidekick is going to be a game changer, Please. You had your opportunity TMO to come blazing out of the gates with something new, and awesome, and you squanderd it, not only defeating yourself, but totally neglecting your customers.

    They say ATT is worried when there contract is up with Apple, I think TMO should worry too, cuz I’m almost certain TMO customers will jump ship to Verizon for the new I-Phone.

    • http://Website Jay

      The new “iOS” isn’t available to any other iPhones except 3GS and 4, so unless you have the 3GS, you’re not getting the upgrade. Which means if you do go buy one, you may or may not be upgradeable in the future, same as android. You say there are so many android phones that its hard to choose or know which ones might be able to be upgraded but that just means you have to do a little research on which phone might be best for you. If that is too difficult, then yes, the iPhone is probably best for you since you would rather not have options or choice. You also state you can get the future upgrades from Apple, what about AT&T? You are blaming T-Mo for not upgrading your HTC phone, I’m pretty sure T-Mo isn’t stopping HTC from updating their phones. The MyTouch 3G was their flagship phone about a year ago, you really didn’t think it was going to stay that way for years to come did you? The verizon had the Droid, then Droid Incredible, now Droid X or whatever, it’s going to change as new phones are released. The iPhone even has different iterations that change what AT&T’s flagship phone actually is, somewhat the same as MyTouch 3G and then MyTouch Slide.

      If people are upset that your phone hasn’t been upgraded, blame the manufacturer, not the carrier. It’s not like any of the carriers are telling the manufacturers NOT to release an update. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s crap that phones like the Cliq are sitting in the Android stone age with 1.5, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s on Motorola and knowing that they are still pushing out new phones with 1.5, just means that I will not be buying a Motorola phone in the future.

    • jalberty

      I completely agree with you. I just have one more thing to add.

      I was an AT&T customer. I change to TMOBILE because of ANDROID.
      Here in Puerto Rico TMOBILE was running en EDGE network. When I got my G1 (summer 2009) I was promised that by the end of the year we were getting 3G. It is summer 2010 and we still have no 3G, only EDGE. TMOBILE in Puerto Rico is the same as TMOBILE in the US. After all, PR us US territory. I called customer service to ask about 3G in PR, their answer was “we have no idea about that”. But still, they sell all the 3G phones and they advertise them as such, even thou there is no 3G in this little island.

  • http://Website Dee

    what completely baffles me is the fact that TMO is holding on to this idea that android phones are for teenagers. i dont give a flying rats ass about having your special motoblur aggregate my facebook twitter and myspace, because hmmmm maybe thats what the facebook twitter and myspace apps are for? for some reason TMO thinks that everyone needs to be socially connected and to help us they must provide a sub-par social networking skin on top of the phone. they need to open their eyes and understand that they need to stop targeting the 15-26 market. if motorola can make the Droid X, Droid, Droid 2 for VZW why cant they demand the same high end -ness?and does this mean they will tell motorola to take their motoblur to ATT because they arent interested in selling crippled phones?

    • http://Website Bacon

      Nexus One.

      • http://Website Dee

        i had no idea about the nexus one! thanks for telling me!
        after some research i love this phone! im going to go get it tomorrow at the nearest TMO store….


  • Dominicandroid809

    I am deaf person customer t-mobile and I love android more than os. But I am demand want new super phone tmo. I don’t give crap about kids and It’s people what are they want either super phone or non-super phone. I want HTC EVO android 2.2 video chatting with tmo. I really like HTC EVO. so where the fuck super phone? bring new 4G now. Data-only and I ain’t buy other dumb phone cause they dumb phone is outdated and slowing, android is outdated, I distaste those low end phone. I don’t like TMO often lied to us and TMO often selling to kids then still not selling to adult-hardcore people. what is waste. My gf had problem with samsung bedhold 2 too, I suspect those android 1.5 almost outdated soon. TMO fail! EPIC FAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIILLLLLLLL. BRING SUPERPHONE! because tmo still doesn’t get it, tmo you are embarrassment me

    • http://Website Bubba

      Have you not heard of the Nexus One?????

      You people need to stop buying phones with MotoBlur, Sense and all that other restrictive BS on them. Stick with VANILLA Android and you can finally OWN YOUR DAMN PHONE.

      The N1 kicks major ass.

  • http://www.abunailee.narcthatcar.com EmeryLee

    I have the Cliq. It would be nice to get an update but if it is going to slow the phone down or eat up more ram I can go without the update. I’ll just have to wait to get a new phone at the end of next year with the new technology then. Would be really nice if they create an android based phone that will let you allocate the applications to the sd card instead of to the on board memory. I guess a “Wish is but a Wish!!!” :)

  • http://Website Chancy

    I don’t know why anyone has not said this but why does the carrier have to be involved with updates? Google should just open up an update section on the Android official page. You simply go there, select your phone, select the newest update, download it to your PC, transfer it to your phone., open the file on your phone and voila! It’s done.

    • http://Website mihavit

      i agree simple fast and easy how can u go wrong with that.

  • http://Website mihavit

    im done talking about t-mobile phones with android OS im getting the nexus one. t-mobile sucks when it comes to phones. i dont blame anyone running for a better phone with latest OS an updating support. its useless to tell t-mobile how u feel cuz they dont care at all about ur complaint. if ever person with the android OS under t-mobile leave today or a month from now that will be a shock for t-mobile to lose so much customers in a month. they will understand what we as customers was trying to tell them. as for there HSPA+ network improvement thats bullsh*t. cuz my service got worst not better. how am i roaming in my coverage area and i live in Brooklyn NY with the best coverage area. they are funny but they will she how funny i can be when i leave there a**.

  • http://Website oleg

    This letter was printed in t-mobile magazine – “100% you summer 2010″ .i am t-mobile customer and i have this magazine. Anyone else saw it? Look on the page 3.

  • I have flying monkeys

    i gave up on t-mo. they still get my money every month, but as for hoping for them to come out with a great phone or even a simple update to 2.x, i gave up. i hope my patience continues…the evo is looking pretty good right now.

  • http://Website Tywan

    how bout updating the behold 2 to 2.1? I vaguely (clearly) remember you guys advertising that the behold 2 would automatically update to 2.1 …. still waiting for that update.