Feb 28 AT 10:57 AM Taylor Wimberly 17 Comments

LG expects to offer at least a one-level upgrade for all Optimus smartphones

How do you know if your brand new Android phone will ever be updated? Google continues to push out a major new version of Android every six months, but there is no way of telling (and no guarantee) that your device will ever receive a newer firmware than what it came with out of the box.

History has shown us that the best selling Android phones are the most likely to get software updates while the flops get left behind. But how can a new user predict which models will sell well and thus get updates?

LG is hoping to address this problem with a new pledge that should offer some peace of mind to their customers. I spoke with their global communications director earlier this month in Barcelona and he told me that LG is committed to software updates for their Android phones.

LG is committed to providing a clear upgrade path for owners of its Optimus smartphones. Just as we’ve confirmed an upgrade to Gingerbread for Optimus One, our expectation is to be able to offer at minimum a one-level upgrade for all Optimus smartphones introduced by LG in 2011 and beyond.Kenneth HongDirector, Global Communications LG Electronics, Inc.

Carriers still control the software upgrades in the United States so this is not a flat-out guarantee, but it’s a step in the right direction and one we would hope that all handset makers would follow.

If a company like LG is committed to providing at least one software upgrade (while other handset makers have a shaky past), then I would be more likely to suggest LG to my friends and family when they consider their next smartphone purchase.

What do you think about LG’s promise? Would the offer of at least one software upgrade be enough to calm your fears that your new handset might be left behind? What type of commitment or guarantee do you think the carriers should offer when you sign a 2-year contract for a new smartphone?

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://Website dagamer34

    This should definitely boost morale among disgruntled Android smartphone owners. Never knowing when the next update will come is annoying. I guess the analogous iOS situation is if you have an unlocked iPhone, you have to wait for an update from the iPhone Dev Team before any updates less you not have a phone for a very long time…

    • http://Website ChaosKiller

      Do note that a guarantee of an update DOES NOT mean that it will be there quickly. I am still waiting for Android 2.2 on my motorola milestone.

  • http://Website nico

    just 1 update… oky
    and release all phone 1 update latter.
    LG Optimus 2x release in 2.2, update to 2.3 and that all. Thx.

  • http://Website Miguel

    I think that updates are probably less important after a handset has Gingerbread. Gingerbread may represent Android’s peak. Heck, 2.2. was probably the best overhaul, with Gingerbread being mostly polishing and some under the hood upgrades.

    Sure it’s nice to have the latest in Geekworld to have the latest greatest Android version, but will it really be crucial if 2.3 provides such a good overall user experience, from both a technical and UI standpoint?

    And whatever happened to all the LG talk? There was a point 6 weeks ago when Dual-Core and LG were practically in every single blog post together. Then the Atrix dropped and everybody forgot about LG and when their dual-core handsets were being released.

    • Lane

      Whatever the 2nd release to come after Ice Cream is will be the one to really watch. The summer release next year.

      By then we should see real fragmentation issues addressed and a more cohesive platform between phone/tablet/TV/whatever is next.

      One can hope anyway.

  • http://Website TWiT Commander

    This means nothing if they ship a phone today with a version of Android that is already behind the curve, e.g. 2.1, when 2.3 is already out, and 2.4 is coming. The update you get as per the promise will be 2.2.

    Just hypothetical. They did say one update at “minimum”, not just one update and that’s it. They are leaving the door open.

  • http://Website charlotte

    US carriers need to commit to supporting their phones with updates for the life of the contract you’ve signed. They need to make sure the manufacturers come through. This is really not too much to ask.

  • http://Website OneRcknMan

    If the manufacturers were smart they would stop putting skins on top of the OS and let Google handle the update. As for the skins they should make them apps instLled on the phone and the user can decide if they like it or not. It seems that the software update lag is because they have to upgrade the skins to be compatible with each flavor of Android that comes out.

    If the manufacturers feel it is worth their time and money to update the skin/App then they could do it but they shouldn’t let the customer miss out on a software upgrade because they don’t want to spend the time/money doing rewrites. I don’t think I have ever read that someone likes MotoBlur.

    I think the customer will understand that if their phone is old Gingerbread or whatever version will not run fast enough or something on their phone.

    But then again, it’s better not to upgrade an old phone than to upgrade and the phone becomes a brick like what Apple did with iOS 4.

    Last point, LG, release the Optimus 2X in the US already.

  • http://Website Andres

    Not good enough.

    On a two year contract a promise of just one update is not even close to being good enough.

    • Noice

      Two years of ‘timely’ updates would be entirely adequate. :D

  • http://Website Mark

    I think htc is the best, because they don’t lock down their phones and there usually very good about updating their phones.

    • http://Website mi_piace_la_figa

      yeah, like the G2 …

      I think that the phones with an official unlocked bootloader are only the Nexus One and the Nexus S.

      The other phones get unlocked by using security exploit.

  • http://www.mannuforall.in Manojr Tiwari

    Thats would be great if they do as they committed this time.

  • http://androidapps.co.il Droi

    a nice announcement for the press, but come on…

  • http://Website Soboku

    I expect updates/upgrades to be done to any phone always and with in a reasonable time until the phone just does not support it. Anything less then this is just not acceptable to me. Its just not that hard to do a job right. I have the Vibrant and I new it did not have the FF camera but what I didn’t no was that it has all the hardware for it but Samsung took it out or just did not put it in because they new that they were going to have the Vibrant 2 coming out and could make more money off us via upgrades. This is greed at its best and only thinking about money and not the people who made them the money. I won’t be buying anything Samsung again. Not just because of this but also because of how long its taken them to upgrade us to 2.2 witch does not even work right.

  • http://Website bingismynameo

    so their saying only one update and that’s it? that’s not good they should be more like htc updating it until the phone cant support it anymore.