Aug 30 AT 8:52 AM Justin Shapcott 55 Comments

At this year’s Google I/O to much excitement in the crowd (and, no doubt, the thousands watching online), Google announced the Android Update Alliance. This partnership between Google, manufacturers and carriers set the noble goal of keeping Android devices updated in a timely manner for a duration of at least eighteen months.

Details were scarce at the time of the announcement, however. We were given a list of the companies involved in the partnership and little else about how the Alliance would go about its business. Unfortunately, in the past three months not much has changed on this front.

Things we still don’t know about the Android Update Alliance:

  1. Is Google working with the manufacturers and carriers to get these updates out the door? Or is Google merely setting forth a guideline and expecting adherence?
  2. Are devices released before this announcement that are still within this eighteen month update time frame intended to be a part of this agreement?
  3. Are there any guidelines relating to how long it should take for devices to receive an update after a new version of Android is released?
  4. Are minor version updates (which often include important security fixes) intended to be released as part of this agreement?
  5. Who determines if a device is capable of receiving an upgrade?

We have seen a lot of devices getting updates lately, so we can reasonably assume that the Alliance is, in fact, doing what it has set out to do… for the most part. There are a number of devices released early this year that are still running outdated versions of Android. Some are even being released now with outdated versions. Perhaps the answers to the above questions can shine some light on the situation.

Report Card

Not content with merely estimating how the various carriers and manufacturers were doing with their updates, we set out to determine the actual update status of each phone available from the participants in the Alliance. We gathered details about each device and its current version (including some devices from carriers and manufacturers that are not part of the Alliance) for comparison. Some devices included in the Alliance are no longer being sold by carriers (but most are still within their 18 month time-frame). In order to visualize our findings, we’ve built a few charts to share with you.

The first gives an overview of the number of phones running 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 grouped according to their manufacturer:

And then we determined which phones from each manufacturer were getting updates:

We could see it’s kind of a mixed bag when it comes to updating devices that were already out at the time of the announcement. For instance, the oldest phone available for purchase (the HTC EVO 4G) has been able to jump from 2.1 to 2.3, and the HTC MyTouch 3G Slide, which is around the same age, has only taken one step up from 2.1 to 2.2 so far. Of those manufacturers participating in the Alliance, HTC has been the most successful in updating their preexisting devices. LG, Motorola and Samsung have some work to do here.

On the bright side, though, the majority of devices released after the announcement have been launched with some form of Gingerbread. At the front of the pack are HTC and Sony Ericsson; all their newest devices are on the latest and greatest. Motorola and Samsung have launched a few devices on older versions, but this may be due to them being lower-end. In other cases, the carrier didn’t request the latest version.

When looking on the carrier side, only Sprint in the US and Vodafone in Europe are currently carrying more up-to-date than out-of-date devices. AT&T has promised to update all their 2011 lineup, so expect their numbers to change soon. T-Mobile and Verizon aren’t really making the grade so far, but we’re still hoping they’ll turn that around.

Of course, a lot of these stats hinge on the answers to the above questions about the scope of the agreement. If the expectation is indeed that all devices within their eighteen month window will be updated, then it boils down to what the expected time frame to release updates is. It has been over three months since Google I/O  and the announcement of the Android Update Alliance, and while we are seeing movement in the right direction, we’re not quite there yet.

What do you guys think about the lack of information on the Android Update Alliance? What do you think is a reasonable timeline for updating? If you want to see the massive list of versions for almost every Android phone, check out the epic listing below:

Justin is the founder of and lead developer at nEx.Software.

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  • Anthony Domanico

    All i can see happening in the comments is Richard Yarell lauding that Sprint wins the carrier update battle, and 15 others raging on Yarell.

  • SparkyXI

    Not surprising to see so much Froyo (Eclair even!) still in Moto. Also, Samsung and HTC both have a barrage of powerful phones running Froyo that should have been updated at this point (*cough* Droid Charge *cough* Thunderbolt *cough*)… All we can do is wait or root (I choose the later).

  • Peter

    That sure is a lot of information :)
    I wish there was a comprehensive website somewhere that tracked this. I’m not too pleased with how HTC handled the Desire 2.3 update but it is difficult to quantify if anyone else is really doing any better.

    Even more complicatedly (if that is a word) not all releases are equal. HTC released 2.3 for the Desire but it doesn’t support copy protected apps because they didn’t give Google the build fingerprint.

    Interesting spelling of Vodafone ;)

    • Justin Shapcott

      Ha! Wow, you are right. Epic fail on my part. Can you tell I am an American? :P

      • unlinked

        It’s ok, I’ll try not to hold it against you.

        • Anthony Domanico

          What’s a Vodafone? does it run android?


          • Jess Blanchard

            Someone just earned that monocled avatar. :P

  • rantmo

    I find it interesting that you list the LG G2x as running 2.3; while I know that you can update to Gingerbread via LG’s website I would never have known about it if I read this site constantly. Hell, I haven’t made the upgrade to Gingerbread out of worry of ending up with a brick or encountering the myriad of other possible problems. So while technically it has an update, it’s kind of a half-assed one.

    • Justin Shapcott

      According to T-Mobile rolled out Gingerbread to the G2x over-the-air. Granted, I did the LG Updater thing.

      • rantmo

        Well I’ve rarely been so happy to be proven wrong! Unfortunately, I can’t get a connection with the update server to try and force Gingerbread right now but I will lay siege until I get my way!

        • jd

          Have you tried a check in? *#*#checkin#*#* on your dial pad

          • rantmo

            I have not, what does that do?

  • Nao Nozawa

    The Droid 2 Global is still officially running Froyo, not Gingerbread.

    • Angie Strickland

      Thanks, we updated it.

  • Jon

    Great write-up. I think more attention needs to be brought to this topic in order to hold the Update Alliance’s feet to the fire. They’ve had plenty of time to ramp up their efforts to keep their phones up to date and yet every member seems to be falling down on the job.

  • warrenbzf

    This is not good. The manufacturers and carriers are leaving their customers open to data theft. I have libertarian leanings, but federal government regulation is sometimes needed. This is one of those times, because the common users will probably never know to buy a certain brand, or carrier, who charges more but uses that money to update the software for the entire length of the contract.

    • Bill

      This is when the type of regulation needed is simply easily accessible information. Lack of information is a problem rampant throughout the industry in many aspects. For instance, in this case I would require the carriers to clearly list version, it’s potential security issues and suggestions regarding them if possible, its features (including what has been disabled), and so forth. Of course, the issue would come up pf what to do about things like the Amazon Kinde tablet (not a phone, but using this as an example of why Android doesn’t necessarily fit into neat molds). Would it be fair to essentially punish a company for essentially builing its own android version from scratch. Even regulating required information can interfere with natural innovation if not handled carefully.

  • frankthgr8

    ummm, it lists the Droid Incredible 2 as Froyo, but mine’s Gingerbread

    • Justin Shapcott

      This is exactly the reason we need a reliable database of devices and the version they are on. Even Google thinks that the Droid Incredible 2 is still on 2.2:

    • Angie Strickland

      Thanks, updated.


    Fantastic article guys!!! I know I was shocked to see my Sensation get upgraded to 2.3.4 so fast. Truthfully I though they were going to skip it in favor of just getting it to ice cream. With that said I hope ICS comes just as fast! Unless a Nexus comes to Tmobile, then I dont care. Cause thats my shizzz

    • Interpol91

      Dang! I want to get a Nexus device because I don’t want to rely on SamSprint to release updates. Pure Google experience is the only way I’ll go from now on after having the Samsung Epic 4G. Thankfully leaks have already given me Gingerbread roms on the phone but ti’s not the same.

  • Nathan

    Cool graphs and that why I love this website it’s so organize and professional :)

  • Dragonithe

    Great article!
    But can someone explain the pie charts to me?
    For example, in the second picture we can see Sony Ericsson whit inside the pie a number of 4/14, and the under text of 11 currently run 2.3
    I don’t get it.

    • Justin Shapcott

      The pie charts show the number of devices which have received a version update, with the text below indicating how many are on or have been updated to 2.3. In the case of Sony Ericsson, they have 4 devices which have been updated, but they have 11 that currently run Android 2.3 (meaning most were launched with the latest version).

      • Jason

        The descriptions on the charts make sense, but for most of them I can’t see how the chart areas relate to any figures that they’re presented with. Take HTC’s for example: the numbers you give are 14/24 phones receiving updates, and 12/24 phones running 2.3 (which also conflicts with the first bar graph where it’s stated that HTC has 13 phones on 2.3). But the pie chart shows ~40% full. What numbers does the chart represent?

  • Sandra Curtis

    Look at the list and see my poor Samsung Continuum (Verizon) STILL running 2.1! Even the Fascinate is at 2.2. (It is the same phone, but the Continuum has the ticker.)
    Sure do wish there was SOME way to get some action! Otherwise, is a pretty great phone..

  • Daveon J

    This list the optimus line of phones as on 2.3 but my Optimus V is running 2.2.1 not gingerbread.

    • Justin Shapcott

      LG has just started rolling out the Gingerbread update for the Optimus Line. I gave them the benefit of the doubt that this will come to all versions of the Optimus One in the near future.

      • dgw

        The Optimus S has been updated, but VM USA (i.e. Sprint) have been absolutely silent about updating the V variant. I don’t think VMU ever deserves to get the benefit of the doubt.

        (Note: I am biased. VM took two weeks to correct a shipping error I called to fix within 15 minutes of ordering. I was told it would be corrected, and it wasn’t on shipping two days later. It’s been a long two weeks.)

  • JaylanPHNX

    Sorry to continue the nitpicking, but the CliqXT is listed as 2.1, but never got that update, dying it’s painful death at 1.5.

    • Justin Shapcott

      Thanks, it appears you are right. And, no worries about nitpicking… Part of my goal here was to get an accurate dataset regarding the Android versions on these devices. It’s a pain in the butt to find this information without any centralized resource, perhaps we can change that here.

      • Justin Shapcott

        Interestingly, Google’s own database at has not been well maintained. It doesn’t always include the current version on the device, and is even missing some devices altogether (the entire CLIQ line being an example of such a case).

  • kwills88

    These charts are amazing, and i think google should just create a update website/app..whenever there is a update out, they have the list of requirements for the device you’re on in order to get the update (kinda like the cyan update app) instead of depending on carrier to bring the updates to their devices.

  • Dylan Andersen

    Holy shit, Justin. This was a fantastic read and the graphics made it all the much better. Great work.

    • Justin Shapcott

      We can all thank Angie for all the hard work she did on the graphics. She’s outstanding.

      Glad you didn’t think the words were too bad either. :)

      • kye

        Did she design the men in suits image herself? Or is it a stock art? Either way looks nice. Simple but bloody nice.

        • Angie Strickland

          There is a lot of illustration that I do myself, but occasionally I have an idea of a style that I know I can’t pull off quickly, but need to – so in this case, yes it is stock art. I was slightly able to put my own spin on it :)

          • Kye

            Im a designer. Im a fan of your design work. Good stuff….your kind of like a silent celebrity with your work! Ps. Please can you pm me the stock art link cos that style rules, and one of my insurance clients wanted a similar look for their site.

            Thank you. X

        • Angie Strickland

          Thanks Kye!

      • Angie Strickland

        You’re nice! :)

  • Drew

    The LG Ally is on 2.2.

    • Justin Shapcott

      Cool, thanks. I wasn’t sure as I couldn’t find any official source.

  • Jon

    Hi, great post but just one thing must be said. When Google announced this “update alliance” in Google I|O 2011, said that the NEW phones (released AFTER the event) from this manufacturers and OEMs will have updates for 18months.

    So there are lots of phones in this charts that don’t belong to what was announced.

  • Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

    Actually, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is slowly being updated across the world to Gingerbread. Several carrier-customized versions (including the Rogers version) have received the update, and all generic unbranded versions have received it already.

  • Sean the Electrofreak

    “If you want to see the massive list of versions for almost every Android phone, check out the epic listing below:”

    Yes, you’re right, my Epic 4G was listed.

  • Will Archer

    I think it may finally be safe to put the Dinc as 2.3. Seems this update will continue to roll out. Of course rooted users have had Sense 3.0 with 2.3.4 (soon to be 2.3.5) for quite some time ;)

  • Adam

    It would paint an even better picture if the bars started at the OS level the phone initially shipped with, so you could see if the manufacturer just released the phone with 2.3 – or went from 2.2 to 2.3 – or went from 2.1 to 2.2 to 2.3.

    This way you may be able to better see which manufacturer/carrier is actually committed to providing updates. Lets put this on wikipedia! Good job guys

  • Stall3

    Half of the info on this site is wrong! I sell Cell Phones at my job and allot of what is listed on here as 2.2 are actually 2.3 now. The HTC Droid Incredible (my old phone) got the 2.3 update as well. And there are allot of the newer phones left off (Droid Bionic for example!)

    Get the info right before you post it on here for everyone to see!!

    • DDarty

      Dude…check the post date before biting someone’s head off. Everything you read online isn’t posted that same day.

  • gubidi

    Google needs to ensure that updates are given in a timely manner. A concept I came up with was that any device released with the logo “with Google” must update their device to the newest version of the OS within a week of official release. They also need to release their devices with the latest version of the OS. Manufacturers could release their products without the “with Google,” but Google could advertise Android as being constantly updated with the “with Google” so consumers would go for those devices.

    • Steven

      Android is an open source mobile operating system. First off it isn’t googles fought or the manufacturer but up to the carrier you have. I was on verizon for years and had the ally and droid x. The ally was slow and couldn’t do much more then a regular phone so I wouldn’t expect verizon to release an update because they do have the most say so on when there androids get an update. The droid x could handle gingerbread ( because it worked good on mine but verizon wouldn’t ) but I personally believe they didn’t want to release an update because it was a few months away from the X2 releases and would have taken a away something they could use to make people who just use a phone for a phone and make it sound better then the original.

    • Steven

      Android is an open source mobile operating system. First off it isn’t googles fault but the manufacturer and up to the carrier you have to push any update to a phone ok their network. If you do think every phone should be updated then get an iphone(I the ignorancephone for people who don’t know much about technology) but back to my observation). I was on verizon for years and had the ally and droid x. The ally was slow and couldn’t do much more then a regular phone so I wouldn’t expect verizon to release an update because they do have the most say so on when there androids get an update. The droid x could handle gingerbread ( because it worked good on mine but verizon wouldn’t approve the release until there developers added bloat ware is what I call it ) but I personally believe they didn’t want to release an update because it was a few months away from the X2 releases and would have taken a away something they could use to advertise as not being on original X. It’s a good idea for Google to make this alliance because not only will google have to improve their os but also keep the service provide/manufactor/ carrier from using something that should be available to all current devices that are able to operate with any release from google but most carriers (verizon)see updating a year old phone as useless because they will have, to spend money to get the developers to make it stable on each device which can take alot of time. So the only choice we have it’s top root the device which gives the use access to different versions of android that un paid and void our warranty if they find out you did something to change the software to make it more secure

  • Pete

    Optimus V is NOT 2.3