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PERSPECTIVE: German Carrier and Manufacture outlook on Android Upgrades
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 05.11.09 - 19:58:40 CET under 04 - Android News - Viewed 13971x
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Android is roughly one year old now and there are 4 different versions in the market already: Android 1.0, Android 1.5 aka Cupcake, Android 1.6 aka Donut and soon Android 2.0 aka Eclair. And while Android initially promised an easy upgrade path, it's up to the manufactures and or carriers to release Android upgrades for existing devices. And while we will soon see a couple of Android 2.0 devices in Europe, for existing users it's quite interesting to know which options they have for their recently purchased smartphones. German heise online followed-up this question and asked German carriers and manufactures about their Android upgrade plans.

The first was HTC which confirmed that the HTC Hero will receive an Android 2.0 Eclair upgrade, as soon as HTC has adopted its HTC Sense UI. And, according to a HTC spokesperson, the company even thinks about offering an Android 2.0 upgrade for the recently launched HTC Tattoo.

T-Mobile Germany's spokesperson confirmed that the T-Mobile G2 Touch (T-Mobile's version of the HTC Hero) will receive an Android 1.6 Donut upgrade first; without confirming a later Android 2.0 upgrade. Furthermore it was noted that no decisions are done yet if the T-Mobile G1 or T-Mobile Pulse (Huawei U8220/U230) will either receive an Android 1.6 or 2.0 upgrade. While it should be mentioned that the G1 is a so called "Google Experience" phone where Google is in charge for operating system roll-outs. Nevertheless, Google has to work with HTC and T-Mobile on possible upgrades.

However, T-Mobile confirmed that it won't launch any further Android smartphones in 2009 anymore. Therefore, as expected, it's confirmed that the Motorola Milestone won't hit T-Mobile but O2 Germany and Vodafone Germany only.

Like T-Mobile, also Vodafone Germany confirmed that the company hasn't made any decision yet, if the HTC Magic, which just received the Android 1.6 Donut upgrade recently, will get an Android 2.0 upgrade in future.

As with the T-Mobile G1, the Vodafone's HTC Magic is also a so called "Google Experience" phone and therefore it's up to Google if firmware updates will be offered or not. But again, Google has to work with HTC and Vodafone on a possible upgrade.

Samsung, which is offering firmware updates by itself - not via Google - wasn't able to comment on GT-I7500 Galaxy upgrades. The Samsung Galaxy, which is available exclusively from O2 Germany, is the last (and only) available Android smartphone in Germany which is still running on Android 1.5 Cupcake. It even hasn't received an Android 1.6 upgrade yet.

Quite interesting to see that - even if so young - Android is already facing similar problems as Windows Mobile. However, while normally Windows Mobile receives one upgrade per year only, Google was busy enough to release roughly four different Android version within 12 months. And while the Android source code is open source, which theoretically allows everybody to build his own ROM builds for each phone, practically customers are hooked on the development plans of carriers and manufactures and it seems that the future doesn't looks too bright for certain devices.
Sure, the statements above were all made for the German market but nevertheless, they might be a good indication for other markets as well, especially because T-Mobile is a German company and also Vodafone Germany the most important share in the Vodafone group.

Cheers ~ Arne


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