Friday, October 28, 2011

Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support

The announcement that Nexus One users won’t be getting upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich led some to justifiably question Google’s support of their devices. I look at it a little differently: Nexus One owners are lucky. I’ve been researching the history of OS updates on Android phones and Nexus One users have fared much, much better than most Android buyers.

I went back and found every Android phone shipped in the United States1 up through the middle of last year. I then tracked down every update that was released for each device - be it a major OS upgrade or a minor support patch - as well as prices and release & discontinuation dates. I compared these dates & versions to the currently shipping version of Android at the time. The resulting picture isn’t pretty - well, not for Android users....


This is one case where Apple's full vertical market control of their phone product is a positive.

Carriers have never been good about applying OS patches on mobile phones. It was less important when each carrier had a different OS, but as they increasingly converge toward Android...the bad guys are watching the number of mobile devices that can be exploited with one attack plan increasing in front of them very quickly - all thanks to the carriers themselves.

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