Would You Be Willing to Pay for Major Android Updates?

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Holly Golightly

I do not like the idea of paying for a mobile operating system. Android has become Vista. Not everything works. When you install something, it may work, it may not. No thanks. I do not want to pay for Android... Too many different UIs as mentioned in the article. I just want a clean experience that will work. As it is right now, Android isn't worth paying for.

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Jc61990

Android is open source... why should anyone have to pay for something that was intentionally made to be free...

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Wingzero_x

I really don't think many people realize how fast phone development has been in the last few years. It really doesn't seem that long ago when Windows Pocket PC phone edition seemed cutting edge, but compare that to my iPhone or any of the "droid" phones out there. Hell even comparing the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4S is night and day, and the same could be said about an Android phone you've had for 1.5 years to the latest. So IMHO if you really want an upgrade then upgrade the whole package!

 

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doggitydogs

Let me know when you intend for me to start paying for my Windows service packs or my Firefox updates, and then we'll talk. Hey, why don't you just have me pay for the ability to unplug a USB device?

FOSS exists for a reason: I, for one, do not want to pay $120 for a Microsoft Office license in order to peck out a single letter in Word, or $700 for a Photoshop license to remove red-eye from a photo. Sure, if I were to be removing red-eye from 7,849 photos or writing business letters to negotiate the sale of Guam, then that might be worth it.

Should I choose not to spend $120 (a number that Microsoft seems to really, really like) on a Windows installation in order to check my email and play digi-Scrabble, I have alternatives to choose from. I have a freshly-burned openSUSE Live CD sitting on my desk in front of me. What did I pay for that? Sixteen cents, plus a handful of watt-hours' worth of electric bill and 670 megabytes of Internet. That is much less than $120.

In this openSUSE, I can install LibreOffice or AbiWord or OpenOffice or a massive pile of other word processors or even entire office suites for less than the cost of mailing a rebate form for $2.99 off that $120 Office subscription*. I can install the GIMP or some Windows-based photo editor running in WINE (free) and remove all the red-eye I want.

At this point, these free solutions may not be as robust as the commercial offerings mentioned above, but for a savings of nearly $1000 on writing a letter and sending someone a picture of my cat, then that's not really my biggest concern.

Android is a free and open-source operating system, much like that 20-cent openSUSE disc. Now imagine that Android and that disc cost $15. In a month or two, another $15. Then another $15. Those $15 "maintenance fees" or whatever are there to change a line of source code.

I understand the motivation to charge fees for whatever product you have to offer. I agree that fees and copyright and such can be frustrating to end-users like myself, but from the perspective of content publishers, of which I am also one, these fees are wonderful. They buy us things like pizza and CDs with which to burn openSUSE discs. However, there is somewhere where a line needs to be drawn.

Knowing that using the three FOSS solutions mentioned above would save me about $940, I would certainly donate $10 or $20 or $100 to each of them to aid their development and keep them free for those that need them or can't afford them. Some NEED these solutions. I WANT these solutions. There is no finite number of downloads that Sourceforge can accommodate, or lines of code Scandinavian developers can write. Unless, of course, they run out of money to pay the bills and provide us with these services.

I can certainly see donating $15 to the Android project. I can see donating $20 to the Android project. I might be able to live with $15 per update if there aren't too many of them. But making this a mandatory charge is not something that can be done. As I have said, $15 will buy you a good, tasty hamburger. I, for one, enjoy hamburgers. Do I want some poor African child who is on the brink of starvation trying to load up an Aakash and write out a letter begging Luxembourg for part of a piece of bread to buy me a hamburger? No. I do not want that.

If it meant that Google would NOT charge me and everybody else $15 per update, I would give them $500 just to develop Android. The same goes for Novell, the GIMP Team, Apache, or whomever needs it. Knowing that those $500 will save me $1000, that's well worth it, in my opinion. If I do that, I will have enough left over for hamburgers. That's not something many people can say.

* No, Microsoft would never be generous enough for an entire three dollars off a $120 package that cost $1000 to develop and sold a million copies. That would reduce their profit margin by nearly 0.000002500021%, God forbid.

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maroci

"Let me know when you intend for me to start paying for my Windows service packs"

I don't know if it's poor reading comprehension on your part or what, but service pack =/= major update.  Major updates are in fact paid for with both Windows and OS X.  Huge amounts infrequently with Winblows.  Much smaller amounts somewhat more frequently with OS X.

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doggitydogs

Yes, but if they can get us to pay for major Android updates, then they will know that they can get us to pay for just about anything.

First it's $15 for major updates. Then it's $30 for major updates. Then it's $20 for minor updates. You know releases numbered things like 2.0.13.6? Yeah. $10 for that one.

Many of us use Android in the first place solely because it's free. (The OS X updates actually cost much more than the CDs do, which is what we paid for when we bought $600 worth of hardware for $1200 because it has an Apple logo on it.) If they start charging for major updates for free software, then shareware and non-commercial software will take it to heart that we will pay for updates for free software. So what happens to their non-free software then? We pay more for it, because we will pay for something that's supposed to be free.

Does this mean that they will tack on $15 to their $400, $500, $600 prices? No. That's too insignificant. Much less significant than tacking on $15 to $0. They will add $150 to their prices. Or maybe, what I was hinting at with the service pack comment, they will add $0 to their prices. Why? So that you have to pay $100 to get a bug fixed that was the fault of their programming in the first place.

Yes, bugs happen. There is no way that even the most experienced coder could avoid bugs in their software. If there were absolutely perfect programmers that could spot out that missing semicolon or incorrect decimal point, then we wouldn't need these minor upgrades, bugfix releases, in the first place. Now, I don't mind bugfix releases, because they're free.

That is how the corporate mind works. They believe that consumers will pay to fix something that was the programmers' own damned fault in the first place. I, for one, will not pay to fix bugs. New features, which is mainly what happens with major releases of everything except Firefox (no new features in the last five versions there...), I wouldn't mind paying for. Hence the Android.

However, there is a problem with paying for those Android upgrades. The reason that Android was created in the first place was so that it was free and open-source software. It also happens to be the only fully-featured FOSS mobile operating system currently maintained. And because FOSS has a purpose in existence, then mandatory charges for Android, the only mobile FOSS OS, are outrageous, and will cause no more than the skyrocketing of already-insane charges for commercial software packages and the complete implosion of computing.

In my opinion.

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penskeford

The problem lies in the carriers. Let's make google, not T-Mobile, A.T.T, Sprint or  Verizon in conjunction with Samsung, HTC, LG, etc. deal with Android Updates. It should be no different then Microsoft Windows Updates. If the stupid carriers and maufacturers want to to roll out their own UI tweaks or whatever, they can charge for that crap if they want. Just give me my latest vanilla google android os and I'll pick and choose payed apps, ui tweaks and so on from there. 

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IFLATLINEI

And this is what he comes up with? Pathetic excuse for a human being. Im getting tired of these idiots spreading their stupidity. Just follow how Microsoft does its updates. Phones are advanced enough computing platforms now. They dont need to be treated that much differently from a laptop and therefore should be updated regulary by no one else other than Google themselves. Done!

Sure there will be obstacles and issues to work through but thats not our problem just get it done! The longer this goes one not doing it the microsoft way just makes it worse. 

 

With that being said Ive taken care of most of my own updates for all my Android devices and now that I think about it. Isnt that what Android is all about? More user input. I download, I modify, I setup, all how I want it when I want it.

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maroci

Last I checked, Microsoft charged a rather large amount of money for major OS updates.

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reflex99

it worked with iOS 1-3

 

I could see it working for android.

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doggitydogs

Yeah, but that's Apple. I know a couple people who would pay $100 for Apple-brand gardening soil, now with 50% less plant poison.

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maroci

Yeah, and I even know a few people stupid enough to buy Android devices.

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kixofmyg0t

Yeah because people are seriously gonna pay to upgrade.....is this guy fucking retarded? How the hell did he get in a position of power like to even suggest something like that? THATS whats broken. 

 

 

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livebriand

Fuck no. Isn't Android supposed to be free? If that's the way this works, people will pirate the updates.

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aplusbex1

In the modding community people singlehandedly make ports basically in their free time and without getting paid. For example ICS was ported to my device days after the code was available and half the bug list is already dealt with. Large development teams wasting a ton of money and failing to deliver should be problem for the company and not for the end user.

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dgrmouse

Paid updates on a free OS are stupid and Kendrick is stupid to suggest it.  Control over the device and the software it runs simply must be wrested from the control of the money grubbing phone companies.  Especially in light of the Spyware recently revealed, why are we allowing handset makers to sell through the phone companies, instead of directly to us?

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aarcane

I agree with everyone who's saying that the PROPER fix is to cut the bloatware and have developers focusing on delivering drivers and otherwise stock images.  Furthermore, I think if a phone developer wants to stop releasing images for their phone, they should be required by some sort of agreement to release the drivers for community development (Yes, I realize just exactly how contrary this is from the current system).

Right now, every phone was released on a 1.x, 2.x, etc. version.  This should be used as a guideline as to what version of the OS you can upgrade to (1.x -> 1.y) without expecting performance penalties.  phone manufacturers should, nay MUST support the entire major version of their devices, to ensure minimum fragmentation and maximum customer satisfaction.

On the issue of 1.x phones being upgraded to 4.x OS?  Should the venders provide it?  Only if the hardware can handle it.  That should be the ONLY factor.  Will the phone make and recieve phone calls and text messages in real time with this OS upgrade.  However, I only believe they should supply the update, with a warning.  "Warning, this OS may provide reduced functionality or performance to your handset.  Support is provided for installation and removal of this OS only", or similar.

We all know that preventing usesrs from easily gaining root access is immoral, and we all know that preventing the user from installing the OS of their choice is very immoral.  These are just some minor changes in the interrim that will greatly improve all our lives.

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avenger48

My android phone went from 1.6 to 2.2 and only gained speed.  New android versions don't really slow down the device, they usually provide optimizations as well as the new features that makes an upgrade largely beneficial or at least resource-neutral.

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Captain_Steve

I'll pay $15 for my rooted phone to stop asking me to update twice a day. It runs how I like it, and the update would only slow it down (I "loved" all those updates on my old Droid).

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dgrmouse

You're the apathetic sheep that the phone companies thrive on.  Cheers.

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TechLarry

Hail no.  Not a chance.  Not in a million years.

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wintercoder

It is my understanding that all Windows Phone 7 devices have had the ability to be upgraded to the current release (7.5 Mango).

Consistant, proven UI. Let the developers focus on real-world apps... stop wasting time jacking around w/the interface.

Problem SOLVED.

Just sayin.

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keyzs

 

If it anit broke, don’t fix it!!! 

I kinda agree that OEMs should just take the original Android and develop fully tested drivers for their own devices. 

Almost all the time, we are encouraged to make updates to perfectly working hardware / software installations, however, there are times after the updates, certain things just cease to function.  When will people realise that major updates are mainly used to incorporate the latest hardware devices and not some 2yr old device with 2yr old limitations…

Try installing the latest OS patch into an old 486 DX computer with 4MB RAM and see if it works…

 

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c8503

Keyzs has got it right:

 

"Pundits" talk about fragmentation on android all the time and point to stats on older devices not receiving newest iterations of the OS.

Why do they need it? Most people need their cell phone to make calls, texts, and access facebook while they're bored. Those who use their phones for much more are savvy enough to root & install whatever OS version they want.

 

A complete non-issue.

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maroci

Dumbest. Comment. Ever.

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rrecine

The answer is simple, no. We buy Android because it costs less. Remember that Android is fragmented and probably doesn't have enough apps ONLY if the apps you want aren't there or don't work. Otherwise it works well.

iOS isn't perfect either, no Flash, Widgets, 4G etc. etc. So in some sort of way it is "fragmented" too, better yet handicapped on purpose by it's own creators. 

I'll stick to what costs me less and still gets the job done. 

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scottd34

costs less? nope, phones still cost the same no matter if they are android, win phone 7, ios or blackberry...  besides google stole so many patented technologies that by the time theyre done getting sued by every other company out there that manufacturers are going to pay more in licensing fees for android then any other os out there.

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avenger48

You do realize that Android is free to license and Google is eating the cost of the lawsuits much like they eat the costs of many other things, right?

Do I detect a bit of fanboyism?

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maroci

Uh, no genius, what you detect is the (no doubt unfamiliar to you) sound of someone who knows what they're talking about.  Because you clearly do not.  In fact, Microsoft has forced several device manufacturers to pay them royalties for Android, and has lawsuits outstanding against the remainder.

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Sovereign

I am not paying the carriers for some substandard, mucked up OS when plenty of developers @ XDA (and others) push out updates for free.

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twister753

Would I pay for it if it was the only option? Maybe.

 

Will it fix anything? No.

 

The problem is all the crap that the OEMs put on after. On the other hand, not allowing that would kind of go against the purpose of Android. Personally, I only use the phones straight from Google because I want stock Android.

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Supall

This would just make the situation worse.  After paying high fees for cellular usage, who's going to want to spend $15 for an OS update when we have developers willing to push those updates out to us for free?  Next thing we know, we'll be having anti-piracy issues on THIS front.  Android is free and open source.  The issue is with OEMs trying to distinguish their devices and being slow with updates.  Paying for updates will only exacerbate the problem and create even more issues we have yet to foresee.

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Eoraptor

it's hard to say where to fall on this one... on the one hand, they are already getting the OS for largely free (it's not totally free, there are licensing issues and patent trolls who see to that) but yeah, I am not going to pay you for an update to software you are getting from google for essentially free.

on the other hand, as quickone says, if the money was going to google, which are the people creating the core OS, well, i already pay for updates to other major OS's (not ubuntu, but yeah)

I also agree, device makers should not be allowed to make key and hardware level changes in the OS, such as blocking root access, installing rootworms like carrierIQ. honestly, while google cannot do anything about the versions of the OS already out there, they can easily change the licensing agreement to block those sorts of things in the future, since android is already not a truly open OS as it is now what with the licensing crap

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jnite

This just in!  People don't like being punished for your mistakes.  Find a fix that doesn't involve hurting the loyal customers who probably don't mind switching to iPhones if pushed too far.

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rawrnomnom

He's an idiot... How about google does this instead. 

 

STOP LETTING OEM'S SCREW WITH THE DEVICES OS. 

 

My Proposal. 

OEM Manufactures are allowed to do the following:

Give the user the option to install their custom interface over stock android

Not allow them to preinstall all the crap widgets that are impossible to remove without a root

Take the specs of a device and use them as guidelines. Example. Phone x has processor speed x and amount of memory Y, this device must be supported with updates within 2 months of release until the phone no longer matches reccomended specs for a build of android.

If you don't agree to the above then your device must run vanilla android without a custom UI. 

 

Bam

 

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Wingzero_x

Because Google built Android on GNU/Linux which is protected under the GPL which basically says the code is open, and any and all additions or changes to the code has also be open. As such they have no right to restrict devolpment on any part of it. You yourself could develop your own Linux distro.

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borenbr

 

I love my Galaxy S (Fascinate) but absolutely hate Bing, VzNavigator, Blockbuster video, Madden NFL 11, NFS SHift...I don't need or want these on my phone but short of rooting it there's no way to get them off my phone.  And before anyone claims that Verizon needs subsidies to make up the cost of my phone I paid full price for it because my previous phone was stolen still had 6 months on the contract and the insurance would only replace it with a flip.   I paid for the phone, not to be locked into Verizon's business ventures with Microsoft, Blockbuster and EA sports.  If I wanted a Microsoft phone I would have bought a Microsoft phone.  

Same thing with my Toshiba Thrive tablet, I love this thing but seriously your going to hardcode some vendor's antivirus program into the OS that I can't remove and can't stop it from running.  So it's either purchase or get popups constantly because my 30 day trial is over?  WTF were you thinking with that?

 

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quickone

If the money went to Google sure, if it is going to Samsung, LG or the like maybe. If it is going to Sprint, ATT etc no way am I paying for the privilege of them upgrading the phone I bought from Samsung with the software developed by Google. 

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chart2006

That guy is an idiot! We already get a$$ raped by our carriers in fees.  We should get premium support for our phones as well with the prices we pay for them.  Yes the system is broken but that is no excuse to stop supporting a device after launch or impliment additional fees just to continue support.  It should be mandated that as long as the device has a warrenty development should always happen.  In either case it's not like you can't root your phone.

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