What’s gone wrong with the Android 2.2 Froyo rollout?

Google needs to think long and hard about how to make upgrades go more smoothly in the future. The rollout of the latest version of Android 2.2, also called Froyo, has certainly not gone according to plan… Bellow you may find some interesting LI members’ quotes.

«There are issues, but the question is how Google to fix them?
1. Older phones do not have the memory to run Froyo plus the newer Android apps. It would be a waste of time upgrading them to Froyo (my Vodafone UK HTC Magic for example simply is not up to the job)
2. Manufacturers make large mods and add their own proprietary apps. Dell, HTC, Samsung etc then need to port their mods or apps to the new Android OS – it’s not a trivial task so the work to differentiate each product does delay future upgrades.
3. Mobile operators then have to roll out the upgrade, adding their own apps and tweaks. The mobile operators really need to get their act together – I believe they differentiate both positively and negatively based upon how quickly or slowly they do the upgrades.
Gingerbread, the next release of Android should resolve some of these issues, as the user interface is significantly improved and therefore there is less tweaking to be done by handset manufacturers.
In the meantime, I am sticking with my unlocked Google Nexus One, because I know it will be the first to be upgraded, and I will probably buy my handsets direct rather than contract with the operators in future, to ensure I get the fastest upgrades possible.»
Brian Merritt
VP Sales Solutions & Operations [LION] at Interoute

«Lots of variables need to take care before a cell company can roll out an OS. They are still new at this and it will get better.»
Paul Kubera
ORLive, Inc.

«There’s a number of issues with the 2.2 rollout :
– Not all carriers keep track of the changes in the latest Android version and, as such, are not ready to port the phones they’re currently selling to the latest Android version
– The phones that were sold in the past are usually not tested at all by the carriers. This means they are either not ported at all, or will be ported a lot later
– A lot of apps are not tested on Android 2.2. This is not the carriers’ fault, but the app developers’ fault. The problem here is mostly that a lot of developers have since abandoned their project. Google is working hard to solve the app compatibility issues, trying to ensure that apps will work on future updates to the operating system.
In general, Froyo is the best Android version so far, bringing higher stability, much better performance and more features to the mobile market. One thing that this version fails at is openness: it makes it very hard to ‘root’ (unlock) the device which, although providers like it, is limiting developer’s abilities to switch between versions and tinker with the settings and ‘special’ features of the operating system.»
Wim Godden
Managing Director at Cu.be Solutions

«In the “old days” technology was judged by experts – IT specialists, geeks, etc. Today technology is being judged first by consumers and businesses are rushing to catch up. Ordinary people just want a device that works – without unlocking and other geeky stuff. I’ve had people say they’ve heard Android is good so they want “the” Android phone. They are surprised when I tell them how many there are and what some of the choices are. Their eyes glaze over when I even mention Android is an Operating System- like Windows. Almost any device works if a person is willing to tinker with it. But that is not what millions of people want. In particular I think most people are tired of the “it’s time to upgrade again” approach. Upgrades are necessary but the companies like Apple who make the process almost painless are leading the way.
Of course the Android numbers are impressive but numbers don’t tell the whole story. With dozens of companies making very similar products, will they be forced to race to the bottom in pricing like PC manufacturers have done. If so, there will be precious few resources for a company to manage design, production, marketing, development, compatibility testing and upgrading for their products.»
Gary Braley
Public speaker and author on technology topics for non-technical audiences

Have any thoughts?