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Android Manufacturers Need to Slow Down [Opinion]

About two months ago my brother decided to switch from Verizon to Sprint as his mobile carrier. He asked me what phone he should get on Sprint. He wanted a stock device because he had a bad experience with a skinned Android device (he was coming from a Droid Eris). I told him that there would probably be a new Nexus device out soon, but if he wanted to get a good device now, the best device would be the Nexus S.

Now that the Galaxy Nexus has been announced, I still feel confident with my recommendation. Why? He has a device that will still receive updates. Despite being almost a year old (from its original release, not the Sprint release), the Nexus S is still a great device.

Google has largely followed the same pattern as Apple in their halo device releases: one device per year. Unlike Apple, however, every Nexus device has been a major update in both software and hardware (though the Nexus S may eventually look like an exception if hardware/software innovation continues at its current rate). Despite the Nexus One being left behind in updates, buyers can be confident that when they purchase a Nexus device, they will have a top of the line device for quite a while. 

Despite this pattern, Android manufacturers have continued to release dozens of handsets a year, many of which are hardly different from the last device. Motorola released the Atrix 2 on AT&T a mere 8 months after the original Atrix was released. The DROID Bionic was released just last month, yet Motorola is already releasing a much better device, the DROID RAZR, next month. Samsung released the DROID Charge in May of this year, but this month has released the Stratosphere – essentially the exact same phone, but with a keyboard. HTC released the Sensation in May of this year and this month has released the Amaze 4G, which is a slightly improved Sensation XE. On top of that, HTC released the Rhyme, which is even more gender oriented than the DROID line of phones, limiting its market appeal.

The same can be said for tablets made by manufacturers. Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and Sony all offer (or will soon be offering) multiple tablet options. Samsung offers the Galaxy Tab in 7, 8.9, and 10.1 inch sizes, Motorola offers the Xoom and the Xoom Family Edition (and soon the Media Edition), HTC offers the Flyer and the Jetstream, and Sony offers the Tablet S and soon the Tablet P. In general, all of these editions of different tablets offer the same operating system on slightly differing hardware (the Tablet P being the one notable exception).

I don’t think that there is a problem with hardware differentiation. In fact, I think that’s part of what makes Android great. If you want a phone that is thin and light or with a horizontal keyboard or a vertical keyboard or a gamepad, you have options (still no vertical slider keyboard though…). If you want a tablet that is a light and good for reading or note taking, you have the Galaxy Tab 7 or the Flyer. If you want a tablet that docks into a keyboard you have the Transformer (has anyone mentioned how gorgeous the Transformer Prime looks?).

That said, I think there is some value to Google’s approach of making one halo device per year. I think the ideal would be for manufacturers to release one device per year, but one per quarter is probably more realistic. Instead of releasing several dozen devices per year that are essentially small iterations on older devices, manufacturers could release only a few devices on every carrier. This would make things easier for journalists that cover Android news, but more importantly, it would help establish brands and names that consumers would better be able to identify with.

I’m guessing that most people who purchased a DROID Bionic are at least a little upset that Motorola is releasing a better device only two months later on the same carrier. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to just cancel the Bionic (a device that many had given up on) or save the RAZR name comeback for another device? The Thunderbolt and the upcoming Rezound are essentially the same story, but HTC didn’t delay the Thunderbolt (which was essentially the HTC Evo on Verizon).

By slowing their releases to four times a year and releasing the same device on every carrier, manufacturers would create a direct relationship with consumers instead of via carriers. Rather than releasing the same device with slightly bumped specifications, manufacturers could release varying form factors to better differentiate. With limited releases, manufacturers would be more encouraged to make each device the best it can be instead of pushing out a poor device only to anger early adopters with a better device a short time later.

Handset differentiation can be a tremendously powerful tool for Google and manufacturers to create devices that meet people’s needs without making them regret not waiting for a better device to be released a few months later. Constant hardware iterations help make Android powerful, but too many differentiations make the platform look confusing and chaotic, especially when they’re from the same manufacturer. There is power in differentiation, but there is also power in simplicity.

  • Guest

    Manufacturers don’t determine when a device is released, the Carrier does.

  • Josh P.

    When company’s release new phones at a fast pace it actually helps so people don’t have to sit around out of contract waiting to upgrade because they get the best phone right then when their upgrade is available.I do agree that they should slow down on the release and put a little more time into testing so things like the Droid Eris/Devour don’t get released. 

  • joejoe509

    Nice article! I’m somewhat on the fence about it. Yeah, it’s incredibly frustrating to have so many devices coming out so quickly that it seems like your $600 device is old news just a few short months later. But that’s just human nature to want the biggest and the best. If we were happy with what we have and appreciative that we have this great technology, we wouldn’t be quite as pissed. Technology should never be restricted just becuase the consumers are tired of this system. Research and development needs to grow and expand freely. And mobile companies make a ton of money with this current trend. I’m sorry but I don’t see an end to this. We’re just going to have to suck it up and be thankful the technology in our hand.

    I don’t mind my phone becoming old news. That’s just the way technology works these days. Cameras, computers, etc. it’s all the same. I’m more concerned with updating our software quickly (which is why I’m buying the Nexus) to keep my device as current as the hardware will allow. I would also hate to see manufacturers cheapen the devices so that they don’t hold up over two years. And for goodness sake, can we stabilize the prices? $300 is about the tops I’m willing to pay for a phone that will be worth half that and outdated in less than 6 months. I feel like I’ve been double-raped when you overcharge me and then discontinue the phone so soon.

  • Anonymous

    This what I understand Ron to be saying. He wants a more Apple like release schedule. Something more predictable to make it easier to pick an entry and upgrade point. Hardware should be supported with updates for a certain amount of years, as with the Nexus Class of two or three years. Releasing four phones a year to all carriers would, each with a different configuration, would streamline the user experience. Android would still have plenty of choices and lots of competition with half or a quarter the fragmentation. Think 16 phones a year vs 40+.  Think how simple it would be: each year at a specified time each manufacturer sent out a relative clone of each others phones, specs would be near the same, only the user experience would be different through skins and other minor tweaks. I think it would do wonders not only for innovation, but for the community. Devs could focus on a single phone for an entire year. Tell me I’m wrong?

    • I don’t think having relative clones would be the best, but the rest is accurate. 🙂

  • Fattie McDoogles

    Thank [email protected]:disqus for a well written and well thought out article. I agree that manufacturers should put out fewer devices or at least space them better because it is a little ridiculous how close they are together especially when they are on the same carriers ie: Bionic and RAZR. But I do disagree with the once a quarter idea. I was all for it at first but some of the commentors bring up a good point (even if many of them have no concept of tact). Slowing phone releases also slows down hardware development. Although Google does it right their hardware upgrades would seem more like Apples if the other OEM’s were releasing hardware as fast as they are. I think the real issue is software updates. OEM’s are so focused on pushing new handsets they they forget about the ones already out and don’t do much in the way of future proofing them so that they aren’t leaving consumers high and dry every time new software out ie: EVERY Samsung phone, the DInc, EVERY HTC phone. Its almost like each phone has its own team within the company and none of them are talking to each other to compare ideas on how to make everything cohesive. If they would get on the same page and work more with Google to make sure that phone are updated in a timely manner then it wouldn’t be such a noticeable issue.

  • TrappN

    I really agree with your opinion. I was really excited for the bionic, then low-and-behold, the Galaxy Nexus comes out, I have the OG and I’ve seen at least 10 new devices since. . .

  • Why would the manufacturers slow down? People continue to buy the devices. This is part of the problem with the Anrdroid/Windows model.

    This is a great article/diagram showing Android support by device: http://theunderstatement.com/post/11982112928/android-orphans-visualizing-a-sad-history-of-support

  • Anonymous

    I said this a month ago. I can’t believe the Droid 4 is coming out. Dude I just bought my phone a few days after it was released. Yes this would definitely eliminate some buggy software. Manufactures please read this article. #FTW 

  • Kianjudah


  • Anonymous

    This is the exact reason Im going with a phone or tablet that has a once a year model update plan. The Nexus series will be my choice for phones and Im hoping Asus continues to hit it out of the park with their tablets so Im going to take a stab at the Transformer prime when it drops. As consumers we have the power to make educated decisions much like the one you and your brother made going with the Nexus phone. Just because there are a bunch of options doesnt mean we have to take them. Some due diligence goes a long way and will keep that buyers remorse down to a minimum. 

    • Kierra

      So you carrier hop?

      • Anonymous


  • Ecruz

    Very well written article. alot of good points were made and hopefully some one at the manufacturing level soon will understand this.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say, faster the better, so bring on more. This is the “reason” why Android is gaining the momentum as such fast pace, Thanks to all the manufacturers. 

    One simple thing they can do is, use vanilla instead of their own version. They can develop the apps and use it on the phone but if you have vanilla then there is no delay in update hence reducing the fragmentation, IMHO.

  • Ken


  • Stevedub40

    Highly agree, great article.

  • Anonymous

    I think manufacturers should only produce as many devices as they can support/fix for two whole years from launch.  If I’m locked in a 2-year contract and have to put up with bugs they can’t fix for two years because they’re busy allocating all efforts on making new devices, that’s not cool.  That makes me want to say, “I’ll never again buy a ___-made device.”

    I agree that the pace is insane right now, as the phone I wanted when I finally got eligible for an upgrade (Bionic) is already not the phone I want.  However, the market will help them determine release schedules.  When they make a million Bionics, only sell 200,000 of them because they announced a better phone two months later, and have to sell the rest at a loss, they’ll learn not to do that again.  If you want to enact change, hit them in the pocketbook.  They’ll have bean counters and marketing folks crammed in a room to decide why they lost and finally realize they cut their own throats.  Works every time. 

  • Anonymous

    Did I really just read that HTC didn’t delay the Thunderbolt?  LOL!

    • It was released on the originally rumored release date and it definitely wasn’t delayed to the same extent that the Bionic was.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with this Op piece. If manufacturers had less devices to manage, updates would not be a problem and is the reason why most new phones are still being released with Android 2.3.3.

    I understand that most readers are fans/enthusiasts, but very few are business minded and therefore are short-sighted to this articles main point. Even Samsung’s sales as a whole are just up to par as that of Apple’s. Can you imaging if the same efforts were adopted to the Galaxy lines of phones…  There is no core focus and profitability margins evidently are greater on exclusivity.

  • This article hits the nail on the head. Would steve jobs ever release a dozen phones in a year? Of course not, he made sure they built one phone and put all their efforts into that one phone. I love the nexus approach because it’s easy to update the OS as well.

  • Cesser85

    Well said. If manufacturers directed their effort into making large improvements a couple times a year instead of tiny ones all the time we could see some really cool improvements!

  • Despite you using the word “despite” way too many times in the first few paragraphs, I agree. Manufacturers need to wait to stop releasing the same phone, with slightly different features. It seems like just a money making scheme to make people buy a newer phone, even though they don’t need to.

    It’s like the iPhone, but at a much quicker pace. The iPhone 4S is not different enough to really justify releasing a new phone, but these small changes took Apple an entire year to “innovate”. Android OEMs are doing the same thing in a matter of months.

    • I didn’t catch my excessive use of despite. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Perhaps by slowing down some and focusing on key devices and incremental revisions of them, those devices would only get better and better hardware-wise.  I’m an android guy through and through, but anyone that is honest can look at what Apple is doing and admit that they have good hardware because they focus on one key device.

  • KojimaSnake

    Ah… buyers remorse is a beautiful thing. Seems most people need to do a bit more reading on Droid-Life.com before pulling the trigger. There are a lot of devices out there. But I believe that is more due to the different needs of the consumer. Look at how Apple has increased iPoop production due to consumers demand for a better product. iPoop is like that smokin chick you banged last nite, looks so sultry but has no substance. That why Apple must make more versions of the iPoop if the want to survive. That’s what I love about android devices. You have to spend your wad on the top of the line phone like iPoop to enjoy the Android OS. In my opinion the best devices on the market are the Nexus family of phones released buy Google and Samsung. If it was not for the fact they were not on VZW i would own nothing else. I have the OG Nexus and use it only on wifi. But don’t get me wrong I totally love the OG Droid, Droid 2 and Droid X. I own them all and I have rooted and rommed with the best of them. I have always been holding out hope for a Google Nexus device for Big Red since the first Nexus. Now that it is here I can hardly contain my joy. A pure Google device is still in my opinion better than any rom out there. I just hope that this relationship with Google, Samsung & Big Red can stand the test of time. That is make more Nexus or Nexus type devices for VZW in the foreseeable future. But that’s just one mans fantasy.

  • Tim

    I think the major point of this article is valid. Differentiation is needed for competition, simple principle of business.  However, look at what Apple has done by offering the exact same product on 3 carriers, and they do it with a simple intuitive product no less.  Why do manufacturers insist on changing designs of phones from carrier to carriers (Galaxy SII for example).  For a while RIM was a top cell phone manufacturer, and they took the apple approach, same design for a phone across all carriers (with some tweaks inside for network reasons). They didn’t release dozens of phones a year because they didn’t need to.  Motorola was clearly working on the Bionic and the RAZR at the exact same time, so why continue to develop the Bionic after several delays which probably cost the company more money than they will ever make on the device? The RAZR is hands-down a great phone that makes the Bionic look like a little brother that will always be playing catch-up to the RAZR. 

    The fact of the matter is this, because manufacturers are pushing out dozens of phones each year, the fragmented market that is Android will remain fragmented and could get worse.  Now does this mean I think each manufacturer should stop creating their own custom skins for Android? No. But be fair to the consumer and slow down the output of “new” devices each year. Save cost on developing, testing, and marketing of products and put that effort into creating better devices that will receive updates and support for longer periods of  time. Create a relationship with the customer, not with the carriers. 

    In essence, this sounds like the “Apple” way, but they seem to make enough money doing so and maintain a high market share with only ONE device that is the same everywhere you buy it. 

    • Rkeller62

      What you fail to realize is that Apple is only competing against Apple when it comes to iOS devices and RIM is only competing against RIM when it comes to Blackberry devices. This has a very big impact on your hardware cadence as you don’t have to worry about some other manufacturer coming out with “Better” hardware than yours running the same OS.

      Android phone manufacturers have to have many phones in development at any one time to try and keep up with all the other players in the market. While I don’t have any hard facts, I am willing to bet that for every one phone that a manufacturer actually releases, there were 2 or 3 more in development that didn’t make the cut.

      As far as carrier differentiation goes, that is part and parcel with an “open” OS supported by multiple hardware manufacturers. Again, if a carrier wants to carry an iOS or Blackberry OS device, they pretty much have to take what Apple and RIM have to offer. That makes it easy for Apple and RIM to have a “unified” product line across carriers. With Android, the carriers have much more purchasing power. Oh, HTC, you want to make an android phone for Verizon? No problem, here is what you have to do for us, then we will carry it. Not interested? Fine, I’m sure that Motorola will have no problem doing that for us.

      • By skinning it, it makes them different. Yes, the same core functions, but after owning a Bionic for a little bit, I will NEVER buy a product with Blur (or any other iteration) on it.

        That said, some people love Blur and prefer it over Sense and TouchWiz. HTC offers something different than the others, just like Samsung and Motorola. They need to realize that the average user does not care about the latest specs. They care about how well the phone works.

        Say HTC decides not to show at any large shows for 6-8 months. You hear nothing. No new phones, no rumors, no comments. Then they send out an invitation to whomever. They would all be there. “What has HTC been working on? Is it a phone? A line of Phones? A tablet?” The rumor mill would be blazing. No one would care about the Motorola device coming out, wait to see what HTC has been working on.

        Then they show what they are doing. Whatever it is. It would be a hit. A solid device(s) and there would be buzz all over the tech blogs.

        Releasing a device because your competitor did is not always a good move.

      • Apple is not only competing with iOS devices. Android device innovations are competing with the iPhone. Apple has to respond to that too. In fact, in every keynote they compare the iPhone to other devices.

    • Anonymous

      I posted this above, but I think it fits even better here…

      Isn’t the Bionic just the RAZR only fatter and with a removeable battery? I mean aside from the “Smart Actions” software that turns off 4G/3G/wifi for you at intervals to save battery and stuff. As far as real muscle (processor, RAM, display quality), does the RAZR outdo the Bionic? I keep seeing people saying the RAZR is so much better. Do they just like thin phones?

      Everything I have read says the RAZR uses the exact same processor clocked at the exact same speed with the exact same RAM and still a 4.3″ display (although the RAZR is super-AMOLED, but I don’t care for those that much anyway). It’s not the “bigger brother” so much as it is the “twin brother who went on a diet.”

  • Anonymous

    I have to wholesomely disagree.  If you want slow product development, there’s a fruit branded company that will make you just more than happy.  Innovation happens when players are actively competing against each other in the marketplace.  This is where Android is right now and its beautiful to watch.  Do I wish that I could always upgrade to the latest and greatest?  Sure I do.  But I’m not about to curse the Android ecosystem because its enticing me so….

    • I agree that innovation happens with competition, but that’s not what’s happening. Devices like the Stratosphere and the Rhyme are being released. Those are not innovative devices. This isn’t about having the latest and greatest, it’s about manufacturers releasing fewer devices so that each device is designed to be amazing. No one wants to curse the Android ecosystem, but some of us want it to be better.

  • Rich

    Well with the updates having to go to a 3 ring circus… NO wonder people don’t get updates… They have to go from Google, to the manufacturer to the carrier then to the people… Way to many steps… Forget the locked boot loaders and skins… I should not be paying to be forced to look at bloatware…

    • Anonymous

      im happy google realized this, and put the diable apps option in 4.0. hopefully manufacturers and carriers don’t disable that feature, and leave it for the more techie people to know of it to disable the bloatware.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly why I’m not settling for anything less than the Galaxy Nexus.  Gives you the most options in ways of customizable roms as well as the latest and greatest updates from Google.  I wouldn’t even look the way of Moto or any other skinned, locked-down device again.

  • Anonymous

    I really don’t have an opinion here, but I would sure love to hear what Bionic customers feel like right now.

    Honestly. What do you guys think about the RAZR?

    • Brice

      I’m a Bionic owner and do not regret my decision because
      it’s been a great phone. Don’t get me wrong, if I was buying a phone today I
      would almost certainly get the RAZR. All you can do when you need a phone is
      get the best available at the time that meets your needs and don’t look back.
      I’d tell my friends when I was showing off my Bionic “This is the best
      phone money can buy, for the next four to six weeks” :-).

  • A3TDI

    I read somewhere that my Tbolt is the worst phone of the year – yet, it’s transformed how I work.  It’s indispensable to me with function no iPhone can match – 4G & tethering + google’s mobile app integration (mail, office, voice) and basic to all the new androids and I don’t care what label is on the phone.  When this one breaks, I get the next.  Full speed ahead.  
    The emphasis on majors updates is much less important than discussed.  While the 1st major update fixed the Tbolt’s problems, the only new function I’ve found is forward camera.  With the fixes, I’m not that concerned about new majors unless there is greater functionality. 

  • Anonymous

    What other product is this really a concern with?  Most people aren’t running out and buying a new car every single year, or if they “need” a new car frequently, they lease.  I don’t even think people are upgrading their computer as frequently as their phone.

    That said, I thought Moto had it right with releasing the Droid and Droid X series phones several months apart.  I think people would be less annoyed if they started a line and just continued making those improvements.

  • Anonymous

    As stated by others the problem is simply support.  They need to release devices at a pace they can be proprly supported.  That means addressing bugs quickly and timely OS updates.  I don’t people about there hardware being outdated to so quickly as much as their software.  Especially since OS updates usually mean more polish.

  • As long as they keep updating my device (D3) ill be happy, my worry with the D4 leak is that the wont port over ICS and i will loose out on that and have wasted my money on the D3.

    • Anonymous

      By the time the D4 comes out, the D3 will have been out for (probably) about a year, give or take a month.  How could you consider that “wasting money” when you had the newest Droid w/ physical keyboard for a year, or at least several months?  And updates are never guaranteed.  If you’re that concerned, grab the ROM when it’s released.

  • Morenoc12

    Everybody talking saying bionic people should be mad, when in all reality its not that big of a deal, so the RAZR thinner and has new apps and .2hrtz more, woopty doo get over it people I don’t care!!!! I have extended battery that last all day from 6am to 11pm with plenty of use. And Its so similar to the bionic as are most motorola new phones that they will ge t a batch upgrade like it was for the X, D2 ect. Then theres the X2 & D3 you need to remember not everybody has 4G access so they dont need that fancy new RAZR or bionic or D4 with that 300 dollar price tag. So what if I dont have the newest and nices phone if I thought like that I would have waited for the precious little I*hone and bought that. get it together grow up and stop your whining

    • Morenoc12

      And sadly most won’t see my post or pay it any attention, I liked the site more when everything was about excitement about Android and ROMS and cool new apps or wall papers , cool new themes but I guess this is what makes the money. getting people to you’re site to argue instead of enjoying what we all love

      • Morenoc12

        But then again its not the sites fault that there’s so many little kids that have nothing better to do than argue and troll the Web

        • Anonymous

          Yes, the content is generally good and informative.  It’s the back and forth that can get annoying.  You could always just NOT read the comments.

          • Morenoc12

            I read the comments because some people actually hanger something interesting to say, but lately I have to sort through all the bickering to get to the good comments

      • It’s not about the money at all (I don’t get paid), it’s about addressing market issues.

        • Morenoc12

          Sorry didn’t mean to offend just seams like most sites are posting things to get people arguing now a days.you guys do a great job and I appreciate it this is the #1 Android site for me

          • Morenoc12

            Hahaha and I just remember your not part of the site lol sorry my bad

          • I’m a part of the site (insofar as I write an opinion piece once a week), but that doesn’t mean I get paid. 🙂

  • The more the merrier to me, I don’t see what the issue is.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Ron, I got your back!

  • The two real problems I have with the pace of phone releases: 1) fragments the indy/root dev community, 2) indirectly lowers quality and raises costs of phones.

    I can live with 2), but if they spent less money marketing and tweaking 12 models a year and made 4, the phones would likely be better and there wouldn’t be as much fluff expense for coming up with a slightly different look for 8 more models.

    1) is the real killer to me.  It’s not “boo hoo” my phone isn’t the coolest.  I hung on to my OG Droid long after it was cool, but it was still a pretty solid everyday phone. I like my phones to continue to grow a bit with ROMs to keep up with better apps even on 1yr+ old hardware.  Still, the dev community is largely driven by cool and wow, and having the latest and greatest, so some good phones wind up with no devs left 6 months after they were the hot item.

    It’s good there’s choice and hype, but I agree with the article that it winds up being carrier hype, and the actual handset manufacturers in racing to get so many out are losing their voice and identity by creating three tweaked out versions to meet carrier demands for having something to hawk.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Wow retards, just because you can’t afford the best device all the time you want to slow them down for others who are waiting for better phones? STFU and go buyabdump phone idiot. Just because you are butthurt because a better phone phone came out after you bought yours you make an idiot comment but the real retard is the one that decided to publish your narrowminded whining opinion.

  • BK

    Another thoughtful and thought-provoking post on droid-life. I entirely agree – I would get much more excited for a small number of well-crafted, stable, and (relatively) future-proof devices than the current onslaught of 50% junk, 35% meh, 15% whoa phones. I vastly prefer the choices that Android brings, but I think Google should be concerned about overwhelming customers. As it stands, it feels like you need to constantly stay on top of news and rumors just to be sure you’re making an solid and informed decision about how to spend your hard earned money.

    • Anonymous

      “Too many cooks in the kitchen” comes to mind…  If Google allowed some kind of exclusivity to manufacturing the phones, that might narrow things down… 

  • Anonymous

    I have two high end phones, the Thunderbolt and Thrill 4G, one has Gingerbread (Thunderbolt) while the Thrill 4G came with 2.2 Froyo, and we’re STILL waiting on Gingerbread for it. Well, now Google release ICS, putting the Thrill 4G two generations behind in the OS, a phone that has a dual core cpu, dual channel ram and 3D.  What I, and many others are upset about is the maufacturers seem to run the show when it comes to OS rollout, Google should be in charge and tell them what to do, not the other way around, and roll out new OS’s to ALL capable devices in a timely manner.  I am not big on the iPhone, but at least with it you can depend on getting the newest OS for your model, even if it’s a generation behind.  Android is awesome, I wouldn’t go back to Apple for anything, but this hodgepodge of different OS versions and interfaces is doing a lot of harm I fear in the eyes of consumers, heck, it’s ticking off several of us techies. Google, take charge of the show NOW!

    • Anonymous

      Okay, another example, let’s say I put together a new, high end pc today.  Windows 7 is the current OS, but Windows 8 will be out soon, am I going to be out in the cold waiting on Windows 8 when it comes out?  Only if I choose to be, and unless you have a computer more than a few years old you will be able to get the SAME OS as everyone else.  Now, why can’t Android be like that?  It’s beginning to really frustate me the way they are just letting the whole thing run amok.  I certainly don’t want Apple’s closed model, but I don’t want a free for all either.

    • Anonymous

      Only you “techies” care about updates, the average consumer doesn’t give two shits as long as their phone works and does what they bought it for.

      • Anonymous

        I beg to differ, consumer DO care about it.  People aren’t dumb, they know more about this stuff than you give them credit for, and they ask “so I just bought my new phone, and this ICS has a feature I really need, why can’t I have it too?”.

        • Anonymous

          It’s a mess, I’m sorry, but Google needs to take control here.

        • Anonymous

          No, most people are not at all like that.  Most of the people at my job are not techies though many of them own smartphones and almost none of them know about upcoming updates or ICS.  Most people are not at all like you people here, foaming at the mouth demanding updates and ICS before it’s even been released by Google.

          • Anonymous

            Foaming at the mouth?  What have you bee reading, the Enquirer? LOL Geez, relax 😀

          • Anonymous

            You must be new.  Lots of people are freaking overzealous drama queens here.

  • Vire

    Well, give this about 6 more months and the whole point will become moot when the phones themselves hit a hardware plateau in much the same way that computers did for years. It will get to be to the point where all phones come decked out with a quad core processor and 2-4 gigs of RAM. At that point, we’ll all be buying based on form-factor and software perceived update schedule. It’s no secret that every non-Google device blows, no matter how fast they develop. Those “pretty” skins come at a price to the customer, as a general rule of thumb, in performance, usability, and upgrade life.

    I for one, am looking forward to the Galaxy Nexus. It will be a solid phone, and meet its future proofing requirements for me.

    • I think things have plateaued quite a bit for phones, but at the same time there have been innovations in processors despite the inability to clock them faster. There may not be a massive different between the original Core 2 Duos and the new Core i5s, but it’s enough to where I won’t buy a device with a Core 2 Duo. 

  • I don’t think slowing down is necessarily the right way to put it. Smart phone manufacturers need to be more FOCUSED. Branding is important – seriously what does Droid even mean anymore? There have been so many Droids – some awesome, some awful. What are Droids known for? That’s a hard question to answer, and it shouldn’t be.

    The Nexus branding is as close as Android gets to what iPhone has. Nexus means something. It means a stock Google experience with the newest features that will be up to date long into the future. There is room in the market for differentiation, but it should be done with vision. I don’t think people would be so concerned about the “next big thing” if their phone was both unique and well-built. I agree that Bionic owners have reason to be annoyed because they have nothing that holds up on its own against the RAZR.

  • Sputnick

    I agree with the article.  Manufacturers need to slow down…put out quality instead of throwing darts hoping something will stick.  Motorola and HTC have damaged their reputations this year with the TBolt and Bionic.  If I were a manufacturer, I would create a series of phones like BMW does cars….a 3,5, and 7 series if you will.  A low, medium, and high end line of phones.  Not only that but I’d offer optional/downloadable launchers on their websites.  Customization is Android’s strength…USE IT!!  Differentiate yourselves in the marketplace with customizations that the users control…make it THEIR phone, not what you think the phone should be.  Instead of throwing phone after phone out there…create an environment where people can change up their phones.  Mind you I’m talking about your Joe Schmoe user that has no idea what rooting is.  I also think Samsung has done the best job Marketing to women….HTC hasn’t been too bad.  But Motorola’s Droid marketing seems to target 20 something males.  Women don’t generally like the look of Moto phones but like Apple and Samsung.

  • angermeans

    This was a good read and I am always for a great article that sparks a valid argument in the android community. I have to say that I don’t fully agree with you though. I don’t think the problem(s) lies in too many devices, instead in the manufacturors of said devices. If a company like motorola or samsung wants to crank out a dozen so called “high end” devices all with small differences then so be it, but they really need to morally keep these devices running the newest android os at least for a year if not more. The is no reason that Samsung can release a new device running android 2.3 and still have a phone that sold millions on 2.2. They need to take care of their customers or they will go elsewhere. On top of that there is no reason that a multi billion dollar company like HTC, Motorola, and samsung can’t release a phone running the newest android version I mean its been 16 months since froyo yet a lot of phones like the bolt and charge launched as the premier 4G LTE device on americas largest wireless network running an outdated os by over a year. There is no reason for that. Google has lived up to their word and since froyo has released only one android update per year (honeycomb the exception). Manufactorers too often wait to update their 4-6 month old device because they feel it will effect sales. Their should be a responsibility to their customers from the oems and wireless providers. Not to mention the phones being launched not only have an outdated os but in the case of HTC (thunderbolt) and Motorola (Droid x, x2, Droid 2, and 3) they are launching horribly buggy phones that are borderline unuseable. Then they make promises (xoom) to maintain large sales that they have no intention of keeping. I lobe android and can’t imagine using anything else, but I am on my last

  • chad

    Android phone development needs to slow down don’t very me wrong I want to beat up every iPhone user, but we need to focus on quality brand phones with better cameras steamline the OS across the board. In order to rain supreme this has to be our goal in 2012

  • Justin Kos

    imo, slow down hardware and optimize your software more
    i feel some phones look downright amazing, but lack the software to really bring out the best

  • I don’t think they need to slow down — not that I like it, but I don’t care. What we really need, however, is an expanded “Nexus” program. You see, just as Google had explained it, “Nexus” is like a competition to get the honor to manufacture a Google phone that features the latest Android OS. Every year, only 1 manufacturer will receive that honor. Therefor, we end up getting 1 phone. If you happen not to like that single phone (ex, you want a physical keyboard), you are doomed.

    So, what if Google expand the “Nexus” program so that each participated manufacturer will get a chance to make their own Nexus phone, but all under Google’s control. Each manufacturer can submit multiple concepts to differentiate it from other participants and Google gets the choice to select which concept to be implemented. In addition, each manufacturer’s Nexus will also bear the brand of their makers. For example, Samsung might choose to make a super-thin Nexus with the best AMOLED calling using the Galaxy Nexus brand, Motorola would make a Nexus Droid/Milestone that has a physical keybaord, while Sony would make a Xperia Nexus that has physical game controls. Wouldn’t this be even better than having just 1 Nexus per year?

  • chip chipperson

    No they need to stop molesting the os with their SHIT software that slows the system down, and allows the mfg and carriers to delay updates for months or abandon the devices all together.  SENSE- BLUR,touchwiz Etc all needs to be gone, Its hurting the platform.

  • Kierra

    #firstworldproblems So apt for this article 

  • Sp4rxx

    I don’t think it is a matter of going too fast – it appears that they are building/releasing phones that appeal to different people.

    I don’t remember the exact article from BetaNews.com, but they said that ATT released 3 new Android phones ranging from the beginner user to the advanced user.  Yes, it seems quick after the Bionic, but remember it was delayed and scrapped and delayed again (or however the 9-month hiatus was).

    To those who just bought/upgraded w/in the last 6 months, you may seem jilted b/c it seems that your device may have been forgotten in all the hype surrounding the latest and greatest.  For those of us who have yet to upgrade, we are excited to see the newest product.

    Technology as a whole is moving fast – no matter if it’s a tablet, phone, car or computer – you will never have the latest and greatest.

    It comes down to the consumer – and manufacturers are watching and (somewhat) listening – i.e. HTC and Google/Samsung – to them and developing new technology based on need.

    For those who just upgraded – just think, you will have the latest in a couple of years – then those who haven’t will, then back and forth.  There’s really no such thing as “the latest and greatest” anymore.

  • I think they should slow down or try to have up to date software to phones but thats the problem, my droid incredible is one and a half years old and probably wont get gingerbread let alone ice cream sandwich.

  • Anonymous

    In a way, I agree with this.  I’ve held off on countless upgrades because I’m always waiting for the “next big thing.”  Just when I think it’s here, something else pops up.  I may just hang on to my Droid X until it dies and sink my money into the Transformer Prime.

    • Anonymous

      This is EXACTLY how I feel. My Droid X Running CM7 feels smooth, snappy, and is very customizable. I don’t find myself in urgent need of an upgrade; I just WANT one. Let’s be honest here, there is a difference between a NEED and WANT. That said, I would love to have the Transformer Prime; it’ll be cheaper than getting the high-end phone off contract(since we DXers aren’t yet eligible for an upgrade discount).

      • Anonymous

        Running Apex 2.0 RC4 myself.  Really enjoying it.  Smooth as butter. I may have to check into CM7, though.

      • Anonymous

        I have a Droid Eris, I could keep this phone forever(because of cm7 with 2.3.4) but seeing all my friends running around with their Thunderbolt or Droid Inc and having no idea how to use the damn thing pisses me off. I wanna show off how much better mine is, but then they are like, “Isn’t that like 2 years old…” Grrrr…they don’t understand roms and the power they hold =)

        Soon the Galaxy Nexus will be mine, and all will tremble at Android 4.0!!! MUHAHAHAHAHA

        • I loved the Eris form factor (except for the power button and end call button being the same…), but it ran horribly slow with Sense. 

          • Anonymous

            I agree with the power button and end call button, launcher pro solved my worries with sense, just replace the damn thing haha

  • Bxrider117

    This is what set Apple on a higher standard, they don’t have a plethora of models out at one time. I do think slowing down may or may not impede progress. But in a case of this year with phones being released and then a newer version with the updated Os coming out 6 months later. That is the manufacturer and carrier abusing the consumer. And if you want to upgrade then you have to pay full price and you can not leave cause you have to pay an etf of $350+. If you don’t pay the fee then you can’t port you number to the new carrier. You should at least be able to upgrade at a subsidized rate. Instead of $299 then pay $399 for an early upgrade.

  • Anonymous

    The RAZR is better spec wise but for those who prefer removable micro SD storage and battery the Bionic is essentially the ‘better’ phone and likely will compete alongside future releases for a long time (which the author recognizes). So yes we all want to be happy with our purchases but this article blames it on buyers remorse which is the pretty much the end user’s problem not Android’s. I’m not a fan of the Bionic or any device that has been released since my Droid X but the beauty of Android is freedom of choice. I guess you can’t make everyone happy.

  • Kakashiisagod

    A major player here is perceived value. Apple releases one phone a year, while several android phones are coming out on what seems like a monthly basis. For the average consumer of smartphones (college hipsters) an iphone gives them a years worth of braging rights in their circle of ignorance. People like to show off; average person on my campus doesn’t even know what a dual core processor is anyway.

  • Anonymous

    It’s even more crazier with Android tablets.  The sad part is that I feel more confident with my HP touchpad then any thing else because the Cyanogen team is working on it.  Heck, ICS could be released on the HP touchpad before it’s released on the Xoom or Galaxy tabs.  
    But on the phone side I see Motorola releasing too much on the same carrier.  I’m cool with releasing different phones on different carriers but I was shocked to see a keyboarded Razr (aka Droid 4) a few hours after the Razr preorders started.  The Thunderbolt is still HTC’s flagship phone on Verizon since February.  The Droid Charge is still Samsung’s flagship Verizon model.  But Motorola is just insane and I’m a Droid X user.   I made a joke yesterday that we would see another Motorola model in 2 months.  But it only took 12 hours!  

    And please don’t beat me up for saying this but at least with the iphone I know it’s going to take them almost a year to release another phone. The problem with the iphone is that the Razr, the Rezound and the Nexus kills that phone hands down with larger screens and LTE.  

    My only hope is for the Samsung Nexus just from a support point of view.  Motorola has too many phones to update to ice cream sandwich.  

  • You have got to love all the choice we get with Andriod phones but i agree that there is some truth to having to much of a good thing. OEM’s need to tone it down a bit and lose the phones that only have the most minor differences and release the top end phones a year apart. The way they do it now seems to dilute the value of the Andriod brand and only makes the latest phones from the consumers perspective to be ‘just another Andriod phone’.

  • I agree, they are moving too fast, there are too many devices that are too similar that are being released too close to each other on the same carrier, Motorola is especially guilty of this, from the Bionic to the Razr with the Atrix 2, I mean that’s ridiculous, that’s too many, and it’s just flooding the market and creating an update nightmare for the customer’s and more so for the manufacturers. I agree with a phone per quarter, Lets be realistic, in 2 weeks time, which device are we going to call Motorola’s “flagship” device

    HTC also got in on the madness with the Amaze, and the Sensations, I mean really, slow down and create some brand recognition, Android would be better off for it, If you want, you can have a low range, a medium and a high end,then improve on those in maybe three months time, as it is now, I really think it’s particularly dumb.

    People are not seeing that these manufactures are just trying to capitalize on android in the wrong way, are these phone even selling that much, create a image, create mystery, that only comes from having more supply than demand, not the other way around, they are creating an environment for burnout

    The ironic thing is, the same people who support the flood, are the same ones who come back to complain when the Razr is updated but not the Bionic and so forth and so forth

  • Jared Duquette

    I believe this to be a fantastic opinion post when viewed from the perspective of the consumer.  

    To clear the air first: this would perhaps impede progress and cutting edge advancements; however, there would be many positive befits:

    As one who is interested in technology and their phone it can be daunting and difficult to purchase when fearing if the phone you buy will be the solid investment that is desired.  Will  that handset be updated until your contract expires?  Will you suffer fragmentation and frustration or will you be able to have the device that you want, with the keyboard or not, the screen, the size, the battery, the brand and STILL have updates, STILL feel like what you purchased was worth the money?  

    If the answer is no, you were out-matched by a similar device that was better that got the focus from the community that you did not, why upgrade so quickly?  Why not hold onto that old device?  

    This raises a good question: when do I upgrade?  Can I see myself, my phone, my life in one year?  In two?  How can I make a choice?

    Good article. 

    • Alan Paone

      I don’t think this would impede progress at all. The nexus S is still one of the most cutting edge phones out there. I switch from an Atrix to it, because even though its short a core, its faster, it has a better camera, it has a way better screen, it has nfc. The atrix is the best example of cutting edge sucking, the screen is qHD, and higher res than everyone else, but it blows chunks; the dual core processor isn’t faster than a hummingbird or snapdragon S2 (in real world usage), the only thing it does do faster is burn through battery. We’re getting a lot of this because the manufacturers are scrambling over eachother to make better phones on paper, but worse in actual use.
      I’d say the Gnex is in line with a decent pace of innovation over the nexus S, is it behind other phones in any real way? 
      Wouldn’t it be cool if manufacturers focused on making phones that are definitely better than the other ones?

  • Anonymous

    Companies do not need to release a new phone every month

  • I think this explains how there are now more smartphones than humans on the planet.

  • Benjamin Landwehr

    So much complaining..

    As Louis CK says, “We have everything, but nobodies happy.”

  • Anonymous

    …and the childish, immature whining continues.

  • Ricky Grundy Jr.

    great read.

  • Let’s take a tally of quality Android phones this year for Verizon

    HTC T-Bolt = nice if you use a phone 30 mins a day
    Droid Charge = nice but will never get updated
    LG Revolution = *yawn*
    Droid X2 = nice but no LTE
    Droid 3 = see DX2
    Droid Bionic = delayed, scrapped and rebuilt 9 months later = huge bug in some but very nice eventually
    Droid Razr = nice but will ship with old OS
    HTC Rezound = nice but will ship with old OS
    Droid 4 = see Razr and Rezound


    • Anonymous

      You have to figure though that the acquisition of moto by google may change the amount of time it takes for  the phones to be updated, atleast that is what everyone hopes.

      • I would love to see Google get involved in hardware but frankly I don’t see them using Motorola outside the courtroom. 

        I really do hope I’m wrong though

        • Anonymous

          I just meant by giving moto a little nudge saying come on you have to do better with your updates.

          • It would be easier if they shipped with stock Android  🙂

          • Anonymous

            Yes it would but we know how much the OEM’s love adding their skins to the phones.

    • Benjamin Landwehr

      Haha what?  For Droid 3, see Bionic.  Or vice versa.

  • So everyone who disagrees with this article likes to pay full price (retail or contract) then 3 months later a BETTER phone for the SAME price is released – and you’re all OKAY with that?

    Then the joke’s on you for being a foolish consumer. 

    • Anonymous

      Or you sell the phone and it is like you are getting the newer phone for upgrade price without signing a contract.

    • Anonymous

      Only people who have to have the latest and greatest or who can’t stand contracts pay full price, everyone else pays the subsidized price.  If you pay full price you can always sell it and recoup most of your money to get the next latest and greatest, that’s the name of the game.  What, you honestly think something isn’t going to come out better than the Galaxy Nexus a few months after?  Seen the Galaxy S III?  There’s always something better coming out, deal with it.

      • I’m not saying there’s a phone that future proofs itself longer than 3 months, frankly it seems that only lasts 3-4 weeks these days.

        But you (or anyone else) can’t tell me it doesn’t rub you in any way – it’s not for the specs on the new phone, it’s the fact that the value of the old one drops faster than cars.

        Besides, if all the phones I listed were great then it’s a moot point. But honestly, almost every VZW high end phone has sucked royal ass this year (one way or another). And the only “fix” is the newer device instead of a fix to the current model. And you’re stuck with a dud. And rather than concentrate on the next model I wish these OEMs would concentrate on fixes and updates to their prior models.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with this article. 100%. If there’s anything that Google and the OEMs can glean from Apple’s strategy with iOS and the iPhone is to not flood the market quite so much with all these barely different devices. It just confuses most non-techy consumers who just want a phone that works, so they say “screw it” and go Apple. It’s comically ridiculous that Moto released the Droid X2 in Spring (sans LTE), the Droid 3 in Summer (again sans LTE), the Bionic in Fall, the Droid RAZR two months later, and now the Droid 4? WTF are Sanjay and Moto smoking? Pick a f’ing flagship phone for each carrier and stick with it for 6-8 months for god’s sake! There’s absolutely no reason why they couldn’t have stuck with the Droid X2 and then gone to the RAZR or the Droid 4. The Bionic and the Droid 3 should have been scrapped. And that’s just one manufacturer on one carrier! The carriers should either bring back 1-year contracts or urge the manufacturers to slow it down a bit, because it sucks to buy a product on a 2-year agreement only to have it be completely obsolete in 2 months.

    Also the custom skins have got to stop. I went through 3 Droid X’s due to Moto and their crapstatic Blur software. My local store finally got me into a Thunderbolt a few months, which I’m much happier with, especially since yesterday’s major OTA update makes it the phone it should have been at launch. Sense isn’t terrible. It’s easily the best OEM UI out there but even though Android is open source, I really wish Google would strongly emphasize to OEMs to abandon custom skins starting with ICS. I know most fanboys will say “just root and ROM your phone” and I’ve done that before. I just don’t think I should have to do that as a consumer to have my phone work the way it was intended. And kill the goddamn carrier-added bloatware. I find it asinine that if I buy a brand new device at a $300 2 year contract subsidized price that I have to void my warranty to remove all the device lagging crapware the carriers insist on pre-installing.

    In short, my next device will be of the Nexus variety or if Google kills off Blur and goes pure Android with their aquisition of Moto. God knows Moto makes sexy hardware, it’s just too bad their software is rubbish.

    • Alan Paone

      The evo was still one of the best selling phones in the US, even when the evo 3D came out the following year, just because it was the flagship. It got updates ridiculously quickly and was generally awesome. follow that model OEMs!

      • Sputnick

        Or the Galaxy line which is consistent from carrier to carrier with the exception of radios and the name.

  • I agree with you Ron. These OEMs need to slow down, delay launches, and get devices out with the new OS> I think we can all agree Android’s biggest problem is fragmentation, but the OEMs should look no further then themselves to see who’s to blame.

    If Google releases one phone a year, then manufacturers should take note, it’s completely out of hand now and it only makes Google look worse.

  • Anonymous

    If you’re talking about slab phones, then yes, there is a glut.  How many touchscreen Android phones with near-identical hardware and near-identical software (aside from OEM skins) can the market support?
    On the other hand, we could use more high-end sliders.  I was very happy to see the photos of the Droid 4, and to learn that it’s coming soon.  The number of dual-core Android phones with LTE and physical keyboards is currently zero.  In a month, it will be one.  That’s not too many.  It’s too few.

    We could also use more high-end, vanilla Android phones.  If Google were to release every Nexus phone with a physical keyboard variant, then I might agree with the author…

  • Anonymous

    I think that they should definitely update phones for 18 months, but that’s asking for a lot.  1 year is probably good, I’ve never “needed” gingerbread on my OG.

  • Tyler

    I think manufacturers need to mass sell devices either at summer time and/or thanksgiving time. Then you will know you are getting the best device possible without being screwed over a couple months later. They need to keep all the devices with the same specs for easy update process. That doesn’t mean we don’t need options such as sliders vs slab and such but less small changes to phones. And release date for devices too, don’t delay info from us so much, announce the phone give us a pre-order and release the phone when its ready. Now i know none of this is possible due to the fact that life cant be that easy but a man can dream. Why can’t all phones be set up like the RAZR for info and distribution method. /end of rant looking forward to my SGN.

  • Fastflavz

    Get da iphonze. Adude suxs.

  • Anonymous

    100% agree.. this is a case of less is more.

  • This is the worst article I’ve ever read on this site.  So each carrier releases one phone a quarter, so Ron doesn’t want to go cry because a new, improved phone comes out after.  Now let’s say you have an upgrade two months after the last major release.  Now you’re stuck either waiting a month, or getting a two month old phone.  With the current release cycle, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be getting a new phone whenever you’re eligible to upgrade, AND when a new improved phone comes out, guess what, YOU STILL HAVE THE EXACT SAME PHONE.  My Bionic won’t get any worse when the RAZR comes out.  So someone else has a “better” phone than me, that’s great!  It means that my next phone will be better than theirs!  And that’s just how the cycle goes.

    • Anonymous

      no if you could read you would see he said manufacturer each making 1 or 2 phones a quarter. That adds up to about 6-8 phones a quarter. Your bionic was bad from the start and no it won’t get any worse just wont get any better since it won’t be updated and will remain buggy.

      • Anonymous

        Wow, you’re truly an idiot.

        • Anonymous

          nope that is you=)

    • The worst you’ve ever read on the site? That’s quite the honor. Thank you 🙂

  • czechm8

    Since when are More choices a bad thing?  Think of it as mass-marketing.  You vote with your purchase.  Those that don’t sell will not be offered again. Those that do sell well get the most attention (Droid, Nexus, etc.).

    • Anonymous

      Yeah but slapping them out and not properly supporting them because you are busy making the next better phone is the issue.  If Moto (or any other manfacturer) put out 3 phones at a crack and then upgraded all 3 of them within 90 days of a new OS release, I don’t think this article would have been written.

  • Anonymous

    Great article! I always enjoy reading the opinions of those that keep us updated at DL.  I know how frustrating it is to know a better phone is around the corner all the time just by visiting here.  I always do my research and buy a phone that does everything I need it to when I buy it.  Then I wait for a phone that is significantly updated in my opinion. 

    You can pretty much ignore manufacture sequels as being significant updates.  Example Droid X to Droid X2 because of the quick turn around time.  To me an update adds features such as LTE or NFC.  It also improves where I see flaws, such as app storage.  Move to SD has helped, but internal app space is still limited to a partition on my phone (under 1GB).  An improvement would be not having to worry about app storage, or being able to truly expand to what I want/need.

    Thanks for the opinion articles DL, they keep us thinking and keep us from becoming DROOOIIIIIDS.

  • BofugginJangles

    Please stop calling third party manufacturer software “skins” because its not even close.

    • Bionic

      ok how about we call them pure bullshitt

    • I agree that it’s not the best term, but it is the only term used consistently throughout the industry. I use it because people recognize what it means and there is no popular alternative. 

  • Kierra

    A less than two year old phone wont be updated. The original nexus wont be getting ICS. No one sees that as a problem…

    • Bionic

      how do you know?

      • Kierra

        Its been reported. Kellex put it on the other site. 

      • They’ll be a ROM out 12 hours after ICS’s source is released I’m sure.

    • Motofail

      That is hardware related. Are they supposed to limit the abilities of Android so that it will work on all existing hardware?

      • Kierra

        Idc, I’m just saying even the beloved nexus isnt immune to being left behind. Every one is talking about how they will get updates so quickly with the G nex when the original one cant make it through 2 years. HMMM

        • Some phones don’t ever get version updates. 

          • Kierra

            What about people who are aware and want android updates ,but dont want to root. We’re in the middle. I dont think I should have to void my warranty or open my purse to get an updated version…

          • Dominick DeVito

            I completely agree with you. My wife has a Droid Charge and refuses to let me root it  :-).

            On the other hand, she’s pissed off that she hasn’t gotten Gingerbread – we want to video chat but her poor Charge is still stuck on 2.2.1

    • Anonymous

      they aren’t going to be able to update it since it has barely any ram or internal memory. Do a little research first. The developers will get it on because it won’t be the full ics like how ios only gets a watered down version for the phones that are 1.5-2 years old.

      • Kierra

        Do what research. I said it wasnt gonna be on Nexus and it wont. Calm down techie. 

        • Anonymous

          You were complaining saying it is a problem. It is not a problem when the hardware cannot handle the update.

      • Kierra

        Idc, I’m just saying even the beloved nexus isnt immune to being left behind. Every one is talking about how they will get updates so quickly with the G nex when the original one cant make it through 2 years. HMMM

        • Anonymous

          The nexus one is almost 2 years old what do you expect? Look at the nexus s it is the only phone with android 2.3.7 The galaxy nexus will get updates until the hardware can no longer handle them. No phone is immune. Doesn’t change the fact the nexus will still be updated before every other phone.

          • My OG’s rocking 2.3.7 (thanks to Peter Alfonso)

            Why? Because it’s unlocked (see: why we love nexus phones)

          • Anonymous

            I meant officially

          • Sorry, it was more of a reply to Kierra. 

  • Haha

    so glad you brought this up. Not only that but if they release less device per quarter/year they can focus more on getting their device os up to date.

  • Jammer71477

    I personally think that there would be less fragmentation among phones with Android OS, if manufacturers would make six great phones a year that appealed to techies, people who want entry level phones and people like me, a person who is looking for an upgrade that will last the life of a phone contract with reasonable specs. Then there will be great quality devices that won’t have lots of bugs and seem obsolete upon release.

  • I can see both sides of this argument but I also have to side with the notion that we are getting too many devices too fast that manufacturers/carriers obviously cannot keep updated in a timely manner. I do think the blame rests more with the carriers than with the manufacturers. The carriers are the ones that are demanding all these minor iterative phones. The manufacturers don’t sell to us, their customer is the carrier so if verizon wants htc to make 10 phones this year, why would HTC ever say no????

  • Bionic

    I agree.  Say for example that I am motorola.  My strategy would be this.

    Each year I would release 
    2 Candybars (Bionic, Razr, etc.)
    2 Sliders (Droid 3, Droid 4, etc..)
    1 tablet.  

    As it is right now motorola releases like 4 candybars per year and 2-3 sliders (depending).  

    Stop releasing a million phones per year and instead, take your time and make the 4 or so phones you release per year pure awesomeness.  OTA updates go immediately after the software release.  Take the time to get everything in order.  This way each phone you release will have less bugs and probably better battery life because more time will be given to optimize things.  

    Seriously, slow down.  Oh and btw, a pure google experience motorola phone would be nice to see.  

  • Motofail

    I disagree.

    The only company churning out phones at an increased pace is Motorola. The other manufacturers have been consistant in releases, usually a new phone every month or so and a big phone every several months. Motorola started with one of the best selling phones of all time, the OG Droid, and really has nowhere to go but down. Keep in mind Apple holds back tech with every new device introduced so they have more “wow” factor with the next generation. The fact that Android is supported by numerous manufacturers means this will NEVER be a problem. They can’t afford to cut corners or hold back for fear of another manufacturer stealing marketshare. The reason Moto has gotten more aggressive with releases lately is they are realizing they can’t ride on the success of the OG Droid forever. It was, and will forever will be, one of the most successful phones launched in history. Well, that light has long since faded and for the last two years they have have been failing at every new launch. Samsung has stolen the spotlight with the Galaxy series and HTC has more than made up for the travesty of the Eris with the Incredible series. 

    Technology is driven by innovation. If they “slow down” it will impede progress and result in higher prices for lesser tech. Not t mention, how would one implement an industry wide slow down? Are all the manufacturers going to sit around a table and agree to stop innovating in some kind of pact? 

    In short, the only negative result of them churning out better phones with better tech is buyers remorse. That is the game you play when you want top tech. The way to win is research, keeping in the know using sites like DL, and picking the best upcoming phone that will meet your needs. I have no sympathy for Bionic owners whining about the RAZR. You knew the Bionic was potentially inferior to upcoming phones; it was ALL over the tech blogs. You made your choice and it’s still a damn good phone. 

    • Bionic

      HTC puts out a ton of phones too my friend.  shitty ones at that

      • Motofail


    • You’re right that technology is driven by innovation, but I don’t think we’re seeing innovation when each manufacturer pumps out several dozen phones. For example, it took more than a year for a competitor to come out with a display that had a better resolution than the iPhone 4. Dozens and dozens of devices were released, but none of them had a better resolution than the iPhone 4. Innovation is important, but it doesn’t happen because Android manufacturers push out so many devices. If anything, pushing out so many devices seems to slow innovation. 

  • Anonymous

    You cannot keep up with technology, this is fact because it is growing at a dramatic pace. I’ve had the OG Droid since launch day, and it was well worth the purchase. I have been holding onto it because I am waiting for the perfect Droid replacement. As much as I would love to get every single new Android device that comes out, I cannot. I am a massive tech nerd/geek and I can honestly tell you to that you must choose one phone you really like and stick with it until the end, and to fight all the temptations that come out every month. My 2 year contract is almost up on the OG Droid, and it has served its purpose. That is what your phone should do: Last you for however long you locked yourself into a contact if you are on a contract. Upgrades are not necessary until your contract has ended at the very least.

    Take me for an example. I have held off on locking myself into another 2 year contract by holding onto the OG Droid until I find a real true replacement that will last me another 2 years. You should do the same. Until the phones start gettings ICS and beyond, and packing quad cores… they are all not really worth locking into another 2 year contract… however awesome they may be. Case and point. 

  • Anonymous

    A couple things need to happen for Android to not be so cluttered.

    1. Tell the OEM’s to “suck it” and start making the same phone across carriers. Why make the OEM’s waste their time making the same hardware look different.

    2.Start downsizing your lines. Make a flagship phone and the same phone w. a keyboard, release every 6 month to a year to let last years phone be the mid-level phone. You could also throw in some specialty phones here and there ( commando, rhyme, blackberry looking phone)

    Both of these would allow manufacturers more time to work bugs out and make a better overall product for consumers.

    • Bionic

      Id love to see a motorola flagship phone

  • Anonymous

    capt. obvious in the house

  • Personally I think you’re both right and wrong. I was excited about the Bionic, Galaxy Nexus, and the RAZR when the rumors were flying. I wasn’t willing to commit to any plans for upgrades until those three were out. Now there is the Droid 4 coming out but that along with the Droid 3 lost favor with me at the same exact time as the Bionic and the Galaxy Nexus. Part of that is brand loyalty to the RAZR line and part of that is the simple fact I want a thin and powerful phone.

    All the phones I see on the market should be on the market. Most people aren’t going to care that a better phone came out a few months after they got an upgrade. Those of us that are going to should know better because by now we should know just how fast technology zips along. I could go out and get the RAZR and find out months later something better comes out… why should I care… I made an informed decision about a product that I knew would have a limited time as a top of the line device. I choose it because I wanted it, I liked the specs the design the thickness the weight the features.

    Developers that work in groups can just expand their groups so they can work faster on more devices. Better yet they could do collabs with other developers so those groups working with different phones can give them some code in exchange for code they need for other phones… it’s win win when you go about it that way…

    That’s my opinion anyway, rather lengthy but still it’s my opinion.

  • I really like how the droid 3, bionic, razr, and possibly the droid 4 all use the same OS, it makes it very easy for devs to port roms from one device to the other especially when these devices use similar hardware. This model suits me just fine, it give me many options of a similar device. My only complain is that I wish the droid 3 had been released with a gig of ram, not 512, a minor complain.

  • webby

    Disagree — the competition of rapidly releasing devices benefits we, the consumers, as the manufacturers compete against each other to come out with better devices.

    And how would you plan to enforce YOUR “utopian” method of release of Android phones as stated???  Do you want the goobermint to pass some laws restricting the number of releases of Android phones per year?  I’m sure crApple would be happy to lobby for that outcome.

    Sorry, but I see the article as whining.

    • I don’t know why you felt the need to put “your” in caps or put quotation marks around “utopian.” I never said anything about creating a utopia. 

      That said, I don’t want the government to pass laws or anything else like that. I have no idea where you came up with that. I was simply making some suggestions about how manufacturers could create better relationships with their customers. Lowering the number of devices released by each manufacturer wouldn’t mean less competition, it would mean more refined competition. With fewer devices being released, manufacturers would have more incentive to ensure that each device would be competitive for longer, which would mean more quality devices overall. 

      • Anonymous

        Or you could simply only buy what you feel is a worthwhile purchase, who cares if other incremental devices are being released in the interim?

        • I agree – that should be every buyers attitude. For some reason I apparently came off as a remorseful buyer in the article. I’m not. I love m Dinc even though it’s showing its age compared to these newer phones. That said, I’d rather they release fewer devices so that each device would be more of a halo device. 

  • SamIam

    It sounds to me as if this is the author’s problem, not Android’s.  Perhaps Ron hasn’t noticed, but Android is on a tear — going from 2% market share to ~60% market share in 2 years is almost unheard of.  One reason this has happened is that Android is developing at a frantic pace, filling every niche out there and providing incentive for people to upgrade.  If you’re envious because a few months later there is someone carrying around a better device than you’ve got that is YOUR problem, not Android’s.  Should Bionic owner’s be pissed?  At what? They’re still carrying around a top-notch device that can kick the shit out of the iPhone 4S. 

    Just relax, don’t envy.

    • Anonymous

      +1 and the internets to you sir.

    • Alan Paone

      Its not about envy, its about support. The sensation and the amaze are nearly the same damn phone, but one of them is going to be the ugly step cousin when it comes to upgrades and maintenance. If they had put one of them out over the summer, it would get all the sales of both, and none of the “its just a shitty spec bump over the sensation!” Now they have to support two phones that are nearly the  same but each have thier own petulant set of users, completely different bugs to squash and two rounds of carrier testing for the ICS update.

    • I’m not envious at all. I’m still using my DROID Incredible and I’m perfectly happy with it. Also, I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that the massive numbers of Android devices led to Android’s massive market share. The same thing could have happened with much fewer devices. Also, I didn’t present this as a problem for Android, but rather a problem for manufacturers. 

  • Anonymous

    this is a big reason why i decided to make the switch to iOS and buy the iphone 4S…that and timely updates..loved my N1..OG droid and DINC but.my DX and tbolt left a really bad taste that not even the gnex could fix =

    • Razrback501

      I too got burned by the thunderbolt and bought an iPhone 4s. Haven’t regretted it yet.

    • Bionic

      LOL, dont let the door hit you on your way out.  Have fun with your non-4G , small 3.5inch screen, child like OS, shittttyyy ass iPhone.  

      • Anonymous

        Sad to say but that is my thought also. If you weren’t happy with Android that sucks. You went iPhone? Why are you here? You made your choice. Get out and go to an iPhone blog. I don’t want to hear your crying. Lol.

    • Love my OG Droid, but I can’t stand working on iOS, I’ve handled the iPhone and iPad since all the management at my job has one. Coming from the OG Droid, I know not to make the mistake of buying a skinned Android phone.

      It’s the bloat that all these OEMs add to Android that leaves a bad taste in peoples mouth. I love Moto build quality, but their Android software is pure crap, which is why I’ll be getting a Nexus device, that way I know I’ll have a good experience with timely updates.

      • Bionic

        ever thought of simply rooting your android device and freezing the bloat?  thats what i did with my bionic and now I run Go Launcher with no bloat.  So basically i turned my bionic into a pure google experience

        • The point of rooting wasn’t to disable bloat, you’re just using it to alleviate the issues that crap ass Bionic has. 

          Yet people get mocked for saying Moto’s software is bloated and slow. You just proved our point.

        • My OG is Rooted and I’m running Bugless Beast Android 2.3.7 by Peter Alfonso…..
          So I know what I’m doing, root with a locked bootloader isn’t the same kind of root you get with and unlocked  bootloader. I do read alot of blogs about it. I’m also running a custom kernal and baseband from Peter’s site, with my OG overclocked.

          Unlike some people that troll tech blogs, I know how to read and understand at least the basics of what is being discussed.

          I know people that like the custom Android that OEMs put on their phones, I for one do not. Call me spoiled cause my first Android phone was pure Vanilla that’s fine. My wife likes Sense, I do not. Enjoy what ever flavor you like, but to me, Sense and Blur leaves a bad taste in my mouth, just like MIUI and iOS

      • Anonymous

        More whining about Moto’s software and bloatware.  God damn, this is a tech site, you’d think people would actually know a thing or two about tech but apparently not.

        • I know a thing or two about tech – and I know when I see a lemon.

          The Bionic, Sir, is a lemon. 

          • Anonymous

            We weren’t talking about the Bionic, we were talking about Moto’s software. No, the Bionic is not a lemon, you claiming so makes it obvious you don’t know shit about tech because if you did you would know that every phone has bugs, the Bionic no more so. It also has the best hardware currently available (which is essentially the same as these hyped phones that aren’t even available yet). Sorry, a 200 MHz increase on the same processor is not a major upgrade, not in the slightest. Oh and guess what, the Galaxy Nexus’ battery isn’t being reported as particularly stellar either. Lets wait and see how many bugs it has, I’m betting on shitty signal since it’s a Samsung.

          • The Bionic may have great hardware like all Motos have had but they still are stuck with a buggy, crash-prone UI that Moto insists on shoehorning onto otherwise terrific phones. I never had any hardware issues with the three Droid X’s I had. Blur simply doesn’t work and is not reliable. 

          • Anonymous

            For the last time, the software on the Bionic is not the same old blur software that was on prior Moto phones.  My Bionic never crashes and some of the features Moto has added are actually quite useful. You and everyone else can keep trying to convince yourselves that the Bionic is a pos out of whatever fanboy ultimatums and preconceived notions you have but you’re not going to convince someone who actually owns one.

          • Sputnick

            Hissing in the stereo jack is 10 fold pathetic.

          • Anonymous

            OMGZWTFBBQ   THE HISSING!1!  WHAT A POS!!! GNEXXX FTMFW111!!!!!11!!

  • Coriolis

    I got the droid charge before the tier system was put in place, I then got the droid bionic to hit up what dual core was all about. I am patiently waiting for the Galaxy Nexus now to be my device until the next Nexus comes out. In the event that I am unable to procure the next Nexus, myself and other would be owners of the Galaxy Nexus can be confident we will not have completely out dated phones. Nexus all the way!  – Just my two cents. 🙂 

  • Imns

    I couldn’t agree more.  We wonder why prices are going up so much on new smartphones but this is why.
    It isn’t because the hardware is so much better it deserves a price bump (though that is what they try to tell us)  The real reason is the R&D costs on a phone is just as much as it has always been.  Unfortunately the phones are either not on the market as long or don’t sell well for as long due to new phones constantly being released.  So they charge more per phone to make the same profit on a device in a shorter amount of time. 

    I got my D3 when it came out a few months ago and I couldn’t be happier with it. It has enough improvements from the OG (blur notwithstanding) to make it a worthy upgrade.  Sure LTE would have been nice but living in NYC with a starbucks on every corner there is enough free wifi floating around that isn’t necessary for me.  

    THAT SAID, if I had known the D4 was so close around the corner I would have waited.  Will I sell my D3 just to afford the D4 when it comes out?  Nope.  I may want a new phone now that something better is (soon to be) available but I still know better.  

    Smartphones have become like computers – there will ALWAYS be something better right around the corner and the manufacturers are going to market to us that we simply must have the newest model.

    I say bullocks to that.

    • Anonymous

       Its bollocks.. not bullocks.:)

      • Imns

        What can I say?  I was trying to catch a train and didn’t have time to proof what I wrote.  Thanks for the corection.

  • They want to be the next big thing and they will spit them out as fast as they can.

  • What Carey said. The problem isn’t necessarily the number of devices but the lack of support for each device. Hell, the dev community is unable to work with a lot of these phones. Just keeping each phone up to date, free of bugs would go a long way toward keeping customers happy.

    It’s the reason I’m going for the Galaxy Nexus. Google gets it. Motorola doesn’t. Fool me once with the Droid X. Shame on me. Fool me twice… not happening.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. I feel with a company like HTC that they are getting brand recognition (at least here in the UK) where people say comments like “I’m going to get either an iPhone or HTC” – in other words the brand is overshadowing the OS!  This is great for HTC, and who am I to tell them how to run their business when they are making record profits, but long-term I can’t help but feel it would be better for their brand if they streamlined their production to focus on certain markets with an annual release cycle …. for example if they were to release a budget phone like the Wildfire, midrange would be Desire, high end would be Sensation, and maybe a slider too.  If they just focussed on those ranges they could concentrate on making those killer products for their markets, as well surely saving money developing many more products etc…. I could be wrong, but I do think that would likely increase the quality of the products, and would thus benefit the company and their reputation.  Obviously this could equally apply to Motorola, Samsung, & Sony etc…

  • Anonymous

    You are correct, but it isn’t so much about so many releases, or customers being confused, but instead keeping current customers happy. I’ve talked to a bunch of people who hate Droid because they never rooted their OG Droid and didn’t put a Rom on it. If phone manufacturers focused on simply giving each phone they make a small team of software developers who would push out the latest version of Android ASAP and update it regularly (or hell, just turn the latest CM into an optional OTA) then people would LOVE Android. I personally would love to be able to use a manufacturer’s Rom and be completely happy with it, but they are so inferior to anything the rom devs put out that I really have no choice. If manufacturers spent the time keeping their current customers happy they would get more future customers. If that means putting out fewer phones, ok, but I bet they just need to focus on updating their phones software.

    • Danny Herran

      It is about “how many releases”. Taking your statement as a possibility, it would mean that a manufacturer that releases 12 phones a year, would need at least 3 guys per phone to keep it updated. It is not profitable. If they just launch 4 or 3 phones a year, they would need less amount of people to keep everything running like clockwork.

      Keeping a ROM up to date is not an easy task, thats why manufacturers usually just abandon the device a few months after launch. It is not profitable for them to assign a handful of developers to keep the phone updated. What the author is saying, is that the less phones they build, the less people you need to keep them updated, and in consecuence, the customer is happy. This would rocket launch the prices though.

      The Nexus line of phones is an excellent option, as it has been recommended several times on this post. It has timely updates and I they have a totally dedicated team for software upgrades. However, you have to consider that these phones are very expensive, and not all countries have subsidized plans. If this phone comes to my country, people would to pay at least $800 unlocked, that my man, is a lot of money for a phone. Instead, people just go with the cheap options.

      Problem is, users don’t care about that. Regular people just go to the store and buy a phone because it looks cool, because someone recommended it, or because they saw it on TV. Samsung, HTC or Motorola couldn’t care less if we, the nerds, a small group of the Android community complain about software updates. They keep the majority happy, launching phones for every single taste.

      As long as there is revenue, this tendency will not change.

  • Dcasimiro

    Great article! 

  • Fully agree. Just bought a Galaxy S2 not too long ago and now that the nexus is released and the fact the the S2 will most likely be getting ICS in months rather than weeks makes it very annoying.

    • Anonymous

      I bought a Samsung Droid Charge in June. Which is still running Android 2.2. No word from Samsung or Verizon as to when 2.3 is even coming to the ‘Charge’, much less Ice Cream Sandwich (which, I imagine probably won’t even make it to the device). I feel quite burned. I really wanted a ‘4G’ phone, but I now feel like I should have just waited and purchased an iPhone. 

      While the GNexus sounds like it will be a cool phone – and probably the only Android phone guaranteed to actually receive timely updates for around 2 years (which is still less than the iPhone support/updates – official ones) – I do wonder about the build quality as well as the OS smoothness and ‘experience’. For instance, my Charge frequently cuts and stutters while playing music because of background network connectivity. Meaning, beyond my control, and I’m not doing ANYTHING else with the phone. Yet, with only 1 application running, I cannot enjoy a seamless listening audio experience. And, I have a feeling that the improvements made in the two following OS releases (2.3 and 4.0) would improve the device system resource usage/functionality and thereby quality of experience.

      What I’m getting at is that the lack of manufacturer and carrier support is infuriating – because this was advertised as a ‘premium’ phone. And, exactly as someone mentioned above, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted…but it seemed like the best option at the time, as one of the two 4G phones out at the time. I would be happy to stick with Android if I felt that I could expect better treatment as a customer in the future. But, I don’t really think that will be the case. Even with a Nexus.

  • Anonymous

    The title should be “Manufacturers Need To Slow The F Down”

  • Agreed! I got the Sensation 4G on T-Mobile when it came out and now look… the Amaze 4G came out and it’s actually better! (internally, I still think the Sensation is sexier) I hope the Galaxy Nexus hits T-Mobile because I’m going to pick that one up and after that, I’m done buying phones for awhile. it’s getting to ridiculous to keep up with and not to mention expensive….

  • Imanjja

    I just think that should wait work on “the next big phone” a little bit longer and than move how many times how phones came out with issues right off the back just saying

  • Mr_Snrub

    Let me get this straight, people regularly come to this site and others like it in large part to see what’s next and now we want phone manufacturers to slow down? 
    Words may say otherwise, but our actions speak the truth.

    It may make sense for manufacturers to slow down and narrow their offerings, but that’s only after we the consumers quit itching for better specs, better designs, and a gazillion megapixels in the camera.

    • Alan Paone

      Nobody was tingling in anticipation of the Samsung stratosphere. Absolutely nobody. They don’t need to release last year’s phones again, we already have them. There are like 6 different versions of the galaxy, the S, R, Y, W, Z, and most likely the unannounced Φ, ♠, and everyone’s favorite the ∂. 
      Verizon’s LTE launch lineup was a homogenous mess of 1GHz 4.3″ phones. Why did they ask Samsung, LG and HTC to make pretty much the same phone? Why not focus their efforts and money on making sure the thunderbolt’s software was rock solid from the get-go, or finding a non-awful material to make the charge out of, or just taking the Revolution out back and shooting it?
      There’s no way the current system isn’t a giant pain in the ass for OEMs, so why si no one makign hero devices and supporting them like crazy? The most succesful devices so far have been the DROID, EVO 4G and nexus S. They all were hero phones, had brand names and a lot of marketing, and they all got a lot of support. Why are OEMs moving away form that?

  • It is sounding that you wish to have the manufacturers of Android to be more like Apple…Give the users less choices…The problem isn’t that manufacturers are releasing a new phone every few months, but that you are stuck getting an unsubsidized phone for 2 years.  I am happy with the choices and while the RAZR is newer than the Bionic, the ability to have a removable battery is quite advantageous.  

    • If anything I advocated for the manufacturers of Android to be more like Google (who has followed in Apple’s footsteps). Also, I’m not advocating for less choice as much as I am for more refined choice. I’d rather see less phones, but better specs than tons of the same thing over and over again. 

  • bigrob60

    So I left the following comment about two weeks ago in the Android has Not “Developed to Expectations” According to Michael Dell story & I think it suits this article perfectly. I left it unchanged from then, so when I rant on the HTC security flaw not being fixed yet. You know why. Also the “edit” is included in that.
    Here it is:It’s not android fault, it’s the manufacturers. Android could be farther along then it is if the manufacturers didn’t slap their skins all over it. The updates could come straight from Google like Apple does, and they would be on a timely basis. Also, we would not have to wait for the manufacturer to make the update compatible w/ whatever skin is on the phone. Has that HTC security flaw been fixed yet? If it were apple it would be fixed in two days. Not a week or more. Google needs to reign in android just a bit or I feel in the next few years the numbers might shift back to IOS. I say that strictly about buyers remorse. I find it interesting that android users ream out iphone users about a new iphone every year when there are 4-5 new android devices every month through different carriers. Moto has released 3 phones this year alone w/ the HD & possibly another one before years end. Now combine that w/ every manufacturer on every carrier and you have lots of buyers remorse. How many people bought the Bionic & now wish they had waited for this samsung “nexus”( I used quotes b/c it’s on VZW & who knows if it will be a true nexus updating from Google). I’m starting to think I’d rather maybe have that feeling once a year rather then once a month at least.Holy crap that was a long rant. Still love my OG though.
    Edit: I forgot to mention the time it takes for a phone to be announced to actual launch day. Not including delays. Looking at you Bionic. Apple,ten days max. Announced last Wednesday launching tomorrow. Nine days for that. Google & android phone manufacturers better take note and get there head out of their ass.

  • The media (inlcuding this blog) covers release of a new device. If you’re Motorola, and Samsung is releasing something new, you have to release something new as well if you want press. Also, if you don’t release something new, your device looks old by comparison. The iPhone is different because it’s not competing with other IOS devices.

    • Anonymous

      yeah but they’re starting to cross the line these days.. they’re competing with themselves now and pissing all their customers off in the process.  droid4 three months after the droid3?  razr 2 months after bionic?  F motorola.

    • The iPhone isn’t competing with other iOS devices, but it is competing with Android devices. Despite all the new Android devices that made the iPhone 4 looks old, it still sold incredibly well. 

  • Doug

    I think it would give Android a little more edge as far as being taken seriously by competitors(if sales weren’t already making them). By releasing devices for everyone instead of releasing something that they can say, “this one is awesome, we worked hard on it, hope you enjoy”, they are now releasing phones like shooting bullets in the dark hoping they hit something. A little more calculation would be appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    I kind of disagree. I think we just need to accept that technology moves pretty fast, and i don’t want to hold back the state of the art just to keep me from having an inferiority complex about the next greatest thing. You just have to buy the best device available when your contract is up.

    I will say that if oems are going to put all these devices out there, they need to support them better and keep them updated.

    • Anonymous

      I completely agree. People just need to accept that smartphones are the computers of the late 90s, that chances are it will be outdated shortly after you buy it. As long as the manufacturers provide support for all models for a fair amount of time, I don’t see the hurt in having the latest technology when it’s available.

      • Anonymous

        and there is where the problem lies. manufacturers are so obsessed with coming out with devices ever couple weeks that they cant and wont keep up with the updates. if they toned it down, they could provide better support and better phones.

  • JD

    Exactly. Here’s my suggestion. Each manufacturer should stick with 3 models. A touch screen only phone. A slide-out keyboard phone and a business-centric phone. 

    If you want a low cost phone use last years model. Why do you put all those research dollars into creating new low budget phones.

    Motorola – Droid, Droid Pro, RazR

    Samsung – Stratosphere, Replenish?, Galaxy

    LG – Something, Something, Revolution/Optimus

  • Wrong. It doesn’t matter if your new phone isn’t the best a month later. It’s still just as good as when you bought it.

    • Anonymous

      Umm, not wrong?  You could say phones are “good” when you buy them, but who are we kidding?  The past 3 years I’ve gotten phones because they might have been the best option at that time and but honestly I just haven’t been totally happy with them.  Happy to get something new of course, but always stained with at least a bit of buyers remorse even at the point of sale!  They’re not exactly what I really want, so I wind up just settling for what’s available knowing it’s not as good as the features another carrier/country has on the same phone or what features your phone should have but your carrier disabled.  And I’m talking about top-of-the-line phones and not the $100 discount gimps that you pay the same monthly fee to use.  Honestly, phones are not as good when you buy them, and that’s the problem.

    • Anonymous

      Problem is I feel like most phones post-Droid X and Pre-Bionic were just phones on crutches. Maybe it was just growing pains of Android and LTE but every phone released was lacking in some major way. I feel like the Bionic, Razr and Nexus are really the frist “crutchless” phones since the DX.

      • In a few weeks when ICS is released unfortunately the new Moto and HTC phones will look outdated without reaching people’s hands yet.

    • Jim

      I agree. Why should manufacturers slow down as long as they provide software updates for a reasonable amount of time? The user decides when to buy. You can wait one year and then uprgade. That’s the exact same thing as what this article is suggesting.

      If you wait less, you get incremental hardware updates. If you wait longer, you get major updates.

      Pretty stupid and superficial article. It’s just saying “I don’t want anyone to have a better phone than me.”

      • Anonymous

        ” Why should manufacturers slow down as long as they provide software updates for a reasonable amount of time? ”

        Do I have to point out the huge flaw there?

        • Anonymous

          +1 million

        • Kevin

          So they’ll support phones one year exactly with the suggested one phone per year plan vs. 1+ years currently…

          • Lkoh

            I have a feeling companies will do just that. “Oh, your phone’s a year old? Sorry, no updates for you. You can buy the new phone we just released.”

          • Alan Paone

            Thats worse than the current system of “Oh we released an outdated phone? meh.”?

        • How can they provide updates when they have to dedicate manpower to getting the newer device out

      • Showing off not Needed

        Ron:  “boohoo, my phone isn’t the best anymore. i can’t show off now.”

        Seriously, you decide when to buy a new phone. Just because a manufacturer releases a new phone every year doesn’t mean it’s going to be better if they released ones more often. If anything, releasing more often will result in more feedback. So at the one year mark, the current phone would be better than had they released once a year.

        • Dj33

          Ya, slowing down will probably impede progress. If all manufacturers came out with a phone only once a year, I bet dual core phones won’t even exist right now.

          • TC46

            Or maybe they could be putting out quad core phones by now, as they would be able to concentrate on only a couple of model phones, rather than a large number. More concentration of fewer models might actually help in the way of progress, and would allow manufactures time to be able to update existing devices.

          • Anonymous

            Uh…..no.  Decreasing the number of units you release yearly isn’t going to magically help companies like TI or nvidia develop and fab processors any sooner. That goes for any other hardware manufacturer.

          • Right, but the same can be said for increasing the number of units released. 

          • Anonymous

            I wasn’t arguing that.

          • SugaShane

            Ron’s confidence is at an all-time low right now. 

          • I’m feeling pretty good actually, but thanks for the concern. 🙂

        • Jay

          They shouldn’t slow down at all. With these incremental updates and user feedback by the time I uprgade in 1-2 years the current phone would be a whole lot better.

        • Anonymous

          There are definitely two ways to look at this as much as I agree with the first few comments here.

          1)  It is very true that having a ton of choices is great.  You buy the best that’s available at the moment.  No matter when you buy there will always be a better one around the corner.   THE SAME IS TRUE WITH ANY TECHNOLOGY.  Anyone who has done any work with technology for any length of time knows it all moves pretty fast.  You just try to future-proof yourself as best as you can for upgrades (aka, don’t buy the crappy $49 Android phone running 2 releases behind current when it is released as new)

          2)  Having a D3 that had a ton of issues after its release, I was ticked to see all of the attention given by Moto in the forums to the issues suddenly vaporize when the Bionic came out and had its own set of issues that focus went to.  I’m sure the same will happen to the Bionic folks when the Razr gets released.  So that was 3 major phones released by Moto, just on one carrier, in a couple months time span.  None of them will get the proper attention to fix post-release issues that they should (IMHO).  Upgrades to ICS will probably follow that same flow unless they made the hardware similar enough to easily get ICS working on all of them with minimal effort.

          • Welcome to Moto smartphone ownership. 

          • Justin Kos

            where moto fails, thats where XDA prevails heyy hey! i rhymed

        • My phone hasn’t been the best for a long time (my daily driver is the Dinc). It’s not about showing off a device, it’s about refining the devices that are being offered. 

          • johnny

            the dinc is still such a dope phone, still runs pretty smooth, my battery lasts for a  healthy minute. But there’s only one thing i wish it had, ffc. But oh well, not a big deal, that’s what the next phone is for.

      • ” Why should manufacturers slow down as long as they provide software updates for a reasonable amount of time? ” That’s precisely the problem. How many Epic 4G or Droid Charge owners are still waiting for Gingerbread? And Thunderbolt owners like myself just did get a working upgrade to GB. No wonder people gripe about fragmentation.

        • mike

          I doubt software updates will get better.

      • A.M.

        How many phones is it really? 

        Verizon top tier phones:HTC: Thunderbolt, Rezound, Incredible 2Samsung: Charge, Galaxy NexusMotorola: Bionic, RAZR, Droid 3, Droid X2. Droid 4, Dinara?LG: Revolution 1 & 2

        There have been a couple others (Samsung Stratosphere, HTC Rhyme) that targeted a specific niche (keyboard lovers, women who like shiny purple things that vibrate).

        HTC made both the Thunderbolt and the Incredible because they wanted both an LTE handset and a solid sequel to the Incredible. Moto offered two great phones months apart due to delays, not master strategy. There isn’t a huge number of phones coming out. Motorola is the only stand out here.

        There is no grand plan to release top tier phones monthly. LTE complicated things, but it seems like all the top VZW phones will be LTE from now on. HTC, Samsung and LG return to two top tier handsets a year, Motorola to 3 or 4.

        • BroRob

          Ummm I believe you are missing the point that the manufacturers are producing so many devices for ALL the carriers. HTC doesnt ONLY support Verizon top tier phones.

          HTC: Incredible, Inc2, Thunderbolt, EVO, EVO4G, EVO3D, Vigor, Rezound, Wildfire, Amaze, Hero, Flyer, Jetstream, myTouch, etc… just go to the website and look at the list!

          Every one of those devices need support. I think we would get faster fixes/upgrades if they only had to worry about 1/2 of those.

      • That wasn’t the point of the article at all. 

      • TC46

        “Why should manufacturers slow down as long as they provide software updates for a reasonable amount of time?”
         Because they are NOT keeping up with needed updates for their existing handsets. If you look out at the forums, you will notice issues with almost every device. By limiting the # of new devices released, maybe they COULD provide updates in a timely manner. It is all about getting people into new devices and creating the “Buzz” about their new phone.
          I would think manufacturers would embrace this idea. It could only help in a lot of ways.

      • Anonymous

        The whole problem to begin with is exactly as you have stated.  You have to wait longer as companies like Moto say “oh crap, we forgot that people still have the Bionic, we should probably update that”…

    • Anonymous

      As long as they continue to send out updates to your phone then sure, that’s a correct statement.  But a lot of these manufacturers aren’t keeping up their end of the deal.  My OG never got GB, when it could handle it, sure I could get it myself, but these companies should keep updating their devices at least for the length of our contracts. 

      I know there are multiple phones in a lot worse shape than my OG, so it’s not just Moto.

    • I agree with you. At the end of the day, Bionic owners have a great device. The overall point of the article wasn’t that early adopters should be upset if a better phone comes out, but rather that manufacturers would create better relationships with consumers if they refined the options they made available. 

    • JC

      The problem is they are flooding the market with phones that are only marginally better than the previous offering and potentially hurting the brand. I don’t want the IPoS sheep to win.

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Anonymous

    I agree I think the carriers should work more on updating the phones they have and keeping the customers pleased and ultimately retaining more customers than abandoning phones just to push a new phone out.

  • They need to slow down only if they are going to make huge changes in hardware. I just hate this slow trickle stuff like the Atrix 2 coming a few months after the Atrix came out. 

  • Anonymous

    Correction.. HTC Thunderbolt was NOT the HTC Evo equivalent… the Droid Incredible was (barring for the smaller screen size). The Thunderbolt specs are FAR better compared to Evo.

    • Dan

      I wouldn’t say they are FAR better. The Thunderbolt has slightly more RAM and Internal Storage…it was also released a year after the EVO. The Thunderbolt was last years technology with this years connectivity (4G LTE)

      • Anonymous

        wrong!. The TB’s processor was an upgraded Snapdragon processor too.. with advanced graphics.The optics on the camera are also an upgraded version. Compare the benchmarks and you’ll know.

  • Matt Greenburg

    Very well written article. Im waiting patiently for the Galaxy Nexus just for the reasons stated.

  • Meh. I think they will slow down. Right now, the smartphone market is EXPLODING. No one is quite sure what’s going to happen. So what you have is a bunch of experimentation by OEMs. They’re just throwing phones up against the wall to see what sticks. There’s really not much strategy here, especially when it comes to Motorola. Give them another year and see where they’re at.

    • Sputnick

      I’ve been saying this for months.  Totally agree with you.

  • JJApple

    I agree. I purchased the HTC Thunderbolt earlier this year and already I find myself trying to find ways to procure one of the Galaxy Nexus’ for myself. The constant stream of new phones is slowing down the development world too, something the article didn’t touch. Look how many ROMs older phones such as the OG Droid or the Droid X had. Today’s phones are getting smaller and smaller developer pools because many developers move on to the newest phone upon release. As the gap between major phone releases closes, so does the amount of time developers are willing to spend creating ROMs and mods for each model of phone. Just my two cents.

    • T Hall

      Nailed it. 

    • Doug

      I hate having 1 rom to pick from and I can’t find any for my wifes phone. Not that I think devs should cater to us but i would love it if each device was as thoroughly pulled apart as the nexus s or og droid.

    • Anonymous

      Another reason to get a Nexus.

      Too bad so many don’t appreciate what it is.

      • Anonymous

        Jesus Christ, we get it. The Nexus is the holy f’ing grail. Does every damned comment have to mention that it’s THE phone and we should all just ignore the other reasonable options?

        • Mctypething

          u mad bro?

          • John

            i hope you get banned

          • Anonymous

            i hope he doesn’t.  viva la revolucion, bro.

          • Guest

            me too!!!!  he’s such a dick! 

          • Anonymous

            LOL.   The joy of anonymous posting, eh?  My guess is that “Guest” is mctypething himself.

            If you ban a bro, he’ll just come back.  If you ban his IP, he’ll disconnect and reconnect to his ISP and get another IP.  There’s no keeping a bro down these days.  The only way you can do it is full lock-down, members-only (with or without jackets) posting.  Impose military rule, you know – a checkpoint on every street corner.  That’ll show those terrorists for sure!  Make it suck to be here.  Oh, wait, that only hurts us.  :-p

          • BroRob

            +1 Bros dont go quietly in to the night!

          • Anonymous

            I saw that coming before I even posted.

            I’m psychic bro.

          • trumpet444

            wheres the damn “I do not like” button?

          • Anonymous

            Its called “Flag” for review.  You then save all the rest of us from having to read the blather 🙂

          • Guest

            i flag EVERY ONE OF HIS POST!!!  the guy is a major dick!!!

          • John

            true. i think tim has been helping us out lately. thanks tim-o 🙂

        • Jadam6118

          Negative nancy

        • bigrob60

          I think we’re all overtly exited the the nexus is coming to VZ & can’t contain our excitement for it.

        • Anonymous

          You are so angry…. You must have purchased a Bionic.

          While you may understand there are many who think just cause you can get root its the same as a phone that’s unlocked.

          Now take a benedryle and get some rest.

          • Anonymous

            Isn’t the Bionic just the RAZR only fatter and with a removeable battery?  I mean aside from the “Smart Actions” BS software that turns off 4G/3G/wifi for you at intervals to save battery and stuff.  As far as real muscle (processor, RAM, display quality), does the RAZR outdo the Bionic?  I keep seeing people saying the RAZR is so much better.  Do they just like thin phones?

          • Anonymous

            Pretty much.  The Bionic has the ability to turn data off for specified times as well.  Everyone here just loves harping on the Bionic but I will say the AMOLED screen on the Razr is a nice upgrade.

        • trumpet444

          I think his handle is “KleenDroid”, not Jesus Christ. You are mistaken

      • Anonymous

        Too bad so many don’t appreciate a device for what it is instead of focusing on having a million roms to choose from.  Too bad so many are fanboys who love to throw out insults and spew hatred at other products and people for choosing those products.

        • Anonymous


      • Getting the nexus is not the point, nothing is wrong with the manufacturers trying to differentiate themselves, but which device is their flagship device, how long is it going to be the flagship before it is replaced, do we really think the EVO 3D is going to be updated ASAP when they are pumping out the Amaze and  Sensation XEXEXE, jeez, this is the problem we face and we have not mentioned the carriers interfering with the update cycle as yet.

        I have a SGS2 and Roms have been coming out monthly for the device for most regions, I’m running 2.3.5 firmware from Samsung itself, and 2.3.6 have been released in China now while I would be the first to admit that 2.3.5 may not be all that different from 2.3.4, how many other manufacturers are releasing 2.3.5, 2.3.6 or even 2.3.7 updates for their wide range of devices, they can’t, they are pumping out a new phone per fortnight, it’s stupid and bad for business.

      • Anonymous

        The *problem* with the Nexus is that it wasn’t (isn’t) on every carrier.  I’m not going to switch to Sprint to get a Nexus but the Nexus is what I *really* wanted.  Google needs to make it available on every major carrier.  I see its coming to VZW *finally* but my D1 crapped out months ago so I had to pick what I liked best at the time which was a D3.  I think if the Nexus was available on every carrier in the current state without bloat and 3rd party interfaces, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone buying anything else.  Why would you buy something else hoping it would be upgraded to the latest OS release when its a guarantee on the Nexus?

    • Anonymous

      I completely agree. But as consumers, we are not stopping to ponder the affect on our pocketbooks. Do we need a new phone every 3 months? If we dont stop buying the phones, why would they ever stop selling them?

    • Sputnick

      The constant stream of phones keeps me waiting for the next phone.  Hey I only have to wait a couple months.  So, it keeps me holding on to my phone and NOT spending the money.

    • I agree completely. One of the best things about Android (in my opinion) is the dev community. With so many phones, the dev community is spread WAY too thin.

  • Stephen

    This is so true

  • Anonymous

    I agree.. and the free market will take care of the culling process automatically. A lot of devices are gonna fall off in the near future because of the over-abundance.

  • Dave

    Without a user-replaceable battery, I have reservations about calling the RAZR a “better device”

    • Non-replaceable battery + Moto Blur = fail.

    • I agree. The removable battery is huge to me, especially as someone who roots and ROMs their phone. If something goes wrong and I can’t pull the battery, what am I supposed to do?

  • EC8CH

    Average Joe’s aren’t going to care, and those that do should be smart enough not to buy phones like the Bionic if they are going to be upset if a better version comes out 8 weeks later because they should know how long it was delayed for.

  • Anonymous

    You read my mind. On Point !!!! 

  • babadush

    I didn’t have to read this to agree. Too fast. Quality not quantity. I will read it

  • Benjamin Landwehr

    I agree, the feeling of having an “obsolete” phone after a month kind of sucks.  But whatever, I’m happy.  And have got a few more upgrades I can use.

  • Anonymous

    I concur.

  • DROID 4 inspired post?

    I agree =]