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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.

  • 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 =]