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Giving Credit Where It’s Due, Verizon Turns Into an Android Update Machine

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I’ll admit that I’m one of Verizon’s biggest critics when it comes to the rate at which they update their Android smartphones to new software. They are unbelievably  slow for the most part. In fact, I’ve pointed it out a handful times, particularly with the Galaxy Nexus and the amount of time it has taken to update a device that should be the easiest of all. But we also know that Verizon stands firm on their update practices, which have a reputation for being the slowest in the business. Their network is reliable, maybe even the most reliable after all, and they attribute parts of their success to their testing practices. But something seems to have changed in 2013. I ran through a list of updates released by them this year, and the number is impressive. 

I count 17 different devices receiving updates since the beginning of the year. The original Incredible, Thunderbolt, Lucid, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Tab 7.7, RAZR HD, Charge, RAZR, DROID 4, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Stellar, Intuition, Rhyme, Incredible 2, Rezound, DROID DNA, and Galaxy Nexus have all seen some sort of an update over the last three months, many of which were major.

Now, it’s not all positive just because it’s an update. Devices like the Thunderbolt were promised updates back in the summer of 2012 only to finally receive them a short few weeks ago. Hell, the original XOOM 4G LTE still hasn’t received Jelly Bean and it’s technically a “Nexus” type of device.

But if we overlook those few, even I have to give props to Big Red for getting the job done as of late. We can’t seem to go more than a couple of days without seeing another approval on an update for a different device. In the last 10 days alone we have seen updates for the Charge, RAZR HD, DROID 4, Galaxy Nexus, and original RAZR. Three of those updates were major (two to Jelly Bean and another to 4.2.2).

We aren’t sure if Verizon’s update process has been streamlined recently to be more efficient, if manufacturers are finally getting the hang of this update thing which in turn means submitting better builds to Big Red’s testing team, or if there was a stockpile of updates that are just now seeing mass approval. As surprising as this may sound, I’d lean towards one of those first two options.

If you look at the Galaxy Nexus and its recent move to 4.2.2, Verizon took just over one month to get that update ready and push it out. Sure, they managed to skip three other updates along the way, but if you look strictly at 4.2.2, which was released by Google around February 11, Big Red managed to fit it into their update schedule, which included another dozen or so devices, and still push it out five weeks later. Not bad, if you ask me.

So from one of the most annoying and at times harshest critics in the wireless industry, all I can say is, great job, Verizon. Keep it up.

  • I’ll never buy another Motorola product, or a verizon product after the lack of support I’ve received on my Verizon 4G Xoom, or my Motorola Atrix 4G. Too may promises made and then backpedaling.

  • Yay showing some love for the Razr Maxx HD.
    Really wish I could have that phone.

  • dquicknc

    I can’t wait to upgrade my Bionic in May! Had to get a like new replacement because of so many problems and the replacement is not any better than what I had!

  • Dale Burke

    They only seem to be concentrating on the phones that are bringing in the most revenue which just goes to show the squeaky wheel gets the grease so to speak, the other phones that also deserve as much attention that people spent hard earned money on should get the same consideration but sadly get ignored…………..

  • TwiggLe

    I’d like to see some updates for my LG Spectrum 2 not sure if it’s on Verizon’s side or LG’s side.

  • romma

    Incredible 2 is suffering on GB.

  • What about the Bionic? My Razr Maxx HD May be sitting on 2.16.6 (4.1.2) but my Bionic is still on ICS.

  • Angelo Alexander

    Verizon/Google deserves big props for getting the Galaxy Nexus – a phone many had left for dead – updated to the freshest version of Android. It may be too little too late for me personally, as I’m fed up with Verizon’s controlled network (no Google Wallet), slow updates, and lack of GSM/HSPA compatibility in their phones when traveling abroad (although the newer batch of phones seem to address this last point), so I’m planning on switching to T-Mobile when they roll out their LTE network. But let’s see if Verizon can shape up over the next 6 months.

  • Richard Yarrell

    Let’s not get beside ourselves after years and years of crappy update abilities. Much more time needs to be given on this issue. Verizon fan boys looking to act like Verizon has changed nice thought but the proof is in time.

    • squiddy20

      This coming from the idiot who was a Sprint fanboy, then a Verizon fanboy, and is now a T-Mobile fanboy. -_-

  • cawrestlingfan

    Im annoyed im still running 4.1.1 and no update in site for my Verizon Nexus.

  • zombiewolf115

    they have been updating a lot of phones. yet still not the droid bionic =.=

    • JoshGroff

      Be patient young grasshopper.

  • They spend all this time ‘testing’ and there’s still more than a few complaints about the latest updates to the RAZR and Droid4.
    In fact, I hear less complaints from the Android users on other networks who get their updates quickly.
    I still say they’re doing it to force you to get an OS upgrade by buying a new phone (and a new contract extension to go with it)

    • Derek Edwards

      I don’t think they spend that much time testing. They probably put the update into the hands of a few employees who may or may not use the phone as their primary phone. Once all the big bugs are kicked that you can find with an hour of usage and they make sure they get all their VZ BS in there, they approve it. Just takes several months to get a couple hours of testing done per device. I can almost guarantee there’s no big resources put forth on this.

  • dwboston

    I refuse to give VZW an ounce of credit when my 4G LTE Xoom is sitting here still on ICS, 8 months after the WiFi Xoom got JB. I’ll never by a carrier-linked tablet again and will never do business with VZW again. You know a company is bad when it makes AT&T look good in comparison.

  • dafadfsa

    Their network is reliable as long as you don’t live in a “fringe” LTE/CDMA area. In those areas, your phone goes from very reliable to completely worthless.

    You almost have to force your phone to use LTE or CDMA. If you leave it on auto, you can’t do a damn thing. My phone was worthless when leaving work because I live in the suburbs where I’m juuuuuuust outside of LTE’s coverage. The phone fights with the network until I get slightly into town a little more, then it works fine.

  • Derek Edwards

    I totally disagree with this assessment. Just because they have pushed out a few updates that should have happened over the last 18 months does not mean they deserve credit.

    They get credit for fulfilling some of their promises, very late. I was with VZ when the droid came out and that was awesome and pretty much a developer phone. It was unlocked and very easy to hack.

    I think that was the first/last unlocked phone on VZ. I truly feel sorry for the people who have to put up with that kind of service. Don’t get me wrong. AT&T, T-mobile, and Sprint are hardly any better at updates, but at least you can do unlocked GSM on AT&T and T-mobile and AT&T’s network (even NON LTE) is nipping at the heals of verizon.

  • DanWazz

    Good job doing your job, Verizon!

  • EG

    Yeap, pushing them out! Where’s the Bionic,Again??

    • Should be next up since the Droid 4 just went out. At this rate, I’d say within the next month or so.

  • Credit? Verizon? Sure….

  • droidbeat

    Now time for 4.2.2 on Droid DNA.

  • The reasons I can guess is

    1. Success of Nexus 4.
    2. Success of T-Mobile’s Truly Unlimited plans.
    3. More verizon users trying to port out due to lack of updates.

  • Mrnexus

    Ok so I got the update to pop up using that force close method but after it downloaded and came to installing, it aborted due to some verification error. Pls help! 🙁

  • Dale Johnson

    After 2 day’s with an iphone 4, I’m happy with my Verizon Gnex! Love android anyway you slice it. errr get it!

  • Dale Johnson

    After 2 day’s with an iphone 4, I’m happy with my Verizon Gnex! Love android anyway you slice it. errr get it!