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HTC to Update Future Flagships for Two Years After Launch – No Ifs, Ands, or Buts (Updated)

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HTC is currently hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, completely focused on nothing but Android updates. As Android users might be aware, HTC for the most part hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to updating flagship devices in a timely manner, but they have given it their best since the launch of the One.

When Google released Kit Kat last year, HTC announced that in 90 days, all US variants of the device would be running Android 4.4+. As it turned out, they didn’t quite meet their own timeframe, but you have to give them credit due to the company’s complete transparency on social media as to why devices weren’t being updated. Now in February, all One devices should be running Kit Kat. 

So, with all of that said, HTC announced today during the AMA that moving forward, all flagship devices will be updated to the newest versions of Android for two years following their releases. With that, you can now rest assured that if you buy the HTC One successor, codenamed M8, that it will receive updates for two full years after it launches.

As it is, that is a major commitment HTC is throwing out for buyers of their brand.

Given the immense resource requirements for updates we can’t solve all our past issues, but today we are making a commitment to support all new flagship devices going forward with all major Android updates for 2 years after their release date.

You may recall HTC announced last month that the One X and One X+ in America would not be receiving a Kit Kat update, thanks to lack of support from NVIDIA on the Tegra 3 chip which powers the One X+. While the One X does utilize a Snapdragon processor, HTC thought that it wouldn’t be a good idea to only update one device and then leave One X+ buyers out in the cold.

Without the support of our chip manufacturer Nvidia, it made a global update of One X and X+ devices impossible. However, in US the One X uses the Qualcomm chip and an upgrade would be possible, but we didn’t think it would be a good experience for our customer base to update the X, but not the X+. This update caused a huge stir amongst owners and we’ve heard you loud and clear, so we’re now actively exploring how we can make the jump to 4.4.

As of today, HTC also announced that they are now actively exploring ways to update both devices to Android 4.4+. Although, please keep in mind, exploring possibilities is a long ways from confirming that an update is in fact coming. HTC will more than likely need to talk to NVIDIA about how they plan on updating a device with the unsupported Tegra 3 chip with LTE modem inside.

This is pretty big news from HTC today, and should have fans of the manufacturer smiling from ear to ear.

Update: HTC reached out and wanted us to make sure to point out that the two year timeframe is only for the US flagships, and not International models.

Via: Reddit
  • BroRob

    Does this mean my Thunderbolt will get Kit Kat now? **NOTE: This is a joke. I no longer use my Thunderbolt and I would not expect HTC to continue supporting it.**

  • KingofPing

    No-one expects updates from HTC!!

    …but

    So long as we’re still in business, we will update…what?

    Oh…

    Right…

    So long as we get BSP support from the OEM, and we’re still in business…what?

    Oh…right.

    For US Flagship models only, if we get BSP support from the CPU OEM, and we’re still in business…

    (Is anyone else seeing a Monty Python skit here???)

  • ROB

    Nexus 5

  • Hothfox

    Sure, they’ll update devices for 2 years, but if HTC and carriers delay updates, that might only translate to one major version update in that timeframe.

  • Anon

    I’ll believe it when the carriers let them do it – especially Verizon. The vendor isn’t always the issue with whether we receive updates or not; if the carrier doesn’t want it, good luck.

  • Shawn Crittenden

    I just upgrade my phone through open source. I have a HTC Droid DNA and although HTC is in the process of getting KitKat approved; I still would have to wait for Verizon to push the OTA through, and that might not even happen. I just rooted my phone, removed the bloatware by installing a custom ROM, and upgraded to KitKat. Its the best thing that I have done since getting the phone.

  • guest

    “Now in February, all One devices should be running Kit Kat.” Except for At&T

  • camph

    “…for a full 2 years after it has been released.” Um… Sounds to me like “after the android version has been released.” That’s exactly how things are today. They just put it in writing. But seriously, these are mere words that are consistent of a desperate attempt to boost sales. The only way a device can be updated at all and in time is if it is a Googelized version. 

    Need more proof? Just look at the time frame ONE Google has had updates international unlocked and plain Google ONE version versus the rest. Also be reminded that HTC themselves released a detailed report (or reasoning) why it takes a long time for the branded versions to be upgraded. 

    So I ask, HTC, Aren’t you shooting yourself in the foot by releasing this statement which completely is overshadowed by your previous report on why it takes long for consumers to get their updates? Or you could simply have stated to get the Google version. Urge people to get the Google version. Oh and fire your marketing director already. You only need to look at the past years to know why you should get a better person for the position.

  • Kyle Cordiano

    They did update the One X and the One X+ from 4.0-4.3

  • Yar

    I call BS. “Immense resources” to update? I have an Incredible 2 running 4.3 because of one XDA dev in his spare time. HTCs resources could not get it past 2.3 after countless promises about working on “network connection” issues. Never again HTC.

  • GotSka81

    I want to believe you, HTC, but when you don’t deliver, what then? Do we have a written guarantee, or just an empty promise from an HTC rep on Reddit? Sorry, but you’re going to have to make a stronger commitment than that to win my money.

  • rohmbd

    Drop Sense… Run stock android with modifications via Apps like Motorola = easy updates…Google has updated the original Nexus 7 with the Tegra 3…why can’t HTC?

    • aQuickBit

      Sense is actually kind of enjoyable…especially the Kit Kat 5.5 update. Kind of can’t wait for 6.

    • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

      Different Tegra 3 chip, Nvidia decided to support one but not the other, stupid? yes.

  • Justin Kos

    I’ll believe it when I see it HTC…enough talk just F cking do it already.

  • Aaron

    One thing I don’t get is why they can’t update the One+. Is it solely because of the LTE, because my 2012 N7 Wi-Fi has the Tegra 3 and an official Kit Kat update.

  • Steve

    Question: Does the two year time frame begin according to the release date of each carrier specific model? Or does the first one to get released start the clock on all other carrier versions released later?

    For instance, I think the One originally came to US carriers in April (or March?) of 2013, but was only released for Verzion in August or September. This is a pretty good amount of time.

    I know this is for phones moving forward, but should this happen again this is an important question.

  • Nikuliai

    no butts? I’m out

  • jimt

    If all phones were updated by google this wouldn’t be a problem. Vanilla android, forever. Let the apps come from the play store including drivers, skins, etc.

    • Chris

      no thanks. if i wanted the same look I’d get an iphone.

      • ktvz

        Agreed. Android users are such hypocrites. They scream android is all open open open and yet they want to close it up….

        stupid.

        • jimt

          Android is open and the same, the phone manufactures and carriers mess them up, add bloat, skins, etc. Android 4.4.2 is the same on any android running 4.4.2

          • Chris

            Then talk with google then. They could pull an Apple move and lock it up. Have only nexus phones. instead they give people a choice and most normal everyday users are fine with Sense or touch wiz. Android isn’t like it was a few years ago

        • PoisonApple31

          Stock Android users want to close it up.

      • jimt

        How does the OS cause them to look the same? You customize it with skins such as touchwiz, sense, blur if you want to and then and apps that you want what does that have to do with *phone.

  • Chris

    How does Apple handle the updates? Don’t their OS updates come from them and not the carriers?

    • jimt

      Apple is Special.

    • acashe42

      Just like Google and the Nexus lineup…

      • PoisonApple31

        Yes, mediocre cameras makes the Nexus devices special and stand out again other Android devices.

  • mrjayviper

    US only too! maybe that’s why they’re losing money

    • Chris

      if anything HTC needs to capture more of the US market thats being dominated by Samsung.

      • mrjayviper

        I don’t think Samsung dominates just the US market…

  • Brandon Bunker

    Come on..where’s that DNA love?

    • hkklife

      With each passing day, I’m becoming more and more convinced that they are going to quietly cancel the DNA’S KitKat update and make a vague statement on how it is best optimized for JB and Sense 5.

      • jimt

        Bingo!

        • Richard Giordano

          Yea but wasn’t it confirmed by HTC that they would update the Droid DNA to 4.4.2 KitKat sense 5.5 as its last update.

    • David Dudovitz

      They have said over and over again on Twitter that it will come out at the end of March, and you can follow its progress on the software update page.

  • Dave

    Reminds me of the dude who gets caught cheating on his wife 5 times, and says he’s really really really sorry this time and honestly won’t do it again… I promise! I promise!

  • Dave

    Too late for any more of my money. You can trash Samsung, but they have a very good record (getting better still) of updating top tiered devices. Moto is great lately, we’ll see how the Lenovo deal aeffects it.

    • TylerCameron

      Sure, Samsung will update your device.
      They’ll just take a year and a half to do it, and will stay TOTALLY silent on the subject until a couple weeks before it happens.
      Look at the Note II and S3. They stayed on 4.1 for over A YEAR. Completely unacceptable!

      • Dave

        I was up in arms about it too, then got 4.3 and realized it wasn’t a massive changleog and quickly didn’t care about the few things I though I was missing out on.

      • MicroNix

        The S3 has gotten an amazing number of update versions already. The question EVERYONE has to ask themselves is what exactly is the big deal in these versions anyway? Is my phone going to suddenly do the wash and cook me dinner? Change logs for these things are dismal at best. Everyone gets all fired up about the next update and it litterally gives you nothing. In fact, there’s more risk of a bug surfacing in a new update than something extraordinary that you’ll get out of it.

        Buy it for what it is. Not what you fantasize it to be upgraded to.

  • Chris

    We’ll see. i still love ya HTC.

  • chris125

    Until they make some excuse why they won’t be updated. Sorry I’ll wait 2 years and see if this pans out before buying another HTC

    • Pedro

      You can likely get enough info next fall. If the M7 doesn’t get a timely update, you’ll know. If it does, you’ll know they are making progress.

      • chris125

        Eh a year in won’t really give a true answer, I would hope it still gets so what fast updates. But 18-24 months will be the big telling sign when it’s 2 generations old

  • ahhh yes

    *Disclaimer if we are still in business

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      the whole time i was reading the article, I kept thinking the same. It’s a shame really, I love my One, and I’d love the m8 but if the company wont be around next year, I’d have to look at sammy or lenomoto

      • Memphis May [S]unjay

        Or Sony or LG

        • Devon Turayoly

          My Uncle Caleb just got red Ford Focus ST by working off of
          a computer. try this C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

          • Memphis May [S]unjay

            Cool Story SIs.

  • 213ninja

    i’ve heard that before…

  • The Narrator

    Sucks to see Nvidia not giving support to them. Good to see they are working on it now. Either way, software version is the least of my worries. If i wanted the latest OS, id buy a Nexus 5.

  • David Foggia

    I’m just waiting for the HTC one Two to be released so I can FINALLY drop this crappy iPhone 4. On the update subject, I have no problem if HTC skips a major update. 4.3-4.4 on my nexus 7 did close to nothing. But if Android 5.0 comes out and it has some impressive features then, yeah, HTC better keep their promise.

    Edit: in some ways also, if I really really wanted the newest software version, I would buy a nexus. I trust HTC with Sense. I can’t say the same thing with that bloated disaster called “touchwiz”

    • Pedro

      There you go.
      If you want to take the worry out of updates, buy a Nexus. While it doesn’t guarantee that there will be an official upgrade (I’m looking at you, VZW and the GNex), there will be some type of upgrade path.
      If nothing else, the off contract price is certainly reasonable.

      • jimt

        I had a galaxy nexus, if it were on 4.4.2 I would probably still be on Verizon. You don’t want a Nexus on Verizon, it isn’t a nexus anymore.

    • Dave

      Samsung is supposed to be doing KK for the Note 2 and Galaxy S3, devices a year old and then some….hopefully the carriers release them, although with their device sales driving 75% of all androids it might help.

      • hkklife

        Note 2 is almost 18 months old and GS3 is approaching 2 years of age. I still doubt they will see KitKat but I suppose anything is possible, especially how both models are still being regularly sold through postpaid/carrier and, in the case of the GS3, prepaid channels.

        • Dave

          DL just posted last week that Samsung said US and international versions will all see at least 4.4. Hopefully it’s true. I still wouldn’t trade any phone on the market for my GN2.

        • boychik0830

          I do not care if I get kitkat on my phone or not but I want Samsung to fix the Verizon gs3 bugs that 4.3 caused like battery drain, apps crashing and phone lagging. it is ridiculous that neither Samsung or Verizon has done anything to fix the bugs that 4.3 caused. they all act like there are no problems with the update but there are a ton of major bugs that need to be fixed.

  • Fry

    But what do the carriers say?

  • Paul

    Ha! Their next flagship will be released with Android 4.2.2. A few months later Android 5.0 (or whatever) will be announced. 12 months later Android 5.1 is released. 6 months after that (24 months after initial flagship launch), the 4.2.2 flagship will be updated to Android 5.0. TaDa! Updates for two years, and still a version behind.

  • Morbid138

    A little too late for some people HTC… It should’ve always been like this since day one.

    • Dave

      Like all the ones who have dumped hundreds into multiple devices and gotten burned.

  • Detonation

    HTC can release the updates but isn’t it the carrier’s final say to approve it and push it out? For example, I have to believe that HTC actually had the thunderbolt ICS update done when they said they would (summer 2012) but it was Verizon that delayed it to 2013 for whatever reason (probably to make people just buy a new device instead).

    • Adrynalyne

      Yep, you are right. Thats why I commented below that this doesn’t change anything. Remember when Verizon Gnex support stopped?

      • Droid22

        Gnex support stopped because TI quit supporting mobile.

        • Adrynalyne

          So explain why gsm gnex updated to 4.3 and Verizon gnex died at 4.2.2?

          It wasn’t because of TI.

          • Guest

            GSM is at 4.4, Sprint is at 4.3 and Verizon is at 4.2.2. And yes, that’s why.

          • Adrynalyne

            Gsm is at 4.4 due to aosp only. It is not officially supported. And no its not because of TI.

          • hkklife

            No, GSM and Sprint both stopped at 4.3. VZW is stuck on 4.2.2.

          • Mike

            The 4G LTE radio drivers.

          • Adrynalyne

            Nope. That is a crock, considering the radios are from Qualcomm.

          • Mike

            Oh, I’m sorry! I forgot you know all the slightly different Qualcomm radio drivers for non-Qualcomm chipsets that Qualcomm is still unquestionably going to support. Who would know this better than you? How could i be so wrong. My apologies bud.

          • Adrynalyne

            No problem. It is easy to make a mistake.

            Especially since, you know…they are posted here, and yet no update for 4.3 made it to the Verizon Gnex.

            https://developers.google.com/android/nexus/drivers#torojwr66v

            Oh, and maybe you should try extracting them and reading the Qualcomm license agreement?

            So…AGAIN…Verizon is the one who stopped the support early.

        • jimt

          It was Verizon! Add any excuse you want but it was Verizon.

          • Droid22

            Im not arguing that vzw is evil, but since TI quit mobile there was no way to update the drivers. Roms were the only way to go.

          • jimt

            Have you seen another Nexus phone on Verizon?

          • Droid22

            Thats because they want to control the updates. If you havent heard yet nexus phones are going away too.

          • jimt

            I’ve heard, don’t like what I have heard. May have to keep my Nexus 5, forever.

          • Adrynalyne

            In case you haven’t heard, that is a rumor. We hear it almost every year.

          • michael arazan

            There will still be GPE devices in lieu of Google nexus devices. Which is fine by me as long as they are released on all 4 carriers and they come with better camera software, that seems the one thing the manufacturers can get better than Google.

          • Droid22

            This is true of gpe devices.
            More manufractures need to do what motorola has done, put software apps in the play store so they be upgraded easier.

          • Adrynalyne

            This would be a valid theory, except the drivers were updated for 4.3.

            https://developers.google.com/android/nexus/drivers#torojwr66v

            Verizon prematurely and purposely ended support for the Verizon Gnex early, killing it off at 4.2.2.

  • Ryan Gullett

    Saying this doesn’t matter at all. It will only matter when we SEE them honoring what they promise. Until then, they are still the same HTC.

    • The Narrator

      So updating to 4.4 and showing the steps is doing nothing?

  • Jpx

    Sounds good, but how long will you have to wait for those updates? I’ve had htc for 3 generations and their lack of support on their devices have really put a foul taste in my mouth. Especially now that I have moved on to instant updates with moto X, Nexus 5, and Nexus 7.

  • Adrynalyne

    One problem: Carriers in the US determine when the updates stop during that two year period. For example, Gnex support stopped way, way, before Google support did.

    So…this is just HTC blowing smoke up our arses. This changes nothing.

    • The Narrator

      To be fair, no updates would have helped the Gnex. It was already doomed.

      • Adrynalyne

        Not really relevant though for the context of this. I agree it was a crap device, but it is a perfect example for showing how little this means in the US.

        • The Narrator

          This is why all phones should be the same, just different radio versions. That way global rollouts can happen quicker.

          • Adrynalyne

            Honestly, I think they should go one step further and build devices that work on any carrier, globally. It can be done, but the US carriers have too much power to allow it.

            Then its simply one update to rule them all…

          • The Narrator

            After doing research , end if life just means stopping shipments, and advertisements. The 32gb GS3 on Verizon got EoL but it just updated to 4.3 in December.

          • Adrynalyne

            I’m not talking about eol. Verizon literally prevented the gnex from getting its final update from Google.

          • The Narrator

            That’s weird.

          • Adrynalyne

            Par for the course with Verizon.

          • hkklife

            Makes no difference. VZW is actually pretty good about updating ancient devices, if only for minor tweaks and bloatware. I can recall of the top of my head that official updates were released long after I had retired my OG Droid, Droid X, X2, Charge and Bionic. And the OMAP-based RAZRs just recently got an update and they are a full 2 generations behind now.

          • Donny

            Once CDMA and GSM are dropped, don’t we then find ourselves in the scenario you describe though? All LTE, but different bands? I would think this would make carrier approval less tedious?

          • Adrynalyne

            Sure, in 5-10 years.

            I am impatient!

      • jimt

        Also if the person (me) wanted to stick with a less than great phone, let me decide when I needed a new phone. Who knows how well it may have run if given the chance to live by Verizon?

    • jimt

      Who ever said it was 2 years? They support cars for 10 years. Is there a law?

      • Adrynalyne

        Parts of cars anyway.

        • jimt

          This whole update thing seems to be a very good reason to root and rom the phone of your choice when the updates stop. This is the ultimate reason to do same. There is no reason at that point not to.

  • Josh Carroll

    You’re sure they said “For 2 years” and not “After 2 years”?

  • Nexoduss

    Won’t believe it until 2 years from now when they’ve kept their promise.

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    • MicroNix

      While I have to somewhat agree with this statement, I think all of the major Android players learned their lesson. Anyone following Android phones from the start knows that ALL of the major players had top phones that they abandoned for updates too soon or stumbled on getting them out in a timely fashion. HTC isn’t the only one.

      • Nexoduss

        I’ve never seen an HTC phone that I even contemplated buying. That’s not gonna change anytime soon

        • MicroNix

          The Incredible and Evo were both good phones when they came out. Unless your dealings with Android phones doesn’t go back that far…

          • Abgar Musayelyan

            nexus one was an ungodly beast when it came out too.. but that was pretty much the incredible with stock android.

          • willie

            I would go back be for android phone I had the HTC Tilt and love the windows phone.

  • Carlos Lopez

    They better!