Last Updated: September 3rd, 2011

This is the latest in our Weekend Poll series. For last week's, see Do You Actually Read App Permissions Before Accepting?

Android updates are a bit of a tricky subject for all involved parties. Obviously consumers and Google are on the same page in that they want Android updates to roll out to individual devices as soon as possible. But for manufacturers and carriers, updates are costly to customize, quality test, and roll-out. Further complicating the issue, it's unclear exactly who's to blame when updates take longer than expected.

A good illustration of all these complications: the Android 2.2 update for the original Samsung Galaxy S series. At launch, Samsung promised a Froyo update to the SGS series in a timely manner, and yet it took many months for the update to ever land. Most people blamed Samsung directly and many owners swore off Samsung products for good, yet some consumers were quick to point out that the carriers also have a hand in the updates and could be at fault. Still, a look back in time suggests manufacturers are the main culprit - some seem to be better about updates across the board than others.

With all these factors in mind, do you take a manufacturer's update history into consideration when making a purchase? Sound off in the poll below, and share your feelings via the comments.

Does A Manufacturer's Android Update History Affect Your Purchasing Decision?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

    This is why I chose the Nexus S. So far I'm not looking into rooting my phone for now, and I don't have to worry about updates.

    • Skillit

      You should root, most people think that the only reason to root a Android device is to flash new roms into it, but that's only a small part of what you can do with a rooted device, research a little you will see how many new options functions and apps will become available.

      • BillyC

        Can you explain more I was thinking about doing it to my Nexus S

  • Seth

    More importantly, it affects recommendations I make to friends and family who aren't as knowledgeable about these things.

  • Zulqarnain

    No , because custom roms are better than stock so don`t worry about updates :)

  • Manadare

    I worry a lot if I can myself with the help of the community update my phone. For instance, will my next phone be CMized is very important, more than "stock update".

  • http://twocentstechnology.com Robert

    I'm not worried about updates to the Thrill I'm about to get because the specs are good enough to attract developer attention to get some Ice Cream Sandwich. Ice Cream Sandwich is crucial to me. I care more about how strong the development community is behind a device when purchasing it.

  • Elvis

    Unfortunately even being rooted a lot of time (especially for the more locked down phones) a lot of devs won't even start on the next version until an ota is put out

  • Falken

    During Google IO 2011 a small number of manufacturers and carriers promised to provide timely, consistent updates for phones up to 18 months after they’ve been purchased. It doesn't appear to have changed our purchasing decisions. I can't even remember which manufacturers agreed to do it.

  • hardin

    No more Samsung! And I tell everyone else the same. I can root my phone but I don't want to. I had to with my Samsung, the buggers gave me no choice.
    I hope for everyone's sake, all of the manufacturer's try to do a better job with updates in the future.

    Tbolt (stock and salivating over thoughts of gingerbread)

  • Enigma

    Samsung is excellent in rolling out updates. Engineers almost roll out one update every month. Whether one choose to install every update is his/her own choice, but at least it's good to know that they have an option, and not being abandoned.
    Unlike Sony Ericssion...which is known to always abandoning their followers. My friend got an Xperia X8. Officially Android 2.1 is as far as he can go, unless he's lucky when someone at xda-developers cook up newer ROMs

  • irtechneo

    I used to worry about it. After HTC and Verizon failed to give me Gingerbread on my Thunderbolt (promised by end of second quarter) I got fed up and rooted and now use DAS BAMF Sense 3.0 GB RC 4.9 . I will never go back to stock now. Custom ROMS are the way to go!

  • TBolt

    One of the many reasons I chose the Thrive tablet is because the OS is as Google intended it to be - at least, that's what the reviews said. So, I figure OS updates will come frequently. (I hope.)

  • ErsMerz

    Wont go for HTC as well anymore. Samsung does it better. Yeas, im rooted.

  • Terry

    I will never purchase from Samsung ever again. After the Samsung Moment, and being left in 2.1 while its weaker successor came with 2.2, the thought of owning another product from Samsung physically pains me.

  • Chris

    Likelihood of custom ROM support and rootability are the current primary factors in my own purchasing priority list. Generally speaking of course, the Nexus series bucks whatever manufacturer update trends but I didn't upgrade to the Nexus S from my Nexus One because I didn't consider it worthwhile based on the specs and the phones that were right around the corner.

    • Sal

      I agree with Chris. Community support for custom ROMs is more important than continued manufacturer support. I speak from experience because I still use an HTC Kaiser and have used the stock ROM only for six months for the 4 years the devices has been with me.

      • Edd

        +1 - Community support is more important than manufacturer support, but obviously the manufacturers need to enable this.

        Things like XDA are amazing resources. They're one of the best things about the Internet.

  • cosmic

    Yes, but mostly based on quick they are the release the source code for their updates. Samsung has been pretty good about this(releasing source for updates for devices outside the US). Usually leads to some pretty solid custom roms early on.

  • Coco hime

    Having a stable CM for my phone is a must have so I don't really care about manufactures updating it.

  • TheEngineer

    Yes, of course it matters. There are lots of drivers & stuff that you need to make a fast and stable custom rom, and those usually comes from the stock rom.

  • Marius

    It matters... of course. Still, i don't think it would affect me personally because i am used to custom roms or unofficial stock roms. Still, it's quite frustrating to see your friends with HTC or any other phone running Gingerbread and you are stuck with Froyo because Samsung is more worried of selling their S2 with Gingerbread instead of thinking to their actual customers...

    • cosmic

      So many of Samsung's phones outside the US were on gingerbread well before most other phones. Blame the US wireless providers when it comes to updates.

  • Edd

    I go custom ROMs all the way, and how locked-down a device is remains a huge consideration for me. But secondly, how regularly a manufacturer (HTC currently) upgrades or allows accessibility is probably one of my top three considerations. Even basic support makes a huge difference.

    Actually, it's why I've held off upgrading to the Sensation, until it's unlockable. If too much time passes I may go Samsung Galaxy II, as it's superior hardware (if not software).

  • Cpam

    With support like motorola UK, no surprise. In UK we r on 3.01??????? No news for 3.1 yet. That's way they sold 5 xoom's in UK and 1 is faulty :-)))))))

  • AC

    I chose the ThunderBolt over waiting for the Droid 3, Charge, or Bionic. I made the right choice. Top notch hardware, extended battery gives it the best in-my-hand-feeling I've ever had from a phone, and dozens of roms (including CyanogenMod) and kernels are available.

  • Matt Devo

    doesn't matter to me as long as the bootloader is unlocked and I can run Cyanogenmod. I won't buy a phone that can't do so.

  • Usman

    I basically decided that after seeing how horrible some of the OEMs were with updating, that I would just avoid the drama and stick to Nexus devices. Went from a G1 to N1 to Nexus S. I'll be buying the next Nexus as well, without a doubt.

  • http://twocentstechnology.blogspot.com Robert Dunn

    The only reason I'm not waiting for the next Nexus (Nextus) is that there is no guarantee that it will come to AT&T.

  • Sprinter

    In the case with Sprintsung & Epic, we are dependent on them to release updates along with source to cook ROMs to their full potential and beyond, as they use propriety drivers. Even CM doesn't have nightlies or official support for Epic.
    We are the Red headed step child!!!

  • zyphbear

    Yes, it makes a big influence on my device purchasing decision. I want to make sure that my device will be able to be updated as much as possible without having to root the device and possibly void the replacement warranty I'm spending the extra money on.
    Plus, I also have to consider my partner who got stuck with a G1 for 4 years (with 8 months remaining, his old G1 stopped working, but he didn't have the warranty yet, Tmo "let" him spend $50 and add 2 years to his contract to get a replacement, we will break the ETF with about 6 months left to leave tmo) and stuck that he is limited on his upgrade cycle, without being able to use some of the newest apps.
    This is why I am leaning toward the Nexus devices and hope the "prime" comes soon on all the carriers. We had leaned toward HTC, which will be a second place option. Samsung is a distant third, but they are all dragging their feet on updates and who knows if and when we will get the update for the device if we don't get a Nexus series.

    • Edd

      Oh my god, that's terrible...

  • Zachary D

    For that reason alone I will never buy a device from Motorola.

  • JH

    Yes! That's why my next Android phone will be from the Nexus line - going for the pure Android.
    I'm tired of skins linke Sense etc. Some skins are good but the pure Android is better. Pure Android is the only way to get the newest updates and not be choked in bloatware (except for rooting).

  • Danny

    I bought the Xoom (2nd hand, so I got a great price on it) specifically because it is a Google experience tab and will get updates (usually) first. My purchasing decisions and recommendations are affected by whether the device is frequently updated.

    For phones, as long as it's easily rootable, I really don't care if it gets updates frequently. However, I do recommend to friends phones which do get updates frequently.

  • Simon Belmont

    I feel that a manufacturer's update history reflects on them for how well they stand by their products. If a manufacturer is reticent or slow to update or release source code, then it feels like they do not care about their products.

    Unfortunately, with Samsung, it seemed that way with the original Samsung Galaxy S series (and others), though I am sure that the carriers were tied to the slowness too. Updates via the manufacturers should matter to people that root too because the fixes in the updates are usually incorporated into the custom ROMs anyway.

  • http://www.brokemanstech.com Juan A

    I voted No, and rooted (though I am not running a custom ROM). While I do appreciate companies that have timely updates, it is actually not the main thing I look at when I decide what type of purchase I will make (with the exception of the Google Flagships).

    The main factor I look at is the hardware on the device itself. Everything from all the features it has, to the power its pushing, to the actual build quality. I used to be a huge HTC fan but was really upset with the build quality of the Evo (which I owned) and have since then been put off HTC products. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I have been very happy with the build quality of my Epic as well as the amazing performance. It is because of this that I am looking at a Samsung phone as my next purchase.

  • Brooke Grant

    I will probably have a new Android bought outright and shipped to Canada from the USA for my next upgrade. I'm sick of Canadian carriers dragging their asses releasing new phones then ignoring updates.

    I'm also no fan of the malicious "teathering manager" software they install, or the lack of updates.

    Next time around I'll use an American phone, that way I'll have access to better ROM's.

  • tman7510

    I'm more interested in unlocked bootloaders but if the manufacturer won't release the source you are screwed even with unlocked bootloader. I'm currently looking to go to sprint,say no to AT&T,going to miss my T-mobile. Just nervous about a new phone having no developer love due to lack of source code...think SGS2 will have developer love??

  • Andy

    Yes, which is why you never ever buy a device from Motorola.

    My next phone will be a GED device like the Nexus Prime.

  • Ann

    Yup, liars at LG won't sell me another phone. They advertised with GB, and it's been 6 months (or close) and still haven't seen anything, except for rumors of it "coming in the fall". Right.. I guess that that update will be the only one, too. Especially the advertising bothers me, I wouldn't minded the wait so much if they just said: Froyo phone, will get updated in 9 months or more