14
Feb
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As part of a Reddit AMA earlier this afternoon, HTC announced that it would support all "flagship" devices with Android OS updates 2 years from their release date - though the promise was specifically conditioned as being to North America only. The bit about North America was added after the original statement was made, so it looks like HTC might have initially overpromised just a bit. Here's the whole quote:

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 North America flagship devices going forward with all major Android updates for 2 years after their release date.

Still, this should mean that if you buy a high-end HTC device in the US or Canada (and it meets HTC's definition of "flagship"), you'll get two years of OS updates. It's not clear what exactly that 2 years means, though. Whether support will encompass all Android updates released in that time frame or merely that HTC will provide updates for a 2-year window. Those interpretations could potentially have different end results.

HTC is currently the only OEM I am aware of that has actually concretely laid out such a promise, though Google's Nexus line of devices have long received a little under 2 years of update support, a number Google once tried to get phone OEMs to agree to officially.

HTC's promise, though, comes in the same breath as the company's explanation regarding its failure to update the Tegra 3-based One X and One X+ to the latest version of Android, or even beyond version 4.2, neither of them having been out a full two years. The chip manufacturer, NVIDIA, was to blame - without chipset support for newer versions of Android running on Tegra 3, HTC claims it was essentially forced to halt further development. While HTC has exclusively powered its high-end phones with Qualcomm processors since, this remains a shining example of the lack of certainty the future can bring.

With quarterly losses mounting, you also have to wonder: will the HTC that made this promise even be around in 2 years to keep it? I guess we'll have to take them at their word.

Reddit

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Bill Stebbins

    *ahem* Thunderbolt 4G #neverforget

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I'm pretty sure everyone would like to forget the Thunderbolt.

    • taxi333

      dat hashtag

    • Catherine Roberts

      my&nbspbest&nbspfriend's&nbspstep-aunt&nbspΜ­­­­­­а­­­­­­K­­­­­­е­­­­­­ѕ&nbsp$­­­­­­­­­­­­­70/hr&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspі­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r­­­­­­ո­­­­­­е­­­­­­τ.&nbspShe&nbsphas&nbspbeen&nbsplaid&nbspoff&nbspfor&nbspseven&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ­­­­­­ѕ&nbspbut&nbsplast&nbspΜ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ&nbspher&nbspincome&nbspwas&nbsp$­­­­­­­­­­­­­19009&nbspjust&nbspW­­­­­­ο­­­­­­r­­­­­­King&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspі­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r­­­­­­ո­­­­­­е­­­­­­τ&nbspfor&nbspa&nbspϜ­­­­­­е­­­­­­W&nbspհ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­rs.&nbspcheck&nbspout&nbspthis&nbspѕ­­­­­­і­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е,...&nbsphtt&#112&#x3A&#x2F&#47Profitbeatsinvalentineday2014rlsftsj7am&#x2E&#113&#114&#46&#110&#x65&#116&#47&#111&#x50&#90&#82

      ♛♛♛ ♛♛♛⫩ ♛♛♛ ♛♛♛︨♛ ♛♛♛ ♛♛♛I can't justify spending money on their products again.

  • miri

    The real question is how many updates will they get and how soon?

    • mustbepbs

      Considering they've been promising a DNA update since August/September, they'll "support" their phones for two years, but only manage to get an update or two out.

      • Ricardo Neves

        That's because the DNA will jump straight to 4.4.2

        • mustbepbs

          We'll see. I've been hearing broken HTC promises since the Thunderbolt and Rezound.

          • Ricardo Neves

            I was also disappointed that the Sensation didn't get Jelly Bean. But HTC seems different now, i hope they continue like this. Anyways carrier-specific phones are always a hit and miss. The One didn't get any of those and it's getting updated regularly, its better this way. I hope the same happens with the M8 and it's siblings.

      • David Dudovitz

        The DNA did already get updated to 4.2.2, which is what they were promising in September (as KK didn't exist yet.)

      • Guest123

        If that. . . they'll give an "update" and say, well we did support the device for two years. . . bla, bla, bla.

        Until they put it in writing that devices will get a full "upgrade" within ___ days from google releasing it, and for x years. . . it's all word smithing.

        And, not leave you with a final "update" that is a buggy POS that pretty much makes the device unusable.

  • mgamerz

    The carriers would like to have a word with you HTC. Meeting in 5.

  • taxi333

    Please Verizon get the M8 ASAP

  • Fry

    That's like verizon saying their going to start unlocking bootloaders. In other words, I'll believe it when I see it.

    • WestFiasco

      I agree with you there, I like HTC's style when it comes to phone design and custom overlay but , unless I see them supporting the One longer than they supported my One X+. I can't justify spending money on their products again.

      • TY

        They say blame NVIDIA, and I kind of believe them because of their fast updates to the One.
        Yet another reason not to buy Tegra (for both customers and OEMs...). It's sad because I am excited for Denvar K1's performance, especially the fact that they are not going into the core number war.

        • Stefan van Manen

          Well nVidia isn't to blame for HTC not updating the HOX to 4.3 since nVidia released sources for 4.3.

          • Chris

            But not for the Tegra with LTE radios which are in the One x/x+

          • Kuzy

            Tegra3 version from One X/X+ has no LTE/4G

          • Chris

            The tegra 3 in the original in the international One X didn't have it, correct, the One x+ did. However, with there being 3 variations of the phone, and one of them having LTE and being the newest model (One x+) it wouldn't have been easy or fair for all the customers to only update for the ones who had a supported model.

  • Francois Roy

    HTC says; Samsung does.

    • Fry

      Are you from another planet?

    • WestFiasco

      Touchwiz, is a no for me.

      • Francois Roy

        Oh, it is a big no for me too; I'm rocking Nexus-es 5 & 7 !!

        That being said, the S2 went from 2.3 all the way up to 4.1.. the S3 has 4.3, will have 4.4 very soon, and you can be sure the S4 still have a full 2 years of updates ahead.

        Samsung don't need to take on Reddit; everybody knows it's going to happen.

        • Me

          2.3 to 4.1 is only two updates…

    • Android Developer

      I wonder though how many of the tens (if not hundreds) of devices that Samsung releases get updates for the long run, or at least 18 months...

      it's a sad story for all manufacturers' devices. not just Samsung or HTC.

      For now, the only way to revive your device is custom ROMs, and maybe a nexus that Google itself won't ditch ...

  • B3astofthe3ast

    Nexus 7 2012?

    • WestFiasco

      That's the first thing that came to mind but, that's a Google device I'm sure they can get their technicians to work something out. They have the money afterall and let's face it, HTC doesn't.

    • ProductFRED

      ASUS.

    • RaviShah

      Different versions of Tegra 3 on the one x and the nexus 7

  • Simon Belmont

    The Nexus 7 (2012) is running a Tegra 3 and it's on Android 4.4.2. I'm also pretty sure NVidia is still supporting the Tegra 3 chipset.

    Also, does this "flagship" device comment mean the original HTC One will see another year's worth of updates? My brain hopes for a yes, but my gut says that it's a no.

    • miri

      They did also say "New".

      • Simon Belmont

        Yup. I just read their actual response on reddit.

        It's "going forward" so that doesn't seem to include the M7. Oh well. My guess is they'll give it one more Android update (after Android 4.4.2) and then it's over. Just my two cents.

    • Francois Roy

      Believe it or not, Nvidia released Android 4.3 and 4.4 BSP (Board support package) for the Tegra 3 T30 and T30L chips but not the AP33 version used on the international One X. (And LG's Optimus 4XHD, for that matter)

      HTC decided they can't afford to update only the Snapdragon-powered version because they both share the same name and would make things worse.
      That's why the EVO LTE (which is a rebranded S4 One X) is quietly getting 4.3 while the One X-es are stuck on 4.2.1

      Simple as that. =(

      • George Cordos

        What I don't understand is WHY Nvidia decided to drop support for these versions. You don't just drop support for a product that powers many devices. Maybe Nvidia told HTC it was planning to not support the chipset more than 4.2.2 and HTC just didn't care. Or maybe HTC did not insist for continued support. Why doesn't anyone ask Nvidia for an official comment???

        • Mike Reid

          How about,... because HTC had no contract for NVidia update, and didn't want to pay for said update.

          It's oh so convenient to blame your supplier. Supplier wants to sell more, so they shut up and take the "blame".

          That's how business works.

          Like politicians, you can tell when HTC is lying. It's when their lips are moving.

      • Stefan van Manen

        I wonder if nVidia can just drop support that quickly. As far as I understand they only support untill Android 4.2.2 for the AP33, or is there a 4.3 BSP for the AP33?
        HTC bought a lot of Tegra 3 chips from nVidia so I think they can get nVidia to release a 4.3/4.4 BSP. I have a feeling Google did that so they could release 4.4 for the Nexus 7 first gen.

    • George Cordos

      Well the international One X and One X+ do not have LTE. So they could update it.

  • Craig Nelson

    Thats nice. I'm still waiting on my HTC one on At&t to be updated to 4.4.2

    • Chris

      That's probably more AT&T's fault buddy, other carriers already have it.

  • http://about.me/jovanphilip Jovan Philip

    I'll take that with a grain of salt. Edit: Maybe the whole bottle instead?

    • Guest

      Your salt comes in a bottle? Mine comes in a 65 cent paper tube.

  • Roy Riddex

    Where's the commitment for the rest of the world HTC? You treat me as second class you lose my business

    • Ricardo Neves

      North American flagships are usually available worldwide, except carrier-specific models.

      • Roy Riddex

        That may be the case but these have traditionally been updated separately, unless the phones are international versions

      • Roy Riddex

        Also, why would HTC specifically mention North America if they actually meant 'worldwide'?

        • Ricardo Neves

          I think they mean they will only make that commitment to flagships that are available in the North American market. It wouldn't be too hard to make those updates compatible with the International Version, unless they have a different chipset like the One X.

    • Jonathan Ly

      Maybe you should have read the AMA, so should the Android Police crew. This was the North American product team that was doing the AMA, as such, the promises can only really be made for the North American region.

  • beboo

    why only North America? what about the rest of the world

  • jj

    even though everybodys on the Samsung bandwagon, you have to admit HTC makes quality phones. everybody seems to only focus on the quarterly earnings.

  • Severo Rivera

    This would be awesome if HTC stays true to there word.

  • Plazmic Flame

    I think this means that one can expect at least one update, which would depend on the release date of the device. Also... this also goes to show how much of a problem it is to update forked-versions of Android. If everyone went stock, it wouldn't be an issue.

  • FrillArtist

    Blah....blah....blah. They've said this before and ditched devices. Also definition of "flagship" might vary from person to person. How about they be specific at the time of release of each phone and say this phone will be supported for 2 years and not just "flagship".

  • Anthony Johnson

    Lol! I am also confused with this 2 year policy statement
    they had given related to Android updates. Hope sinking HTC will survive in
    this tough marketplace to keep up their promise.

  • usaff22

    They also a announced that they would be entering the wearables market before Christmas/December this year. Also in the AMA

  • Nir Galon

    too little, too late..

  • n_a_v

    They also promised last year that they'd only release 1 flagship per year...so they're going to update 1 phone for 2 years?

  • เกรียนเทพ ดี อันลิมิเตด

    This is just wrong. Why didn't they say that they will always update their devices to the latest Android version over 2 years period? I mean 2 years is just a gimmick. If they decided to give an update once a year, the situation on Android's fragmentation will not change.

  • coolguy7864u

    I am done with the HTC, it hasn't even been an year since I bought the HTC One X+, phones older than it are getting updates, If the chip is not supporting the latest android architecture, how come custom ROMs are working fine on the chipset they are blaming for the lack of updates.

    They should at least be honest about their reasons, not just try and retain the customers with false promises.

    As I stated, I am going to change from HTC and would recommend my friends not to buy it.

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