Christopher Price is the Founding Editor of PhoneNews.com. Today, he leads the team building iConsole.tv - a new kind of Android™ device. He still likes to pontificate... a lot. You can visit his personal blog at ChristopherPrice.net.

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28 responses to “Droid Eris Heads for EOL, Froyo Update Not Guaranteed”

  1. Jeff

    Should any buyer of any non-Apple phone really expect a software update? It seems that only Apple has got their act together well enough to keep the older phones up to date.

    Maybe I should cancel my Evo order.

  2. Rus

    Maybe you should.

  3. JJ

    Problem with apple updates is that most of the time they mess up your jailbreak. I think you should give evo a try. I myself have the sero and since I can’t get an android unless I upgrade to the 59.99 plan I am waiting for the iphone4 and will give att a try and get the iphone.
    I just purchased the hero from best buy for $59 and tried to get them to give me a discount I was offered a couple months back and they said no so screw sprint. If I’m going to pay only a couple bucks different to get them I will just get the iphone.

  4. jay555

    JJ, I’ve gone thru the same nonsense with Sprint and I’m sick of them as well. That’s why I’m looking to switch to T-mobile (I’m just waiting for them to release an actual decent phone). But anyhow, Sprint really has no sense of customer loyalty. I’m on a legacy plan myself and I’ve been unable to upgrade to a smartphone simply because they expect me to “upgrade” my plan (as in pay way more for a lot less). I also attempted to buy the phone outright (no subsidy) but they still insisted that I had to upgrade my plan. I was also willing to reconsider my position and stick with them when I heard about the Evo but that “premium” fee was the final nail in the coffin for me. Given a choice between Sprint and ATT, I think I’d rather go with ATT also. At least they don’t charge $10 a month just cuz you bought an iPhone without actually rendering any kind of service for it.

  5. Todd

    I’m an Eris owner. After the terribly implemented update of Android 2.1 for the Eris, it is unlikely there will be an (official) update to Android 2.2. The 2.1 update seemed (to me) a poorly managed, rush-job with little to no quality control. The end result is (after spending hours resolving issues and glitches) is an Eris with some new bells and whistles… that chews through battery life faster (per active use minute) performs noticeably slower, has terrible (landscape) keyboard lag (with predictive text turned on), and a browser that crashes frequently under certain conditions when it did not prior to update.

    Android 2.2 offers a much talked about performance increase in its highly optimized code utilization. Had Android 2.1 been properly implemented for the Eris, I’m certain it would have not been so laggy. I’m even more certain that if Android 2.2 came to the Eris (again, implemented **properly**), it would have the Eris zipping along more efficiently and speedier than when first powered up out of the box.

    For whatever reason, the slightly underpowered, but more than capable Eris has never received much attention (or respect) from Verizon or HTC. I chose the Eris over the Droid late last year, after extensive research on both taking into consideration which would best suite my personal needs. The lesson I learned is to NEVER purchase a phone based on a “promised” software update. The phone’s hardware may be *capable* of doing great things… but if the software isn’t properly implemented for the chipset, it may as well be an expensive doorstop. If the carrier ain’t promoting the hell out of a device (which they did not do for the Eris), that’s a good sign they are not committed to supporting it for the 2-year long haul that most of us will need to endure to when making the purchase.

    My apologies for the slightly off-topic 2.1 rant, but it seemed relevant on the “continued support” angle.

  6. AllCarriersSux

    I guess my beef with this is that if they force you to sign a 1 year or 2 year commitment for a phone, you should be entitled to upgrades during that commitment time. If they chose to discontinue updates for a phone within your contract, then you should immediately qualify for a phone upgrade within reason. Either that or just say that the phone will be upgraded x amount of times up front so that we know what were paying for. It’s not fair to the consumer that you drop $200 on a phone perceived as new technology and that you didn’t know was end of life and wind up not even getting one upgrade. You should be told upfront that this phone is EOL and will not be receiving any future upgrades.

  7. DroidVicious

    Thats why rooting recovery and roms are a god sent!!! You can’t rely on the carriers and manufacturers to always do the right thing. The Eris still sold big numbers even with out the promotion the Moto Droid had.. Devs take so much interest in these phones that its like they are our support. You don’t need HTC or Verizon, Froyo has already been ported to the Eris, and although it’s in Alpha stage, Froyo will be up and running with or with out the carrier/manufacturer support.. There are how to’s all over the net that gives you access to make your Eris do whatever you want it to do!!! My Eris is over clocked over 800mhz I have N1 photo gallery.. Custom boot animations I have tons of stuff that my Eris makes othe Eris’s look corny… Ive had Android 2.1 on my phone since they rooted it.. Months before the sent out the OTA update, and quite frankly my 2.1 runs way better then the official 2.1…… Thanks to Jamezelle and his Sense-Able3.1

  8. JailBird

    Jeff:

    Uhh. You do realize that Apple isn’t upgrading the 1st gen iPhone? So now, Apple isn’t any better either.

  9. AllCarriersSux

    @Jeff
    Good for you Jeff, more 4G bandwidth for me, please stay on AT&T because you don’t deserve an EVO if you think that, Apple is a dictatorship company and I can’t wait for it to be ruled a monopoly and gets sanctioned and fined like M$ did by so many governments.

    @Jailbird

    I hate Apple as much as the rest of the world but we are entering year 4 of the original iPhone, I can’t expect Apple to support 4 year old technology forever…No phone ever got 3+ years of support by the manufacture so in this ONE aspect, Apple did a bang up job in my opinion. PS you still suck Jobs!

  10. Jeff

    @AllCarriersSux

    I wish I could better convey my sentiments via this board.

    I would prefer to buy hardware that I know will be supported for some time. I bought a Samsung Instinct and felt burned by the pathetic “updates”. If HTC is pulling the same BS, then shame on them. Apple is doing it right with regard to updates; will HTC? How can I find out before I get burned?

    As for AT&T, they suck. I cannot express to you the level of frustration I have with them. I had 5 bar 3G coverage for 1.5 years. With such consistent performance, I decided to upgrade early to the 3GS because my iPhone 3G was feeling slow. 3 months later AT&T changed the coverage in downtown Austin such that I drop to Edge consistently where I used to see 4+ bars of 3G. I swapped my phone, switched SIM cards, and tried other iPhones–all of them show the same coverage change. After much time on the phone with CS, they finally agreed to let me out of my contract ETF-free. Unfortunately, they won’t buy back my phones (now 3 iPhones). I’ve waited for the Evo since it looks like a good alternative, and I never had problems with Sprint service. So, my Evo order should arrive tomorrow, but I won’t bother activating it if I learn that HTC won’t provide future Android updates.

  11. JJ

    @jailbird
    Reason they are not upgrading 1st gen iphone is because it probably couldn’t handle all the files that go into an update. Its like updating the HTC Mogul to windows 7 phone. Its almost impossible.
    Plus by now all people who have the iphone gen1 will qualify for the next best thing and it would be dumb not to get it. example: 3gs at $99

  12. Christopher Price

    The reason that the first generation iPhone is not being updated is mostly due to the speed of the CPU.

    While Apple could increase the clock speed of the CPU (as they did on the 2nd generation iPod touch and iPhone 3G), then Apple would have to drop the battery life of these old devices… most of which are already suffering from battery cell decay, and thus have shortened battery life already.

    Jailbreakers have vowed to backport iOS 4 to first-generation devices, and yes, it will probably run on those… Apple doesn’t seem to be doing anything to block them from being hacked on to old devices.

    At PhoneNews.com, we’ve taken the position that a phone should at least be updated for as long as a wireless contract. In the USA, that’s typically two years, and in Canada and elsewhere it can go up to three years.

    Apple is the first, and only manufacturer, that has met those update lifecycles. We hope the rest of the industry wakes up and smells the coffee at some point.

  13. F1

    @JJ

    Congratulations on your decision, please keep up us posted, regarding your ongoing iPhone 4 experiences!

    @jay555

    I am also awaiting a “NexusOne” with a keyboard, and considering the initial feedback on the iPhone 4, however I am most curious on a possible, pending rendition of the iPhone 4″G”, on the horizon.

    @AllCarriersSux

    Excellent suggestion, to that note, I strongly recommend forwarding your idea to the FCC and or getting a petition started, and maybe even eventually get it on a ballot!
    Sadly,the Industry will never take initiative, or take a pro active stance towards it’s consumers! Hopefully, that will change someday soon, upon the creation of an “United Cellular Consumer” entity, hence, the taming of the U.S. Cellular Industry can begin.

    “A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link”

    I am truly disappointed at GOOGLE, for letting go of this rare opportunity, to either, set a higher than the APPLE set industry OS-support standard, or at the very least meet it.

    A strong,new OS does not come around that often, it would be a missed opportunity and a shame to let it go to waste at this early stage of it’s infancy and establishment.

    As “Todd” explained,the after market option, is available, that is, if you know where to look,however the typical consumer buys into a “brand name” product,relying on it’s unconditional support, for at least a reasonable length of time, as stated by “AllCarriersSux”:

    ” I can’t expect Apple to support 4 year old technology forever…”

    Thank You

  14. Christopher Price

    F1, Google can’t force any device maker to offer an Android update. Android is open source software. A device maker is under no obligation to ever issue a single Android update. Only competition forces them to do that.

  15. F1

    @ Chris

    But don’t you agree, that it makes good business sense or for GOOGLE, to at least mandate adhering to a minimal standard, as a condition for carriers to agree to carry ANDROID product?

    I am not asking for GOOGLE, to adopt the same stringent standards of enforcement as Apple, however should there not simply be set minimum standard of system growth, thereby preventing the “Name Brand”, to get dragged through the mud of disillusion, which in turn creates customer churn, due to excess laxness in implementation of minimum standards and support!?

    Ideally, should there not be happy medium,between the two extreme styles of management, anarchy vs tyranny?

    At the end of the day,GOOGLE and it’s market representation can only be as strong as it’s weakest version of ANDROID, out in the current market.

    Thank You

  16. Christopher Price

    F1, what you are asking for is legally impossible. Android is licensed under the Apache Software License, an open source license. Nobody has to get Google’s permission to run Android on their product.

    Because Android is based on Linux, anyone can modify it or use it in their products how they see fit. If you attempted what you suggest, many manufacturers would simply replace Google’s apps with Yahoo or Bing alternatives.

    I have articulated other options for Google to achieve what you suggest in the past, but Google can’t simply issue a fiat and demand compliance. Open source is a double-edged sword in that respect.

  17. F1

    Ooops

    Should read:
    But don’t you agree, that it makes good business sense for GOOGLE, to at some level mandate adhering to a minimal standard, as a precondition for carriers to have access and representation of ANDROID products.

    Thank You

  18. Christopher Price

    F1, see my last comment, your changes don’t affect it. You can’t mandate requirements for access to open source software. It’s legally impossible.

  19. F1

    @ Chris

    In that case, why does GOOGLE, not advocate independent access, via various retailing channels, i.e support in conversion of other OS such as W.Mobile system to ANDROID independently and actively support and promote custom ROM, ANDROID OS upgrades.

    Would that also constitute a violation?

    Thank you for your expertise!

  20. Christopher Price

    Google could support cooked firmwares. The problem is less than .1% of users would know how to install them, let alone configure them.

    In short, they wouldn’t ever be used by enough of the user base to convince manufacturers to update their devices. Microsoft saw that first hand with unofficial Windows Mobile upgrades.

  21. F1

    Well, maybe I am expecting too much, that would not be the first time, however I know if I had any capacity at GOOGLE, I would certainly remind Mr.Smith, that the difference in excellence is always in the fractions.

    The less than .1% could surely create a simplified process for the rest of the interested population. As they say: “where is a will, there is a way”!

    Microsoft on the other hand, is most likely the main motivation for others to join ANDROID to begin with.

    As far as the manufacturers are concerned, it would cut into their short term revenue, in other words a conflict of (short term) interest,as you well know, the “longterm standard” ship, has long left the harbor!

    Once again,

    Thank you!

  22. Christopher Price

    Very few people at this point are buying Windows Phones that would be interested in converting them to Android.

    Most Windows Phone sales at this point are going into corporate environments, or to people that use them in corporate environments.

    Older devices (HTC Kaiser, Treo Pro, etc) aren’t powerful enough to run Android today. So, those people would be ruled out as well.

    Again, you’re talking niches of niches here. It isn’t going to convince decision makers at any manufacturer, even if some astronomical number like 10% of Windows Phones were converted to Android.

    And if it doesn’t convince those decision makers at manufacturers, they’re going to stick with their old ways of not updating. Plain and simple.

    The only way decision makers will change their minds, is if customer satisfaction surveys yield a significant number of customers ditching a brand because of poor updates. Situations like the Samsung Behold II saga are good examples of this. Samsung now will probably never commit to another Android update again until it is out the door and in testing.

  23. F1

    @Chris

    What does this, if anything potentially mean?

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/11/sprint-to-begin-throttling-data-this-summer/

    Thank You

  24. Christopher Price

    It’s nothing new. Clear does the same thing on Clear 4G.

    Basically, if you download hundreds of gigabytes and use EVO 4G as your primary internet connection… expect slower speeds when the network is being overloaded.

    Same deal with Comcast, and probably at some point all internet providers.

    Clear offers business plans that aren’t really affected by this as much (if at all) and I suspect at some point, just like Clear and Comcast, Sprint will roll out a business-class tier that is not throttled.

    Bandwidth and throttling is not an unlimited resource. But, at the same time, it is not something the competitive landscape should overlook. We at Newsroom Network are working on a response to remind people of this… and encourage further competition between providers in both capping and throttling connections.

  25. F1

    @ Chris

    As in the past, thank you for the clarification!

  26. F1
  27. Josh

    I personally bought a Moto Droid the week they were released and my wife bought a HTC Droid Eris. Within another week, I returned my Moto Droid for the HTC. With $100 back in my pocket, the Eris does everything the Moto Droid does and weighs MUCH less, plus has the Sense UI. I couldn’t carry that brick around in my pocket.

    I waited anxiously for the 2.1 update. Then I waited some more…..and about 6 months after they first announced it, I got it and was DISGUSTED. It’s glitchy and not worth the wait. So I’ve turned to sites such as xda-delevopers.com, thefuzz4.net, theunlockr.com, and youtube. I knew absolutely nothing about rooting a phone and within a week I was rooted. There’s so many advantages to being rooted and a hand full of developers are CONSTANTLY working on new roms and updates. Screw Verizon and HTC support. These guys are now my support. They’ve already created a 2.2 rom that they’ll release as soon as they fix a few bugs. So I’m sure I’ll be running Froyo way before Eris gets an OTA….if they ever do.

  28. Dan

    I will NEVER buy HTC products EVER AGAIN! I am very upset that HTC refuses to update the Eris. I told them I will never purchase anything they put out because they obviously do not care about the consumer. I am also angry with Verizon for hoisting this crappy Eris on me knowing full well that it will never be updated. As soon as my two years is up, I am leaving Verizon and going without a cell phone. I am sick of these companies taking advantage of us.

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