Christopher Price is the Founding Editor of PhoneNews.com. Today, he leads the team building Console, Inc. - 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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6 responses to “Editorial: Shot Heard Round the Phone World – Firmware Does Matter”

  1. Nanfy

    Apple and Palm are selling a platform. They want all users of there devices to get updates to drive the platform forward. I’m been saying this very same thing on several posts awhile back.
    Companies, namely HTC are only interested in selling phones. They rather you just buy a new phone if your old one has bugs. Google should FORCE device makers using android compulsory updates. The old G1 should get android 2.1. Microsoft with WM7 should control 100% of the software that goes on the phones, similar to the model that google is doing with the nexus one.

  2. Christopher Price

    The boat may have sailed on branding Google Experience with guaranteed updates, but I think Google could still create a more premium brand.

    Android – No Google support
    Android with Google – Google Experience apps (market, maps, etc).
    Android with “Google Plus” – Guaranteed three years of Android OS updates, cloud sync services, etc.

    That would work.

  3. don

    Their is a simple reason that cellphone companies and cellphone makers like HTC, Sanyo and other do not maintain firmware updates like apple does. It’s all about the money. First off it costs money to produce the updates, they have to test, and verify with the phone company that it works. This process from what i was told can take 6 months to do.

    Second and most important reason is that the cellphone companies will make money off of you. If you are just one year into your contract you might have to pay full price for a newer phone that does not have the issue your current phone has like the Sprint HTC PPC6600 was to have a firmware upgrade to EVDO, sprint said so then changed their mind telling people to purchase the HTC PPC6700 with EVDO. Sprint and HTC makes more money this way, and if you extend your contract they make money longer.

  4. Christopher Price

    Neither of those reasons hold water anymore. Competition killed the excuse star.

    All those “analysts” that are in shock that iPhone has outpaced Windows Mobile, need to get their heads out of their pre-iPhone mindsets, and stop harkening back to laughing at my circa-2003 editorials. The fact that the industry still doesn’t get, is the joke.

    Like the American auto industry learned, a sub-standard product will hurt you for decades to come. If the industry doesn’t react with multi-year commitments on firmware, Apple could easily become the Microsoft of the phone industry.

  5. Nanfy

    I’ve already given up on MS. For me to even look at windows mobile 7, its going to have to knock my socks off, make me breakfast, and mow my lawn. MS’s plan is to still make money of off licenses. From a consumer perspective, this is a flawed model for the mobile space. MS will care less about regular updates, instead forcing you to buy a new phone. The ball right now is in Apple’s court and so far Palm. Hopefully Palm will remain faithful to their core base and update the pre/pixi for years come. Palm has stated that they are selling a platform (webOS) and they want it to succeed.

    Android is in a different boat. I think google should FORCE handset makes to guarantee regular android updates in order to receive the full suite of Google services( maps, calendar, gmail, goggles and more) While android is free and open source, these apps are NOT. So if a handset makers wants to provide them, they have to guarantee google 3 years of updates, I’m not talking about bug fixes only, but full version android OS updates. Look at the iphone 2g. Its running Iphone OS 3.0 and it launched with 1.0.

    What do you think Chris.

  6. Christopher Price

    The problem with Google “simply demanding” that device makers add in mandatory upgrading, is that the manufacturers can just pull a Dell and make their own branch of Android, sans Google completely.

    The only way for Google to get manufacturers to agree to upgrade devices consistently, will be to appease them with additional features and services, the “with Google plus” concept that I touched on previously.