The wireless industry hasn’t quite got it yet. I’ve penned countless editorials on this site, dating back to 2003, begging the industry to wake up on the importance of a steady stream of firmware updates.
One reason Apple is kicking the industry’s butt is that iPhone keeps getting firmware updates. No, not iPhone 3G, and not iPhone 3GS, but the first iPhone. Apple continues to backport firmware for a device they don’t sell anymore. Does HTC do that? Nope, they’ve already cut support for their first Android phones on most carriers. Does Samsung do that? It took a community white paper to convince them to fix the bugs in their SCH-i8910 Symbian superphone.
No, folks, the industry still doesn’t get it. People expect their phones to last longer than their contracts, and only Apple delivers that. Granted, Apple does a lot of stuff that can only be described as communistic. But, one thing they get right is what average users expect… and they typically beat that.
Case in point is today’s buried failure of the SMT5800. The average eBay value of this phone has fallen below the Motorola RAZR. Why? Because the firmware wasn’t maintained. Had it been maintained, we would have seen EV-DO Rev A, Windows Mobile 6.1, and yes, dare I say, Windows Mobile 6.5 and beyond. GPS should have been there in the first place, no excuses there.
Companies try their quirky tactics, such as forced firmware updates. It doesn’t matter if it’s Palm or Verizon, we nail them for their lame efforts that miss the mark. Palm got our message and stepped up with native code. But where are the carriers stepping up, promising that devices will have to launch with firmware support timeframes? Where are the lifecycles that go beyond the contracts?
In short, I’m angry. The SMT5800 should have been a killer phone. It should have seen a successor. But the industry still has its head stuck in a pre-iPhone mentality. At PhoneNews.com, we’re already in a post-iPhone mentality… and we’ve butted heads with far too many in the industry that just don’t get it.
So, for 2010, we’re going to buck the trend. We’re going to bring consumers through this, and let the chips fall where they may. We’re going to tell consumers how to rise above this mindset that plagues the industry. Hopefully, maybe, just maybe, the industry will wake up in the process.