Google’s Queru reiterates carriers are often to blame for slow updates, says ICS adoption takes longer due to different framework


With news of Sony’s Tablet P receiving Ice Cream Sandwich and after the revelation that Google is back to selling their own devices, known Google Jean-Baptiste Queru took to Google+ to lay some of his thoughts out on the table.

He says Sony got the upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich out so fast (even though they weren’t the fastest) because they contribute a lot of what they did with their tablets back to the Android Open Source Project. Since they already had a grasp on a lot of the things that make up the inner workings of Ice Cream Sandwich, they didn’t need as much testing as other manufacturers.

He says other tablet manufacturers take long because the framework differences going from Android 3.2 to 4.0 on tablets is more different than one would think. They say phones launched with Gingerbread take even longer because the difference is far greater — this, we already knew. What’s more interesting is that Queru was frustrated about some Nexus devices who either received Ice Cream Sandwich late, or haven’t received the latest versions yet.

With that, he’s ecstatic that Google’s back to selling devices of its own which allow them to better control the upgrade process. There has yet to be a Galaxy Nexus launched by a GSM carrier in America, so the illusion that the idea of a “true” Nexus phone being dead is far more overstated than it should be.

With CDMA carriers, proprietary network provisions, activation processes, and code most be taken into account, so the carriers control much of the testing and the OTA process. It’s alarming that less than 3% of known Android users are on Ice Cream Sandwich and we’re already talking about Jelly Bean (or whatever the final name may end up being).

More than anything, his thoughts let us know that this should be expected as the norm now. Even going from one sub-version of Ice Cream Sandwich to the next will take a month or two, and that’s just the way things have to be with the advent of custom skins and carrier testing. Read his full post at Google+.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Bloatware. Another reason to purchase the contract free Nexus from Google, so I can get unfettered updates. 

    Why can’t anyone else see that? Just look at the other posts on this site every time a new device is released. The hype and excitement over a phone loaded with crap that may or may not get updates. We’re like sheep. All it takes is hours and hours of commercials and we believe anything. 


    1. People just don’t want to fork over $600 up front. Yes, I know that unsubsudized can be more cost effective, but that’s a lot of money to pay for a lot of people who find that $200 up front is hard to swallow.

      It’s just like the income tax withholding. If the people of the USA had to actually write a check every year for the taxes they owed, they’d scream their lungs out.

      1. I write a check every year to pay my taxes. I understand it part of life. What I don’t understand is the people who get $2000 refunds every year and act like it’s a bonus or treat. That’s money you could of had during the year. Divide that $2000 by 12 and that’s how much extra a month you could spend on a car, apartment/house, or groceries. 

        By the way….I ordered the Nexus as I am on T Mobile. I got pissed when the G2 I have(which I bought off contract) went end of life after 7 months. It’s a great device, but without any future, why? 

        1. that’s how i felt about my G2. my regret is not getting the gsm version for my nexus. the verizon bill is ridiculous!  

      2. It’s only $600 if you want to be first.  5 months later it’s $400, and you can take it to any of the, er, 2 big GSM carriers in the US.

  2. There has yet to be a Galaxy Nexus launched by a GSM carrier in America” – who needs the carriers to “launch” when Google sells direct?

    1. Well Google wasn’t selling it up until the other day. And some people appreciate having a carrier-specific device. What if they want LTE or something else? What if they’d rather not pay for an non-subsidized device (even if it is relatively cheap compared to others)? Google can’t provide that. Not to mention, I was just making a point that, up until recently, the only Galaxy Nexus phones supported in America were on CDMA carriers and they handle updates for a number of reasons. I made the point to clarify why Verizon hasn’t gotten 4.0.2 and how it isn’t Google’s fault.

      1. Why can’t they provide LTE?  That comment makes absolutely no sense.

      2. I certainly agree that it’s not Google’s fault, but the entire US “subsidized” phone system is really is to blame… And at the time of publication of this article, I already have my Galaxy Nexus running on T-Mobile, so I’m not sure that the fact that Google “wasn’t selling it up until the other day” is pertinent…

    2. I’d rather have the ability to walk into a T-Mobile store and see a physical device than order one from the internet/play store.

      1. True but I can say that after 3 Nexus phones I have yet to be disappointed.

        1. thats because youre an android fanboy. why would anyone expect anything else

          1. And Windows 7, OSX, Windows Phone and iOS. I use all of them everyday.

  3. I really thought the update process was going to be a lot easier and more timely with ICS.  The sad thing is that I already expect my TMO GS2 to not get Jellybean…

    1. It hasn’t really gotten any better since the first phone that was late with updates in 2009 the Samsung Galaxy (GT-i7500). They always take around 5 to 6 months and usually only get one major update. Lucky for me I have always stayed with the Google phones since 2008.

  4. But here’s the thing that still pisses me off.  You have the Wi-Fi XOOM that has had ICS for freakin’ 3 months, and my LTE XOOM has yet to see the update.  It’s the same freaking device, other than the radio, which cannot take 3+ months to figure out.

    Then you have the Verizon Nexus, which has been sitting on 4.0.2 since launch day, with some issues that I can’t believe haven’t been resolved yet, like mic muting and regularly dropped calls.  Not to mention “Android OS” using FAR more battery life than it should and the keyboard lag in landscape orientation.  Then all of the sudden, Sprint launches the GNex and it’s got freakin’ 4.0.4.

    It’s ridiculous, but still not worth leaving Verizon for AT&T or Sprint or T-Mobile.  Not even remotely close to worth it.  I guess I’m just hoping that LTE and VoLTE will create a world where Google can sell handsets directly for all carriers, including Verizon.

    1. Unlikely.  But a man can hope, right?

    2. Yeah that Android OS also eats a lot of battery on my GSM version but I must say that even though that looks bad this phone still last 2 to 3 times longer than my previous phones the Nexus S, Nexus One, Google Ion and G1. All those others had almost the same exact battery life with my normal usage which we all know varies from person to person and use it exactly the same as I did when I had the others. I have heard that the LTE version does have horrible battery life from people who have used both versions.

      1. Well, unless they completely changed how ICS reports Android OS’ usage of battery life, something is going on. My LTE XOOM (Honeycomb) has been off the charger for 36 hours, has 41 percent remaining and Android OS accounts for 12% of battery use. My LTE Galaxy Nexus has been off the charger for 5 hours, has 60% remaining, and showing Android OS as using 27%, with “keep awake” running for 2 hours, 26 minutes and 10 seconds.

        1. Here is a screen shot of mine this morning.

          1. Exactly, Android OS at 30% is absurd compared to Honeycomb and Froyo.  Either they changed the reporting, or something is going on.  Battery usage doesn’t just double (or more) just because of a new OS version.

          2. No no no, I have been getting this battery life since I bought the phone in November and I’m on 4.0.2, I haven’t got the newest update yet.

          3. I know. I don’t see how Android OS’ usage jumped from Honeycomb (or Gingerbread) to ICS. It’s using double compared to either.

          4. Also there was one time when my phone did double in battery life from an update, it was when the G1 went 1.1 to 1.5 in 2009.

          5. Android_OS is reporting that much usage because you’re on 4.0.2 (which has a cosmetic bug, it’s not really using that much).

          6. Oh ok, I didn’t really care because this phone has great battery life. I was just showing that loser ckeegan that my version also showed the same thing. 

            I just got 4.0.4 about 5 minutes ago.

  5. It would be nice if they would also sale the cdma galaxy nexus on the play store for the same price as the gsm nexus…..they also release the update as late as they do is because all the OEMs skin and carrier crap that they put on the devices….

    1. They were but Verizon wouldn’t let them. Do you remember this:

  6. For me Its only a tease that Google has begun to sell phones on their own. I’m already set up at a grandfathered unlimited, subsidized billing price. I have been eligible for an upgrade for almost a year. Lets say I want to buy a device from Google. AT&T won’t suddenly lower my monthly bill because my current phone isn’t subsidized. I called them and asked one time if a new customer was to begin a contract already having a phone would their contract rate be lower, and they said no. They said they charge the same rate whether you get a phone from them or bring your own. Are all the other carriers this way? Its hard for me to justify buying the phone outright from Google if I don’t benefit from lower monthly charges. (Except for better software updates of course).

    1. Yep.  I’m in the same boat with AT&T.  I believe only T-mobile offers what should be required by law for all providers: a separate monthly rate in cases where you own your on phone (either by a purchasing without a subsidy, or after a subsidized phone contract period is over).  

      This is the number 1 issue on cell phone regulation for me in the US.  I wish our politicians felt the same.

      1. Well said.  In the US, forget the big carriers, look into one of the MVNOs, like Straight Talk, same 850/1900 HSPA service as AT&T, since it uses their towers, for half the price.  You will save enough in less than one year to pay off the phone.

        Seriously, it’s time we recognize the carriers for what they are, a dumb pipe.  Would you buy your hi-def TV from your cable company?  Now imagine if that TV only worked with that cable provider, and had features arbitrarily stripped out, and you were locked into a multi-year monthly payment, just for a little discount up front.  Even worse, imagine if your brand-new Samsung HDTV had the words “Comcast” printed front center ;-)

    2. T-mobile offers reduced rates.

  7. If I was on a GSM carrier I would definitely pick up the G-Nex from Google. As i’m wiht Verizon, I’m about to sell my soul for another two years to get one. Maybe after this contract is up, I’ll give up the contract BS and switch to the best GSM carrier at that time, contract free.

    1.  I’m contract free right now. Bought my last phone used off craigs list. But… I’m really not seeing much benefit to being contract free. I guess I can go out and buy phones outright more often with out worrying about contract obligations. But I don’t wanna spend several hundred dollars on a phone that much more often than a year and a half to two years. Maybe if I was one of the types that likes to have more than one phone, or an early adopter.

      1. One benefit is being able to tell your carrier to shove it anytime they do something you don’t like, and go to another one.

    2. contract or no, its about service.  even with a great phone, its useless on a subpar carrier.  You may have ATT working well in your area, but vzw has provided amazing service for me. Im not worried about a contract if i have good service, and im also unwilling to give up unlimited data!  

      1. Service and unlimited data are big reasons I’m sticking with Verizon. However, in two years, I doubt they will still grandfather in unlimited data. And I live near LA, so T-mobile gets really good service out here. I know the don’t have LTE, but that could change in two years (If they are still around). I will never go back to AT&T.

        The main reason is I want to leave Verizon is updates. Verizon has a lockdown on what they push over their network. The GSM G-Nex has already recieved 3 updates (I believe). Verizon G-Nex has gotten one, on the day it launched.

        1. not smart with contracts, but im on the fence with that thought.  part of me says they will keep unlimited to their loyal old customers; part says when upgrading to new phone, they will make you sign a new contract without unlimited.  I would think that they have so many new customers, the amount of unlimited customers wouldnt matter.

          yeah, vzw updates are drawn out and take forever.  i think they are slowly coming around…they have the freakin galaxy nexus for eff’s sake.  updates or not, its the hottest phone out there!

          1. I’m 98% sure they will kill unlimited data for everyone within the next 2 years. Virgin and Boost just did it to their users, so whats to stop Verizon. They’re money hungry and we know this.

            I don’t think they’re coming around to faster updates. They do have the Galaxy Nexus, but like I said, it’s already two versions behind every other Galaxy Nexus out there. the purpose of a Nexus is straight from Google updates, and Verizon is killing that. On the latest update schedule, the Galaxy Nexus isn’t even listed and they have a update for the Inc2 that is ready, but they just aren’t pushing for some reason. When Jelly Bean arrives and the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is still rocking ICS while the rest (GSM, Sprint) get the update, I’ll be furious.

  8. Blaming carriers for slow updates?

    Need I remind everyone of the disgusting spectacle that was the Nexus S ICS update?
    “Newest and greatest updates before everyone else” yeah my ass, the damn update was out for T-mobile phones only on December 16th for what? 5 minutes? Before they pulled the damn thing and remained 150% silent about it until GSM nexus s users got 4.0.4 like what? March? GOOGLE couldn’t keep up with ONE phone, and they’re going to blame carriers and OEMs? Puh-lease. 

    1. Well one update mess up is better then 50 of them in the last 4 years from all the OEM’s. Lucky for the two people I know with the Nexus S I had them manually update 4.0. 

      It is sad that they made even one mistake and they should die. /s

      1. they [moderated] up the update for gingerbread for the nexus 1 too, dont you remember? [obscene rant moderated]

        baaaaah google android baaaaaaah open baaaaaaah widgets baaahhhhhh

        1. WOW what the [moderated] is your problem? 2.3 went out to the Nexus One one month after the Nexus S came out, now SHUT THE [moderated] UP or GET THE [moderated] OUT!

          Edit: Please tell me about one other phone that got the newest update in less then one month after it was released.

          1. don’t worry about that dude, he just comes into Android related forums to put down the os so he can justify to himself that he made the right choice in getting an iPhone, the only person hes fooling is himself >.> 

          2. I got pissed because we were talking normally in the comments above and then BAM he went all bat shit crazy on me.

        2. at least we have more baaaaaahhhs, apple fanboy : apple logo baaaaah, the end. 

    2. amen. don’t let the blind fanboys distract you from the real issues google has.

    3. Yup, “newest and greatest updates before everyone else” is right. How many other existing phones got ICS updates before the Nexus S got 4.0.4? If you’re unhappy with the service Google provides, you’re free to buy from someone else. If you’re unhappy with the pace of innovation in Android, you’re free to abandon the platform for one of its competitors.

      But do you really believe that iOS or WP7 are further ahead or moving faster? It’s a subjective question, of course, but I feel that Android is currently more powerful and functional, and continuing to widen the gap. Whether my ICS update took four days or four months doesn’t change that.

      I will agree that Google should be more communicative than they are.

  9. The bottom line here is something that no Android fan, myself included, really wants to admit. Google screwed this one up pretty bad by letting the devices vary so greatly and leaving it to the carriers/mfrs. to implement OS updates. Bad, bad idea and I don’t see how this ends well for anyone.

    Many of the mfrs. are incredibly lazy and are basically using Android to turn a quick buck and secure a seat at the mobile-device “big kid’s” table. It’s like the little red hen story, where none of these guys are interested in helping Google “bake the bread” so to speak, but are more than happy to line up for a slice. Once they sell a device to you, they are on to designing the next one (their 20th Android phone that year) rather than focusing on providing ongoing support for existing models. 

    I’m ashamed to even write it but this is where Apple has Google in a bind – for all the shortcomings of iOS and the iPhone, at least you KNOW you will get the new updates the day they are released, and that Apple will continually work to improve the experience for existing customers rather than leaving them in the dust like a bad one night stand.

    1. And for the record I own a VZW Galaxy Nexus, had an Evo before that so I’m not trolling.

    2. 100% agreed

    3. bingo. must read for the stupid android fanboys out there. they probably still won’t realize how much their getting [moderated] though.

      1. Im an android fanboy, but i still would rather have slow updates then a operating system that’s half efficient and only half the functionality, how long did it take apple to release a OTA updates to fix a battery issue? 2 months ? 
        EDIT: They still haven’t fixed the battery issue caused by the iCloud implement

    4. I don’t agree. I don’t think Android would have succeeded in the way that it has if Google hadn’t allowed everyone the freedom to use it for their own purposes. No one else has found another successful model for competing with the iPhone yet. That might well mean there isn’t one.

      Anyhow, the result of this approach is a huge, varied Android ecosystem. For consumers, that means you need to be smart and careful about what you buy. Android is easy to use and hard to buy. You’re forced to make choices based on what matters to you.

      I’ve been perfectly happy with the ongoing support from Google on my Nexus S and my Nexus One before that. I’ve never felt abandoned. I recently bought my first non-Google-branded Android device, a Transformer Prime, and I’m impressed so far. I made the decision based on the device itself, of course, but also on the record Asus established supporting the original Transformer.

  10. Lol we should petition Verizon’s slow updates

  11. Yet apple can upgrade iOS so seamlessly over GSM or cdma. Also not to mention everyone knows by now that carriers and manufacturer’s hold updates as hostages until they release another more improved smartphone. I love Google, but I really hate this dreadful upgrading Android has. I have a G nexus with Verizon wireless and still waiting on the freaking 4.03- 4.04 update! And to those who say root, I say hell no! Might have to bite the bullet and get a wp7… ugh

  12. I have this very minute just got the 4.0.4 update on my GNex. Finally.

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