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WTF is up with official Android updates that don't work?!?

Authored by: Kris Carlon — Jun 8, 2014

Get out the pitchforks guys, I'm going on a manufacturer rant! As an editor at AndroidPIT, I hear from a LOT of people that are really unhappy with the way they are treated by the manufacturers and carriers when it comes to official firmware updates. Especially so when these official updates - that have supposedly been through rigorous testing and certification processes that seem to do nothing more than delay their release for months - turn out to be so bug-ridden and unstable that the devices they are installed on become unusable. Remember the Android 4.3 fiasco with Samsung? What about Android 4.4.3 basically just being a bug-fix update?

AndroidPIT Crap Update Teaser
''Yes! That update I've been dying for is finally here!'' / © AndroidPIT

To throw salt in the wound, with some OEMs you are then denied the possibility to downgrade to the last workable official firmware, leaving you stuck with a phone that sometimes doesn't even turn on, or if it does, it won't connect to Wi-Fi, or it randomly reboots, or it won't wake up, or...or...or...and the list goes on and on. The only thing you can do to save your phone is to flash a custom ROM, but then you trip your flash counter and void your warranty. You know, on that phone you paid a fortune for that your manufacture and carrier bricked with their rubbish update!

galaxy s4 4 3 problems
Remember all the problems the Android 4.3 update caused on Galaxy S4's and S3's? / © AndroidPIT

It's bad enough that we are asked to pay an arm and a leg for a device that sometimes gets left behind after only a year when it comes to updates, but it's even worse when the firmware you are ''supposed'' to run isn't even good enough to use the most basic functions of your phone. And if you take matters into your own hands to get your phone working again, you then lose your warranty and ability to have it repaired in future by the very same people who broke it in the first place.

qcaemra daemon screenshot
Even Google took ages to fix the camera bug that destroyed the Nexus 5 battery. / © AndroidPIT

This is absolutely unacceptable and there really needs to be a genuine and costly backlash from customers who have suffered this fate. As consumers, we shouldn't simply sit back and be OK with manufacturers and carriers that delay updates for ages and then accept no responsibility when their pathetic attempts at quality control leave millions with useless hunks of plastic. If you've had a bad update and no response from those responsible you should put your money where your mouth is and take out your frustrations at the cash register. Stop supporting the manufacturers and carriers that don't support you or they'll never learn!

Have you had a bad experience with a carrier or manufacturer update? What response did you get when you asked for support?

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

23 comments

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  • 7
    Yanwyn Aug 28, 2014 Link to comment

    Thanks for this brilliant article!

  • Mikael Samuelsen Jul 12, 2014 Link to comment

    I have a Sony Xperia Z and the well known issue of battery drainage after upgrading to 4.4.2.

    When contacting Sony they blame Google and tell me to wait for an update from them (the latest update from Google did not work though...) and when contacting Google they tell me to contact Sony...

    I have also tried to contact my provider (also where I bought the phone) and they say to contact Sony or Google...

    This has been going on for almost two monthts now and I have decided that both Sony and Android now is on my "blacklist". My next phone will have an apple om the back...

    • Kris Carlon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Jul 14, 2014 Link to comment

      This is exactly the problem: no one wants to be accountable. If this attitude continues then I honestly can't blame you or anyone else for looking towards Apple. Of course, you have the option of flashing a custom ROM and sidestepping the problem but part of the purchase cost of a phone implies upgrade support from the manufacturer/carrier and you really shouldn't have to resort to doing it yourself to make up for the carrier/OEM lacking accountability.

  • Amat Mulisha Jun 10, 2014 Link to comment

    I live in malaysia and recently update my xperia zl with 4.4.3 os kitkat. Overall its a good update. Love the fully transparent app drawer. Im also not having a battery drain issue, just a little bit lag in setting. Thats all.

  • Cheryl Correll Jun 9, 2014 Link to comment

    I have a love/hate relationship with Sprint. Now it's hate hate hate! They charged $550.00 for my Nexus 5 in Dec. and now that I bought a 32bit one from BestBuy's they offered me $61.00 to buy it back. Anyone want to remove this from my butt for real money? BTW:the16bit got the 4.4.3 update, not this one.

  • Craig Jones Jun 8, 2014 Link to comment

    I'v got a Nexus 4 so 4.43 is vanilla. No problems but I'm wondering how long Goggle will support their first phone, but for now I'm fine with it

  • Philipp Junghannß (My1) Jun 8, 2014 Link to comment

    That is bad but even worse is the defect by design, e.g. MicroSD on kk...

  • Saem Sarguroh Jun 8, 2014 Link to comment

    I didnt pay so much for a device just to be on the OEM's mercy when it comes to "stable" firmware updates. They are not stable. Even a custom rom's beta builds are more stable than these.

    • Loie Favre
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Jun 10, 2014 Link to comment

      I think more and more customers will learn how to gain root access and flash custom ROMs on their devices after the Android 4.3 fiasco, 4.4 problems and general update delays. The only OEM that has been prompt with updates is Motorola in my opinion.

      • Philipp Junghannß (My1) Jun 10, 2014 Link to comment

        and LG/Asus with Nexus

      • Daniel Cueto Jun 11, 2014 Link to comment

        Hola!! Me gustaria saber como se rottea micelular y personalizarlo. Por el momento tengo que conformarme con lo que me brinda mi compania movistar( en argentina deja mucho que desear). Queria preguntarte si sabes cuando llega android 4.3 a Argentina? Por lo que veraz no se nada de esto pero me gustaria saber mas y estar a la par de todos ustds. Muchas gracias!!!

      • Kris Carlon
        • Admin
        • Staff
        Jun 11, 2014 Link to comment

        I'm afraid I don't know any details for Argentina @Daniel, although I'm surprised a Galaxy Note 3 doesn't even have Android 4.3 yet?

  • Saem Sarguroh Jun 8, 2014 Link to comment

    Note 2 device with knox bootloader. I just dont care about my warranty being void. If the latest firmware update has messed with my phone, I just dont care if I lose warranty by flashing custom ROMS. I am of the kind who would, before jumping to custom roms, just downgrade to previous stable firmware but with shamesung's new knox bootloader, even that is not possible coz going to an older bootloader just bricks the device (if you manage to work past the multiple failed attempts in ODIN).

    • Kris Carlon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Jun 11, 2014 Link to comment

      The Knox approach is an interesting one. For modders it's a massive pain in the a$$, but for the enterprise set (read: big business) it's a great idea. I seem to recall the American military or US government or someone just approved a bunch of Samsung devices running Knox for important people to use because of its security infrastructure, so Samsung's approach is definitely working in the ways they want it to: appeal to the higher ups and limit what the lower downs can get away with.

  • ifare Datagni Jun 8, 2014 Link to comment

    At&t seemed to be the laziest & horibl of them all... No statement.. No apologies nothing.. Just silence & bullshit

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