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Sad Comparison of iPhone and Android's Update History

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It was only a few years ago that a cell phone was locked in at its purchased state until we replaced it. Clamshell devices ran the same vintage OS and sported the same, non-updatable features for as long as you kept your contract alive.

Thankfully, those days are over as our smartphones bear more resemblance to modern tablet computers than the flip-phones from whence they came. Features get better, apps grow more complex, and platforms gain versatility -- all without having to replace your device. Simply install the an OTA updates -- at least, when the carrier decides to send them out -- and you're the proud owner of (basically) a new smartphone.

It's just a shame that many Android owners can't enjoy that refreshed and newly polished software as often as iPhone owners.

Despite promises to the contrary back in May, Google has yet to make good on its assurance that it will put an end to the fragmentation problem plaguing many owners of Android devices. Phones like Motorola's Devour, the LG Ally, and the HTC Aria have remained in a perpetual state of OS obsolescence as they have been kept at least one version behind the latest Android offering. You might say "them's the breaks" for cheaper, non-flagship models, but Google's Product Management Director of Android Hugo Barra recently announced that the Google Nexus One -- the "must have" Android device for much of 2010 -- will not be receiving the upcoming Android 4.0 (AKA Ice Cream Sandwich) update.

Compare that to Apple's iPhone which rolls out updates to each and every current device en masse on a fairly consistent basis. Even the oldest models were supported in their third years. You might say "whattaya expect" in regards to Apple's intrinsically controlled Walled Garden, but even a so-called "open" platform like Android could do a heck of a lot better than it has been.

Take a look at a graph created by Michael Degusta of The Understatement which compares the update history of the iPhone and Android devices.

This needs to be fixed yesterday.

(See also: Google Engineer Calls Google+ a Complete Failure and How to Use Siri on Apple's iPhone 4S)

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