Ben Ward

May 24, 2010

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Andy [Rubin]'s point was simple. Older Android devices that can't be upgraded to newer versions of the OS or run newer apps are no different than an iPhone from 2007 not being updated to OS 4. It's not fragmentation -- it's legacy.

Entelligence: Is Android fragmented or is this the new rate of innovation? -- Engadget

So, the original, 3 years old EDGE iPhone, which has not been on sale since the iPhone 3G was launched in 2008, and which has been supported with every iPhone OS update so far, is a comparable ‘legacy’ situation to the fact I can go to Verizon right now and purchase a ‘Motorola Devour’ that only runs Android 1.6? It isn't even on Motorola's upgrade schedule for Android 2.1 (let alone the new 2.2)

I see it like this: That Apple maintained software support for the first iPhone for three years is outstanding. The longest cellphone contract you could take out on the iPhone was 2 years. From my point of view it would have been acceptable to cease software upgrades for the EDGE phone when the 3GS came out and first generation customers all qualified for upgrades*, but Apple went beyond that, to the betterment of all their users and the iPhoneOS as a platform.

This is the risk that will keep me from switching to Android. Google's response to the problem is to compare the availability of brand new handsets with legacy software to Apple's support of a genuine legacy handset. Suggests to me that they have no plan to solve the problem.

I'm not about to play software roulette with $300 and two year contractual obligation.

(*Actually, the two-year contract point is muddied, since first-generation iPhone owners were not contractually tied to their iPhone handsets; they were sold unsubsidized. This is why everyone could upgrade to the iPhone 3G in 2008 without incurring extra fees, but had to wait longer for a 3GS (and will again for the ‘4G/HD’). Matching software supported to standard contract length is my point, though, and that there was no contractual penalty for upgrading the first phone only makes Apple's support decision look even better.) Via: Engadget.

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