Because Samsung (or similar) or even more weirdly, Sprint (or similar) just doesn't fucking update our Android versions for months, or ever.
This is a side effect of Android's initial approach to it's open nature. Android allows a manufacturer to modify its framework for their own use case. Then the manufacturer can allow a specific carrier to input their own system applications and firmware on to the devices well (your bloatware etc).
This can lead to multiple firmware variants for a specific device. It's not uncommon to see over 20 variants of a firmware for a specific Samsung device for example. This can be broken down by carrier, by region, by OS, etc.. for a number of different reasons.
This becomes a problem when Android needs to post an update. That update has to be pushed first to the Android framework, then to the manufacturer who decides if they are going to make modifications for the update, and if the manufacturer decides to make an update, they push it to the carrier who then has to make an update themselves.
This leads to a web with many broken ends, where a specific phone on one carrier may never see an OS upgrade after purchase, but on another carrier, the same phone might get them regularly.
Additionally some manufacturers take a greater degree of liberty in modifying the Android framework, making updates significantly more expensive to implement, so they don't.
The good news is Google over the past couple of years has been making a great effort under Project Trebel to simplify some of the APIs in the Android framework. What this is leading to is less friction when it comes to implementing core updates. Unfortunately not all manufacturers have opted in to adhering to the standards and Project Trebel yet.
This is all in stark contrast to iOS, which doesn't have the restriction of dealing with multiple manufacturers, and makes it harder for carriers to customize the device for their own business cases. This makes security and updates easier to push, but on the cost to the user of being an expensive single stream walled garden. Nothing against iOS in the statement, as a flagship device they're very nice. However, they don't have the adaptability that Android allows, making them prohibitive in some markets.
Sorry for any grammar issues, I'm on my phone (a regularly updated Pixel 3).
I'm sure 100% of any revenue going to Apple and not shared with anyone had nothing to do with that.
A less generous take on that would be that he/Apple also wanted to push their app store. At the time Flash was popular for publishing apps and games on the web. Yes their decision helped move everyone away from Flash but it also meant they would be getting their 30% cut from iOS apps.
Edit: I stand corrected. "While originally developing iPhone prior to its unveiling in 2007, Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs did not intend to let third-party developers build native apps for iOS, instead directing them to make web applications for the Safari web browser." -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App_Store_(iOS)#iOS_SDK
The App Store didn't exist at that time.
Apple did it because they could, because when the iPhone came out it owned the smartphone market; any carrier that didn't play ball would be frozen out (as T-Mobile was initially - AT&T's exclusivity on the iPhone really helped their market share among high-end consumers). Google did not have that luxury.
When Apple/Steve Jobs went into negotiations with Verizon and AT&T (then known as Cingular), it didn’t have any leverage. In fact, Verizon wouldn’t sign the deal in part because of the control Steve Jobs wanted over the devices. AT&T agreed to get the exclusive.
BlackBerry was King when the iPhone launched and BlackBerry bent over backwards to do whatever the carrier wanted (the book Losing the Signal has great details on this).
Google could have depended on similar provisions with Verizon when the Droid launched in 2009 or with T-Mobile when the G1 launched in 2008. Both carriers wanted an iPhone killer.
But Google didn’t do that. It did force Verizon not to put Bing as the default search engine on some of Verizon’s Android phones (like the Droid series), despite an early 2009 agreement Verizon made to make Bing its default search engine — and it also negotiated to NOT force consumers to pay for Android apps using the carrier stores (something many carriers had required for previous non-Apple App Stores), once paid apps launched.
But it didn’t negotiate the update bit, even though the company had the leverage to do it.
I can only speculate the reasons why, but based on the number of books I’ve read, people I’ve talked to, and and other information, it strikes me that Google decided it was more advantageous to let any phone maker or carrier adopt its OS to gain marketshare, rather than worrying about device fragmentation or security update issues.
And that strategy worked beautifully and Android took over the world. The problem is getting carriers or device makers to update, especially when many have spent lots of time customizing Android as a way of differentiating themselves.
But it’s unfair to claim Google didn’t have the opportunity to make the deal Apple did. Google just didn’t want to do that and wasn’t willing to walk away from a partnership to have that level of control.
The big draw for Android for OEMs was that unlike Windows Mobile or Symbian, there was no licensing fee for the devices. HTC, which made the first Android phone, was a Windows Mobile device maker (fun fact, the XDA from XDA Developers, was an OG Windows Mobile forum — XDA was the name of an early series of Windows Mobile devices) — Samsung and LG and Motorola made Windows Mobile phones, Sony used Symbian and so on. Android was free and customizable, which made it enticing for OEMs and carriers to embrace. And unlike BlackBerry, carriers didn’t have to give a portion of the data charge (which was like $20 or $40 a month per BlackBerry device) to BlackBerry, they got to keep all the data fees to themselves.
Without the app store and the google ecosystem, android experience is poor at best.
Try this: On Google's Appstore, find a flashlight app that doesn't upload your contacts. Now on F-droid, try to find one that does. This is not an easy challenge!
Even if you have a completely “open” operating system on your phone, your communications is still going through a carrier that could be “operated by the NSA”.
I take your point but android is similar in some respects (Google probably has less interest in your privacy than Apple does).
Never again for a Samsung device, they churn through models absurdly quickly, delay updates for months, and shovel tons of crap on.
Exactly. There is a whole series of phones offering bloat-less Android, from a variety of manufacturers:
We ran into nonsense issues creating a cross platform development toolchain when HTC phones just didn't implement certain functions of the WebView. We were then stuck trying to create workarounds for no reason. Android could have been the best of both worlds but they just punted it and left their users holding the bag.
I think that is the plan with Fuchsia.
The core of the OS is small. The drivers can be separated out more easily, and with a (hopefully) stable driver API, they may not need to get updated ever (baring security bugs in the driver code itself).
And Google's extensive compatibility requirements aside, webview is now directly updated from the store.
Android Q will extend this to most system components via apex.
None of this information was available to me at the time, and the 5.1.1 history I've only just learnt whilst composing this comment. I'd purchased the device under sharp time, budget, and information constraints whilst travelling. Budget and other limitations, as well as a market void of credible alternatives (Purism have my eye) have prevented replacement, though I loathe this device.
Google have considerable monopoly leverage, and yet have not used this to require obligations for (and permit forward use of) Android and related ecosystem services in the form of upgrade timeliness SLAs and minimum EoL requirements: this device was obsolete at time of sale, though I was completely unaware of this at the time. Instead Google have sought to perpetuate their own monopoly and interests:
It is also not capable of being re-ROMed, another fact of which I was unaware.
I'm beyond disgusted and will not and do not recommend Android to anyone.
Never again will I ever trust Android anymore if they can’t even get the basics right.
Microsoft actually waited really long until they combined normal end user Windows with NT which was it's own OS since early 90s but also had a lot of restrictions when it came to drivers, end user Apps, Games in particular.
Google bootstrapped it all at once, that's quite an effort. That said, some phones like those of OnePlus or FairPhone have really long support times.
Some of this is (or was) a fundamental design limitation of the Linux kernel. But there are other kernels.
I wonder if the FTC has ever pushed this particular angle?
From my perspective, Essential pushes a monthly security update for the PH-1 like clockwork. However, my carrier (Telus) delays it for some random (between ~0-90 days since the PH-1 launch, currently on ~70 days) amount of time. In that entire time, there's never once been an update that's been delayed for any actual changes from the stock update. In fact, if I don't want to wait for the update, I can just swap in any random non-Telus SIM, and the update is no longer blocked. The user experience is better with any carrier in the world other than the one I bought the phone from in the first place!
Trying to sell a (non-Apple) smartphone without Android in 2019 would be like trying to sell a PC without Windows. Your market share could be counted on one hand.
You forgot to mention this was fixed about 2 years ago when Google pushed mandatory changes in the way customisation are added to the firmware image.
It has helped the frequency and speed of updates a bit. Not a fan of carrier customisation.
Further, who do you think customer's call for support?
Now you know why carriers are hesitant about frequently updating a product they've already made a sale on. If an update breaks something, guess who pays the price?
Not defending them, and it's not the only reason, but it's a big one.
Whether or not they should have a say is a great question. Now that they do, I'm not sure it can be taken away without them simply choosing the next os that they do have more say over.
> Which is why I prefer to buy my phone independently from the carrier service.
You're clearly a tech literate person, which is great! But I've worked at a phone/computer repair/resell store for 2 years, and let me tell you, the "general public" can be very interesting.
It's common for many people to not know that their "phone runs android". Let alone the which version LOL!
What I'm trying to say is, it's great that you buy your phone that way, and that's the smart way to do it. We've had plenty of customers looking for unlocked phones too, but even then many don't understand how there's different radios in the phones that work with different carriers, some didn't actually know what being "unlocked" means, etc.
Then it's just a liability and risk choice for them. If the user is not able to update, then they shouldn't be the ones on the hook if there are problems.
Google didn't even make any phones until much later. Instead they gave phone manufacturers the green light to do whatever they wanted. They ended up designing phones later because of how crappy the Android phone ecosystem had become. Google could have made Nexuses from the get-go.
The phone subsidies (in the US at least) are very reminiscent of the old leased phones of yore.
But if you look at the actions of mobile phone carriers and ISPs they're desperate not to become dumb pipes. They design all kinds of clever mechanisms and marketing strategies to distinguish themselves.
> Is there actually profit in providing more than that?
Well, in a free market, competition is intense. So if they can find ways to distort that, then yes: they will make more money. Many of us don't have much allegiance to particular gas station brands. But they create rewards programs to try and get some of that loyalty. Otherwise you just compete on price.
This is ten times better than what any provider offers today. If someone implements this, nobody will want to use old scheme anymore.
Also this should promote competition between carriers.
Of all the monopoly-leverage-based requirements Google could make of Android vendors, demanding update SLA and EOL minima are apparently ones they've never contemplated.
0/10, would not recommend, ever.
Would be an interesting chart to show the things the various carriers had turned on / off... added / removed which similar phones.
Which risk keeps you awake at night:
A few Samsung phone users bricking their phones occasionally
A few iPhone users bricking their phones occasionally
50 million Galaxy phones being bricked by Samsung at once
50 million iPhones being bricked by Apple at once
What the carrier actually wants is to force some applications to always be installed in the customer devices, because of shady business deals, a.k.a. 'partnerships'.
You made that choice when you decided you wanted a carrier subsidized phone.
When it came to making sure consumers got timely software updates, Google sided with the device makers and carriers.
Device makers wanted you to buy new hardware every couple of years, and carriers wanted to lock you into an additional two year contract.
Google could have contractually required device makers and carriers to support end user devices after the sale, it just wasn't something they cared enough about.
It's a matter of who you think your customers are.
Google sides with advertisers, device makers, and carriers and not it's end users.
We tend to be an Apple household
Edit - the Device, bought in September 2016 was a Samsung Galaxy TAB E 9.6 SM-T560 WI-FI - I will check the software level tonight.
They do, however, continue to see security updates. And in particular they've been patched against the vulnerability in the linked article. I'd be very surprised if yours was any different.
7.0 is ancient? 5.1, or rather 4.4 is ancient.
You mean little scope of exfiltration (I'm guessing it's not connected to the internet). There are a lot of vulnerabilities in text rendering that can be exploited via SMS.
The Device, bought in September 2016 was a Samsung Galaxy TAB E 9.6 SM-T560 WI-FI
Go into settings, about device and check the Security Patch Level.
That was an attempt at graceful degradation that wasn’t communicated well.
The general belief was that having a phone that runs a bit more slowly, but consistently used it’s battery as the battery life naturally degrades is better than a phone suddenly dying with 40% battery remaining if the peak power draw exceeds what a several year old lithium ion battery can produce.
I much prefer the former personally, but I get where the misunderstanding and public outcry came from.
Beyond that, what made your phone unusable? The last 4 or 5 iOS versions have improved performance across the board, even for phones several years old.
>In April of last year, a class action investigation began concerning Google, Huawei, and the Nexus 6P bootlooping issues. Many users were reporting issues with the Nexus 6P shutting down randomly, even when the battery was showing up to 60% charge.
Also doesn't change the upstream clarification that you don't need to buy a new device to get a new battery.
The point of this predatory pricing tactic is to force owners of phones with sub-$200 in value to upgrade, rather than potentially waste half (or more) of the phone's value on replacing the battery.
The Moto G is usually cited as one of the best mid range phone and it doesn’t have user replaceable batteries. I don’t think most of the cheap Walmart phones have user replaceable batteries.
Auto’s were not built for ease of repair, the repairs themselves can be quite easy if you know what to do, and often require components that are only 1 or 2 orders of magnitude in price. Paying someone who knows what to do with it, they also add an order (similar to screen repairs).
That was nearly outright fraud which went swimmingly well. The big issue wasn't so much the unannouced throttling. It was that Apple knew that a lot of customers had battery issues but misled them (by denying the entire issue) so that they'll buy a new device. Instead, the debate turned on slightly more defencible for Apple.
Slightly more defencible, because while Apple _says_ that was done to counteract the battery issues, nobody knows whether iOS really checked battery state and didn't just throttle all older models indiscriminately. The latter would be rather convenient for the bottom line.
Aside, I'm pretty sure that Apple Stores do care about margin, and so do employees that identify with their business or are encouraged by their managers, but I am not accusing them (the employees) of anything.
Google can't fix it due to Android fragmentation. Millions of devices will never get this update.
Presumably the idea is 'block updates to force hardware sales'?
I can't update my Honor, I think it's the service provider (the phone was on contract) who block the update, but it was easy to update (both Android and EMUI) using an app in the Google Play store to a full version higher, but whoever created that update hasn't done further ones. It is a hack though, there should be a way to do it officially.
They shouldn't be any more involved in what phone you use than your ISP gets to pick whether you use a Mac or PC.
Sure if you want to use a 15 year old phone you're going to need to find somebody who allows that (my guess: no-one) just like you won't find so many ISPs who offer 1200/75 dial-up mode for your original Apple Macintosh with acoustic coupler. But anybody with normal needs shouldn't need to care, just sell me "phone" (ie mobile Internet) service.
I actually use a SIM only by swapping sims with my wife whose phone we bought outright (but it's low end - camera and screen are poor).
A misbehaving device can cause unreasonable load on the network, a disruption to other users, or at least interruption of the service on your device.
When Apple does screw up and iOS update will leave you with no data, the operators will attempt to make it work; they won't do that for every random manufacturer though.
There is a custom firmware card LineageOS but it's a community effort.
It may get up to date security updates merged in but it could be vulnerable in other ways.
Well that's dumb.
"It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences?"
The consequences include avoiding situations just like in the story.
When did Phys Org get into tech news? I thought they were just an unreliable source for science rumors.
> Childs recommends Android users use ad blocker software, always update their devices when prompted, and only download apps from the Google Play Store.
Just wonder what make your think that they are an unreliable source for science rumors?
Before that I was getting frustrated by filtering pseudo-VPN apps and rooting is not an option anymore (sec-wise and because of Google SafetyNet).
>when exactly is fenix supposed to replace fennec as Firefox for Android? Once the MVP is done, or when it reaches feature parity?
>We are currently finalizing the transition plan, however we know that Fennec will not be replaced for the MVP, we will make sure our existing users will get the experience they expect later in the year.
If they choose to use an experimental MVP which doesn't yet have feature parity, then sure - they won't have Web Extensions.
If you're rooted, just use AdAway.
Chrome does do touch better, clicking things (like "x" buttons to close in page pop-ups) works better on Chrome, Mobile Firefox tends to switch to text select.
pihole is nothing more than a dns blocker for your home network.
"Oh boy! A whole bunch of people are going to be really boned by a malicious app, but we're not going to let you know any details. Hey, do you bank on your phone? Ooooo you might be realllllly screwed. The competing platform is better and/or worse for thee pedantic reasons, says some random person you've never heard of and will probably never hear from again."
If you're not reporting the name of the company or apps involved, don't waste everyone's fucking time. It's even more egregious than the news doing the whole, "Something in your pantry could kill everyone you ever loved. Details after these commercials."
Sure it puts pressure on device makers to be on the ball with security updates, but at the end of the day there's nothing anyone can do. They don't tell you the symptoms of being infected, how to prevent becoming infected (don't click ads to prevent activating the virus, but do I just never install another app from here on out), or even what to do if you are infected (will a factory wipe work, or does it install to recovery, too?).
I submit the following similarly useful mini-article:
Something in 500,000 grocery stores is causing customers to experience explosive diarrhea. Local law enforcement is investigating, so we're not going to tell you what the item was. Oops! We mean itemS. I mean, there were a LOT of them. Dr. Flabenpoop of the Central Alabama Subcommittee for Safety of Food and Other Eatin' Things reminds consumers that eating is essential to remain among the living and excessive diarrhea can lead to dehydration and death. He recommends NOT experiencing excessive diarrhea while maintaining a balanced diet. He also notes that the two-fingered spotted wallaby cannot get diarrhea, which begs the question: Is it better to be a wallaby or a human? Or a stick? I mean, sticks don't poop at all, so they must feel lucky. Or sticky. But not sticky from poop.
That is the linked article. Both reports provide the same level of actionable information, the same who cares commentary, and same less than half-heartedly rehash of some inane comparison to pad the word count.
tl;dr - Zero useful information released by the research team, zero useful information in the article.
Btw what was the attack vector?
Despite claims apple purposely obsoletes its phones, it actually has a FAR FAR better record of updating old phones (reasonably given hardware differences) which extends the life of old phones.
Except they were caught purposely throttling older phones with those updates, not exactly what i'd call extending life.
So that the phones don't randomly shut off because their lithium ion batteries were old. Yes, they should have told people but it wasn't done maliciously.
Lithium batteries can be quite dangerous, so they need to be in a case to prevent damage that could cause them to catch fire. Then, the phone itself needs a battery door which adds even more thickness and potential failure points.
Finally, once you have replaceable batteries, you give up water and dust resistance. I would bet that more phones have died of water or dust ingress than phones with dead batteries.
Would it? The Lumia 950 has a user replaceable battery:
Thickness - Lumia 950: 8.2mm; iPhone XR: 8.3mm
Battery - Lumia 950: 3000mAh; iPhone XR: 2942mAh
I remain unconvinced that other phones couldn't be engineered to have a user replaceable battery.
Water resistance is potentially a fair point, but iPhones have had non-user-replaceable batteries for far longer than they have been water resistant, and I'm not sure it would be impossible to do _both_ (Tile trackers have user replaceable batteries, and are water resistant up to IP55).
"old" - they were less than two years old. They were used up significantly faster than on other phones because Apple was pulling more power to get better benchmarks. This significantly lowered their lifetime and then "forced" them to make phones slower than advertised way before normal lifetime ended.
Besides that’s not the way phone manufacturers benchmark well. Android manufacturers have been caught detecting the benchmark and then running in a higher power mode - not running higher all of the time.
Batteries usually start losing their charge in two years.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion.
Depends on how you look at it. One alternative solution to the old battery problem would be to send it to a repair shop to install a new battery.
But Apple doesn't want people to have the right to repair their own devices, so that's not even seen as an option. Throttling to extend battery life is a convenient explanation that both solves the problem and avoids hurting their extremely profitable repair program (where they'd charge maybe $50 less than the cost of a new phone for a battery replacement).