Why is your Android phone not getting the latest update? Your phone maker, its chipmaker, and Google all share blame

  • Another Android update, another stack of phones that will never see it.

    Infographic of the update process

    A couple of informational pieces on the Android update problem.

    As others have said before, the problem with Mark 1 seems to be the chipmaker not providing necessary support. However, this is not meant to be a discussion for bashing up on Creo but to take stock of the general situation of the update problem.

    The problem simply seems to be getting onerous with time and a penchant for buying cheap phones also contributes to the issue. Such phones are virtually use and throw types, poor build quality and software implementation means they hardly last for a year before becoming unusable.

    The most likely solution seems to be Google enforcing support rules via ASOP/Google Play licence. Define three categories of devices: Consumer ( < $150), Prosumer ($150-600) , Professional ( > $600) and demand that they provide 1.5, 2.5 and 4 years of software support respectively.

    This should clarify the market for users as well as define acceptable practice for phone and chip makers.

  • This is a very interesting debate.

    Was wondering if people are actually diving deep into the real problem of updates, the whys, the hows, and the existing state, which ironically is the problem this startup is trying to solve.


    Leave aside cheap phones, or even unsuccessful phones. Lets talk super successful flagships. Take Samsung S6, take HTC One M9, take LG G4, take Sony Xperia Z4.

    These are massive corporations with 1000s of engineers, and these are their flagship, super expensive phones. Even then the time between launch and the arrival of the latest Android update is soo soo long. And while you’re at it, ask your One Plus fanboi about it as well.

    The fact is, that its a super difficult and painful process to update, and like @Hardik-Panjwani pointed out with the infographics, there are so many considerations. (this is one reason why I’m at least happy, I get some update from Creo every month, what will I do with marshmallow, Now on Tap?)

    In fact, what I find so amusingly appalling is that Motorola, a really decent brand when it came to quick updates, was doing really well, until Google sold it off, and now it gives a sum total of zero f**** towards updates.

    Here’s something Google tried out, BTW.


    Obviously it did not work, because lol, once you have made money off selling a phone, there’s no point in sending an update (for free), and in case you are not making money off the phone, then it makes more sense to build the next hardware iteration rather than muck around with software merges.

    Google did not give up. Here’s what it supposedly attempted with Nougat, trying to make it easier.


    But only time will tell.

    As of now, RIGHT NOW, Lollipop is the leading version of Android


    And there are plenty of flagships and super flagships which will never see an update.

    In case you want to read more, here is something interesting.


    Not sure if entirely feasible. What say @saikatsakura @Girija-Das @Aarju-Kumar ???

  • @huntingmrwolf OEM’s don’t give a damn about that just keep on manufacturing😂

  • @huntingmrwolf Yup have read those before. The problem with Google is always lack of focus on products beyond its core ability of search. So no surprise that Project Ara is shelved. There is a certain childishness at Google that allows it to dream big but causes more public failures than successes while at Apple there is a certain playfulness that allows it to dream big and causes more public successes than failures. Microsoft on the other hand has a cut-throat vindictive culture that puts core asset protection over new asset development that led to the death of Courier while HP lost the mobile race due to pure mismanagement even though it had a good product. It’s not unthinkable that the mobile space could have been a fierce 4 way competition that was reduced to a two way battle.

    The reason I am rehashing this ancient history (in tech, 5 years is ancient 😉 ) is to get to the power of market forces. With more players in the market, meaningful and timely software updates would have become a point of pride and sales strategy, where Google and its OEM’s would have been forced to keep up with the other players.

    In the absence of such forces, Google milked ‘open vs closed’ to propel Android, never mind that all tech companies make very good efforts towards open source. And its obvious that most of them use open source as a strategic tool: try to keep self core assets closed while trying to push open source alternatives of your competitors products. Now that it has won the market share, the point has been quietly retired. No fanfare about ‘open’ winning as it may invite undesired scrutiny.

    This is why I feel that Google should publicly bear the brunt of the update problem. It created the situation which allows many OEM’s and chipmakers to play truant while those who tried to be fair to their users got crushed or changed to truants under peer pressure. And to be fair Google does bear the brunt to an extent but not publicly. Instead of saying “This is just how Android works. You shouldn’t expect your Android phone to ever get a major OS update. Instead, you get major updates to Google Play Services and that it what we will announce every year.” , Google continues to make splashy announcements about Android to generate hype and press interest.

    This approach hurts the OEM’s while leaving the chip makers untouched and makes Google look good. While some of the OEM’s have earned this pain, there are other who are being punished unfairly. Users need to understand that not all OEM’s are money grabbers who don’t want to provide service. @CREO-Team @Product-Team is doing a reasonably good job given how much is stacked against them. Can they do a better job? Yes, there are areas where things are lacking but it’s possible to learn, adapt and grow and I am willing to support Creo while they do so.

    For example @Srinjoy-Das moved this thread to Android Lounge from FuelOS. I assume he did so as he thought that it would be a better fit for the discussion. However instead of asking me if I thought this was a good idea or making a public post like ‘Interesting discussion. We are moving the thread from here to there for this this reason’ , he went ahead and did it on his own initiative without any opportunity for feedback.
    @CREO-Team @administrators @Moderators @Global-Moderators This is not a complaint but helpful criticism. Kindly come up with a policy to avoid such a faux pas in the future.

    @sai-srinivas @shubham @Rachit-Rastogi Would be nice if the founders pitched in with their thoughts on this topic.



    Hi @Hardik-Panjwani

    Thanks for starting what is probably one of the best discussions on Android on Fuel Community. We really needed that.

    I shifted the conversation from Fuel OS to Android Lounge, since the overarching theme of the discussion was around Android, and more that just CREO and Fuel OS. :)

    At the same time, I concede we should have had clear Sub-Forum rules and I should have dropped you a message while shifting the discussion! Thanks for pointing out. Only with the help of our fans like you, can we keep Making Fuel Community Better.

    Thanks again,

  • @Srinjoy-Das No problem. As you see I parsed your intent fairly accurately. And since it comes up, lets get into the issue of low engagement with the community. (This post is fairly off-topic, request you leave it here though. If you want I will clone it as a separate post as well.)

    @CREO-Team Guys, you have generally not been on the ball with this and you need to take a look at how you want the forum to function. It would help if this was a public discussion to some extent.

    For example, there have been a couple of times that Mark 1 has gone on sale but there was no official post in the forum about it. Instead, users made these posts as bitter complaints and the company reacted to it. If you guys had made official posts initially, that could have been useful for sales and with the right presentation the complaints would have been softer.

    Another example is a lot of interest being shown by users in Jio. This is a very obvious development as Reliance is swinging for the fences by creating this network and has been creating hype left and right.
    I would say this deserved a series of official posts: what’s the excitement at CERO about Jio’s launch, what it means for the country and for the company (ideally a post by the CEO), will there be official support from CREO or unofficial support from employees on a personal basis for users trying to make Jio sim work with Mark 1, how is the network data pricing war going to affect users. But we saw nothing from the company along these lines.

    Few other examples can be mentioned but not going to go into too much analysis but jump to results.
    Kindly realise that without direction from CREO it won’t be long before the forum descends into a list of complaints by users. Already a lot of users seem to be engaging very little and many who were posting regularly before have disappeared in the last 2 months or so.
    I don’t know the background of those tasked with forum management (Am guessing this is @Vartika-Verma 's bailiwick, correct me if I am wrong) but it would probably help substantially with the forum if some of the people involved here have strong backgrounds in sociology/anthropology. If you think of the forum as a party, the you need people who know to make a party ‘click’.

  • Coming back to Android discussion, there is a fair bit of sketchy behaviour that happens with companies. And that is to be expected as there must be like a hundred Android brands on sale in India, a lot of them from private firms on whom information is scarce and not all of them want to offer users a fair deal.

    Oppo, OnePlus, Vivo and now Immo are all brands owned by a single firm - BBK electronics. They play against each other to stay in the news, attract an audience and are quietly building market share.
    The super low cost segment has a ton of scams going on - Ringing Bells being the most egregious one.
    Xiaomi may be cranking our phones like piglets but their after sales support is either slow or non-existent and I really dislike their flash sale approach.

    Creo is quite a breath of fresh air in this environment, bringing in a solid phone at a decent price. I hope to get 2-3 years out of this device with regular gradual improvements and a a couple of leaps in improvement along the way.

  • @huntingmrwolf See this issue will always remain because Google is not in the position to control the hardware. Unlike Apple, or even Microsoft, Google focuses only on the software part. The OEMs decide on the hardware part and the OEMs will at most give 2 major updates to any model they have launched. After that they will stop pushing the updates so that the consumer is forced to buy a newer model from them.

    Apple, on the other hand has to sell both the software and the hardware and hence it is bound to give better backward compatibility for its older devices. And Apple has a better control on how many of the devices are also using the most updated version of their software stack.

    What we are seeing now, is a repetition of what happened in the 80s and 90s with the PC revolution. What Google faces now, Microsoft faced at that time. However, Google’s problems are more dangerous because Android is a free operating system and there are multiple parallel software stacks of the OS, like Cyanogen/MIUI etc. Hence Google can only push the OEMs upto a certain level. If they cross that level, then the OEMs would end up forking their own version of Android and can also cut off all the Google related services from their version of Android, thus cutting off Google’s revenue, since the OEMs won’t have to pay anything to Google. Google would also lose out on it’s business policy to reach out to as many customers as it can and it’s Ad services would take a serious hit. Hence, Google cannot force too much the manufacturers. Microsoft never had to deal with this as their Windows os was proprietary and not open source. In fact, Cyanogen has already started offering Cortana with their version of Android, completely bypassing Google Now.

    Hence, be sure of it that this dilemma will never end. There will always be compatibility issues with older devices whenever a new version of Android will get released and some people will end up not getting the update. The only other way is to switch to Apple. You will never cry due to the above-mentioned reason. I have used iphone 4s for years and have always received the updates till ios 9.x. That’s a great experience. Due to the hardware being controlled by Apple, they can even control which features of a new software update will be available for the older devices. For example, dimming of screen at night is not available for iphone 4s since it was a 32 bit system and this feature was made available only for 64 bit systems. But the rest of the features of ios9 were available for iphone 4s. So, the user gets a big chunk of the core features of each new update, if not the entire slot, unlike Android where after a max. of two updates they are completely cutoff from any new updates. And this service from apple, they get for at least 4 years down the line. That’s a huge advantage for end users. So if you buy an iphone now, till 2020 you will get software updates. For the first three years you will get all the features of the updates, and in the last year, a majority of the new features, if not all, due to hardware compatibility four years in the future.

  • @saikatsakura Yup, agree completely.

    The way I see it is you can buy a ~$900 iPhone, use it for 3-4 years and then hand it down to parent/aunt/uncle to use for 2-3 years.

    Or you buy ~$300 android phone every 2 years for your own use and drop the old one in recycling or sell it super cheap and end up spending roughly the same amount.

    The latter experience is going to be slightly poor by default unless you are tech savvy enough to pick out the right phone to buy amongst the army of phones out there, tweak it a bit and get the maximum out of Android.

    Buying the so called Android flagships is just as bad as buying ultra cheap Androids, in both you lose money, time and peace of mind to different degrees.

  • @Hardik-Panjwani Agree. The way Android releases new software versions, flagships are a waste of money. Within 6-7 months, the OEMs would release another flagship that will make yours obsolete. It’s better to go with mid-level phones.

  • @saikatsakura @Hardik-Panjwani This turned into a really good discussion actually!

    I have some more opinions, and somewhat radical actually.

    Lets look at some of the incentives that OEMs have for upgrading to the latest Android. Incentives purely from

    There are two three assumptions which were made which is slightly wrong

    Assumption One : As an OEM, if I sell more and more phones, I make more money and hence it’s good for me.

    That’s wrong!

    Why it’s wrong : OEMs are NOT making money off phones, unless its a super-flagship (Sorry, had to use the term), they make money if they get more new customers under their bandwagon. which also means, making sure your existing fleet runs on the latest OS, to reduce churn of your current users (Say people shifting from Samsung to Motorola)

    Assumption Two : One of the biggest demands from users is to be on the latest version of Android.

    That’s quite wrong as well

    Why it’s wrong : This “need to be on the latest Android version” philosophy was mostly driven by the Lollipop marketing. The wave Android created when Lollipop arrived on the scene, got most people thinking that they wanted to be on the latest Android.

    What now matters to folks is not being on the latest Android, but mostly what is it that my Phone can do!! And how it makes life easier for me!

    Yes, that’s right. I’m talking about features!

    In fact there’s a wide diaspora of people who do not even understand what an Android update means, but they totally get what features their phone give.

    I think one of the biggest reasons manufacturers simply said “No thank you!” to Marshmallow was how it failed collectively as an OS. It simply had nothing on platter. Now on Tap is a joke. Doze doesn’t really work. I mean an entire OS update just for blocking apps from notifs ? Security patches can be sent as separate updates and in any case software is incredibly secure these days for it to be a problem.

    Some dude sitting in Samsung would have figured out that we can invest energies on building some useful features which users will use. (Like Motorola with their Always On)

    Upgrading an OS takes a mammoth effort and even then it can easily render half the devices unusable because of simple merge issues. No one wants that risk. Customers are not really voting with their wallets when it comes to Android Versions, they might vote a bit on features, and they are surely voting on a phone that works!

  • @huntingmrwolf Yup OEMS generally sell at very low margins or even below cost. One of their main income sources is the money they get from Google as search partners.