Verizon and HTC show the true meaning of 'disastrous software support' - update the HTC ThunderBolt to ICS
Does anyone even remember the HTC ThunderBolt? We needed a few minutes to recall its appearance (and specs sheet), and when we finally had the complete image in our heads, we realized just how wrong all of this is.
Verizon has now released an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the ThunderBolt. An update, issued in 2013, brings a 2011 OS to a 2011 handset. Isn't this a disaster? How many people are still using the ThunderBolt anyway? Sure, better late than never, but in this case, we think we should look at what's happening from a different angle. How about carriers and Android phone manufacturers stop missing their own deadlines? We mean, the ICS update for the ThunderBolt should have originally come out in August 2012! (This was already late, considering that ICS was ready at the end of 2011.) Instead, it's here half a year later, ready to improve the experience for the five remaining ThunderBolt users.
This may not be Verizon's fault only. In the end of 2012, HTC "famously" tweeted that the update is coming "soon." This sounds like it was HTC that has delayed the update, which makes the whole situation that much more complex. It means we now have not only the carriers to blame, but also some of the device makers for being super-slow with their software updates. What can our opinion be of a company that doesn't see it as necessary to provide a critical update to one of its products in a critical market? Because ICS is just that - it's a critical update, since the difference between Gingerbread and ICS is truly immense. Does such a manufacturer really care about the user experience of its customers? It certainly doesn't seem so.
We've got to hand it to Samsung for at least making efforts to improve in this respect. They are providing the latest Android updates to their top models like the GS III and Note II in a timely manner. Well, they may not be particularly fast with their older devices like the GS II, but at least the critical ICS update has been provided there. Users of HTC's ThunderBolt, however, haven't been so lucky as Samsung's users. And we have to mention that the ThunderBolt is also a high-end model - the first with 4G LTE on Verizon for that matter. It's not some cheap, budget phone.
We interrupt this program to bring you an ice cream sandwich.
We just can't write an article about software updates without mentioning Apple. Apple may be many things, but when it says that an update will come on a specific date (yeah, Apple gives specific dates for its updates), it simply comes. No delays, no roll-out phases. Everyone with a compatible iDevice gets a notification about the update they need to get as soon as the person in Cupertino hits the launch button. Why can't Android manufacturers do the same? We know they have much broader portfolios, but hey, they can at least do it for their once flagship devices. Budget phones don't get too many updates anyway. So, the fact that they have a bigger number of handsets to support is not an excuse.
And why can't Android manufacturers give precise release dates for their software updates? We guess it's very comfortable to stay clear of any due dates and release your updates when you're ready, but is this a luxury one can afford in the wildly-competitive mobile landscape? We don't think so. The fact that most Android manufacturers can't turn a profit speaks for itself. If the price for delivering faster updates is the smaller amount of proprietary UI features, we, personally, are willing to pay it.
We also cannot understand why carriers need to make sure that everything works before issuing an udpate. As we all know, this process can sometimes take forever to complete, and may be the main reason for an epic delay. Apple's devices are also offered through carriers, so why don't they have to go through the carrier verification process? If Apple can bypass it, the others should be able to do it too! After all, it will be the customers of both the respective device maker and carrier who'll be happier, should they get their OS updates faster.
Unfortunately, this isn't anything new. We've been witnessing these major delays for quite a while now, and it doesn't look like things are going to change anytime soon. The just-released ICS update for the HTC ThunderBolt only confirms that.
1. Sniggly (Posts: 6695; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
At least it isn't as bad as Windows Phone. The last update before 8 came out (not counting it since it doesn't go to old devices) was well over a year ago, and not a single Windows Phone has even gotten 7.8 yet.
As for software updates being more timely on iOS, the reason is that Apple only has itself to worry about. By the time the update is announced, they've already worked the software over and made it ready for their existing devices.
In contrast, Google keeps the updates mainly to themselves prior to the announcement. At that point, it's left to the manufacturers to work over the software and calibrate it for the various processors, memory, cameras, screens, button positioning, and of course, the custom UIs. Note that now that Motorola's skin barely exists, its updates come out pretty lickety split. Jelly Bean on Motorola's Verizon handsets beat out the GS3 there.
The other thing is that the carriers do have a better death grip over the Android manufacturers than they do over Apple. Apple has successfully put itself in a position where the carriers don't want to f**k with them. The other manufacturers...well, Samsung's certainly gotten better at this, as the GS3 and Note 2 design shows. It's the same across all major carriers (except for color), was launched with minimal differences in dates, and updates have come fairly quickly and smoothly.
Oh, and, uh, FIRST! I guess.
3. GJanee (Posts: 204; Member since: 29 Jun 2011)
i call nonsense on the WP part, 7.8 is constantly rolling out for all devices for the past 3 days now (even the optimus 7)
22. GJanee (Posts: 204; Member since: 29 Jun 2011)
whoah, some uninformed droidboys got butthurt, or what? :D
52. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)
7.8 =\= 8
How long has windows been around?
How many phones do they need to update?
Not very many at all compared to Android. Nowhere even close. Also, Android has also had quite a bit of updates in 3.5 years since the release of the original droid.
62. Commentator (Posts: 2290; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
I agree with you, but the fact that you used the term "original droid" to refer to the G1 makes me cringe.
54. frmrVZguy (Posts: 37; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)
Thunderbolt was obsolete the day it was released. Using two chips to handle 2g/3g and 4gLTE was a rush-to-market solution that is thankfully gone and replaced with single solution SOCs with all modems on a single chip... thanks Qualcomm :) I bet.the software is an obsolete nothing-else-like-it PITA to develope and test.
58. b1acktiger (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 May 2012)
Windows 7 devices is still rolling in the same version. Which was relatively less devices + No customization. How about that ? How many devices got 7.5 and then 7.8 ?
7. gwhyte01 (Posts: 44; Member since: 09 Jul 2008)
You know im really getting sick of you android fanatics....you remind me of ios fanatics from back in the day......you've turned into what you used to make fun of.....ironic! anyways...this is how I know the crap your spewing outta your mouth doesn't hold a word of sense....windows phone has been updated from 7.0 to nodo, to mango, to tango, to its current version of windows phone 7.8 aka tango refresh....The nokia 6 and 5 series all come with it. want proof read.
Do your research son. Or don't talk about it at all.. You are absolute proof of a person who doesn't read or do your research, but hate and spew some bull**** just so you can make something you know nothing about try to look bad..
63. Commentator (Posts: 2290; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
69. Veigald (Posts: 225; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)
Don't waste time on guys like that, I'd say. Fandroids accusing WP of not being updated and/or being fragmented is so far out there it's only funny :)
9. wp8forever (unregistered)
I don't know what so shocking about this , this is android being android , that's the reason I ,when to wp8 ,now I just got a nexus 4 that is the only android phone that gets updates on time ,if u like android n u don't have a nexus u my friend ain't gonna get one update on time lol and pls don't compare android updates with wp lol wp 7.8 is rolling out to 2 years old devices ,when Sony just announced that 7 month old devices ain't getting updated.
44. speckledapple (Posts: 877; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)
Actually it is worse than that. As a previous owner of the HTC Thunderbolt and a proud owner of the now Galaxy Note 2, I can say that both Verizon and HTC are idiots. The only question is how long are customers going to deal with these weak and often very delayed updates before we force them to do more. Samsung thankfully is better than many and getting better but the rest are just disgusting.
70. KParks23 (Posts: 443; Member since: 13 Oct 2010)
The title of this article is a joke and figures ray wrote it.. The phone came out in mid 2011 the fact that's it's even getting updated is amazing and shows just how good a company htc is.. Did samsung update the more expensive later released charge nope htc only mistake was announcing this update existed
72. sithvenger (banned) (Posts: 371; Member since: 25 Aug 2012)
That's all true , but this should go to show u that even almighty google has limitations on what it can do. Apple only has itself to worry about, but google chose the open source format, yet can't handle the updates. This is googles fault, and they should work to find a better solution.
2. cezarepc (Posts: 452; Member since: 23 Nov 2012)
What do you mean disastrous? This is great news for any one who owns this device. Some handsets don't even get updated even once. Any kind of update is welcome news to any one who already owns an ageing unit.
4. OHaZZaR (Posts: 131; Member since: 19 Aug 2011)
Sure, the fact that htc is issuing the update is welcoming to the few thunderbolt owners left, but I think the author was saying that the length of time taken to issue an old update to an old phone is disastrous.
6. JC557 (Posts: 817; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)
Would have been nice if Samsung updated their Droid Charge. It's good to update these older phones regardless because there's a good chance that quite a few are still using theirs or keeping them as backup phones. I agree it should never have taken this long though.
11. wendygarett (unregistered)
Unfortunately not all readers here has a positive mind to think that... You pay what you get... Early adopters are always a white mouse when it comes to tech, and most user didn't know that
42. Commentator (Posts: 2290; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Ray just needed an excuse to grind that old anti-HTC axe. He compares this update to Samsung and their Galaxy S II devices, even though the Thunderbolt and GS II were NEVER in the same league: the SGS II was positioned to compete with (and subsequently demolished, I might add) the likes of the EVO 3D and Sensation 4G (both of which have recieved ICS as well).
The Thunderbolt is on par with phones such as the Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, and Infuse 4G: they have similar specs to the Thunderbolt and were released around the same time (H1 of 2011). None of them have received official ICS updates, but you don't see Ray ripping on Samsung for it. In fact, the Droid Charge and Infuse 4G were released later than the Thunderbolt, and were marketed just as heavily by Verizon and AT&T.
The sad part is, had HTC never released this update in the first place, they wouldn't have opened themselves up to this scathing editorial, and while Samsung is just as bad (apparently worse, given the Droid Charge, Infuse 4G, and GS 4G examples) with their updates from phones of the same era, for whatever reason Ray still defends them
50. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)
"The fact that most Android manufacturers can't turn a profit speaks for itself"
This is what stood out and annoyed me the most about this article. HTC is making phones for windows too now.
60. Commentator (Posts: 2290; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Also, the Charge was $299.99 on contract, while the Thunderbolt was $249.99, so it seems that you should also mention, RAY, that the Samsung Droid Charge was more of a high-end model than the HTC Thunderbolt, released at a later date, on the same network, and yet, despite not being some cheap, budget phone, was never updated to ICS.
(And I'm sorry for the run-on sentence, but I don't think I can clean it up in the under-240 seconds I have at this point.)
66. ojdidit84 (Posts: 250; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)
^ This. I remember back when I think a Desire phone didn't get updated to ICS because it didn't perform the way HTC wanted to and they went back on their plans to update. Everyone was up in arms about it, saying HTC was terrible with updates, yet no one complained about the Droid Charge, Galaxy S, Infuse or Epic receiving updates when they were released in the same generation as that phone or the Thunderbolt.
I always found that funny how selective people's memories were when it came to the brand they were loyal to. People forget that up until the Galaxy S II generation of smartphones, Samsung was terrible with software support.
5. richardyarrell2011 (banned) (Posts: 510; Member since: 16 Mar 2011)
Barf on Verizon and the Htc Thunderdud.
8. akbar (Posts: 62; Member since: 09 Feb 2012)
The main point of buying android device is to root it --> hack it --> instal custom rom :)
So if somebody is using the HTC ROM on their thundrbolts - bad for you read some more on the net.
12. wp8forever (unregistered)
So that means , my mom , my grandmother, or even my dad should avoid android ,that my be a Lil complicated for them right ,imagine your mom , mom what u doing rooting ,and flashing this phone lol lol nerd , that's unacceptable by these companies ,once again I have a nexus 4 ,the only android device that works other than that android is the biggest mess. I have a limos 920 as well daily driver .
45. speckledapple (Posts: 877; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)
I do not think that is the main reason to buy android. It has flexibility yes but only for rooting, no. I don't plan to root my note 2 and the device works just fine without it.
10. wendygarett (unregistered)
Another wonderful article you made Ray, they should stop winning and pick ios device instead if they wanna good software support... You should advice them as well
sent from my iPhone 3gs running ios 6
39. ahhxd717 (Posts: 316; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)
Well at least an Android phone on Gingerbread is more capable than an iPhone 3GS on iOS6. Know from experience.
48. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)
Doesnt Apple only release partial updates to older devices?
ios 6 on iP5 is diff then ios 6 on 3GS
13. ilia1986 (unregistered)
"We just can't write an article about software updates without mentioning Apple. Apple may be many things, but when it says that an update will come on a specific date (yeah, Apple gives specific dates for its updates), it simply comes. No delays, no roll-out phases. Everyone with a compatible iDevice gets a notification about the update they need to get as soon as the person in Cupertino hits the launch button. Why can't Android manufacturers do the same? "
Because an update to Android is just a *bit* more than a few bug fixes, another useless stock app (newsstand and passbook anyone?) and some more bug fixes and minor improvements.
Let's look at Apples so called "updates", shall we? Notification center and lockscreen notifications aside, virtually 0 (ZERO) UI changes since version 1.0. Some minor improvements, and yes - bug fixes. Apparently iDevices have bugs. Who knew.
Android updates on the other hand come to a zillion different phones\tablets in more than 100 different countries which have many many different carriers. Nevertheless, each Android update is VERY SIGNIFICANT.
In addition - if one single Android device is forsaken not to receive the latest OTA, there are numerous 3rd party solutions for it to bridge the gap in the Play store.
Finally, should a user choose to, and should their phone contain a chip for which the drivers are NOT IN CLOSED SOURCE - the user can always root their phone and install a custom rom which usually contains the pre-latest if not the latest software version.
Android is freedom. The power is only in the consumers' hands.
15. wendygarett (unregistered)
Have you heard of trade off? Seriously I'm tired if these update issues
The most opened operating system, is adopted by those closed minded fanboy, crying like a baby, who want everything better than what they hate to, simply because they felt insecure and afraid to lose than everyone else because they keep memories themselves that it is the most opened os...
YOU PAY WHAT YOU GET... an opened minded user doesnt care much and will always happy to their device, as long as it stay sturdy...
16. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Can someone translate his\her post to English please?
Seriously Wendy - I have no idea what you're trying to say.
17. wendygarett (unregistered)
You pay for the adobe flash
you pay for the bluetooth file transfer
you pay for the custom rom
you pay for the free pirate apps
and you pay less for the above compare to those who lacks of
AND YET, YOU DEMAND MORE? ARE YOU AFRAID TO LOSE?
seriously, I'm so freaking tired to those droider keep demand and never end, why can't they be positive just for one second? Smh
20. ilia1986 (unregistered)
25. wendygarett (unregistered)
Oh well, Israeli
27. D_Tech-tive (Posts: 104; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)
It's easy to keep up with up dates when you only offer 1 phone a year! Which still are behind spec wise! Which is why Apple is on decline.
7 versions of Iphone made only by Apple vs HUNDREDS of Android phones from many different manufacturers.
Gee what would be easier to keep up with 7 phones or hundreds? Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out!
31. wendygarett (unregistered)
If you happy to your current device, you will forget the update, that's what I'm trying to say
68. biophone (Posts: 1893; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)
I'm semi tech savy and know more then the average user but even I am nervous about rooting an android. I tried it with a sgs3 and while I got it rooted I was unsure even after trying to put a backup of the og rom if I would be able to get back to it. I can jailbreak my iphone no problem and get back to standard conditions. So saying oh android doesn't have a problem with updates cause you can root it is only realistic for very few . Also you risk your phone becoming unstable and you void your warrenty. How is that a solution?
75. ilia1986 (unregistered)
I dunno biophone - I used to work for a few days at a phone shop, first thing we did to brand new GS2 and GS3 units which were just bought by the customers is rooted them. The whole process was 15 minutes long.
14. gwhyte01 (Posts: 44; Member since: 09 Jul 2008)
Android is mainly for nerds that root and like complication...even with your quad core processors and 2 gb of ram (in a phone) you still get force close and glitches....eek screw customization (that's all you really have) i'll take stability any day. And don't try to cram that Samsung phones don't get force close and blah blah blah down my gullet...I've seen it. Lag the hell up.
30. ahhxd717 (Posts: 316; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)
Wtf are you talking about. My GNex doesn't have those issues at all. And that's over a year old.
34. androiddownsouth (Posts: 598; Member since: 02 May 2012)
Never had one force close or glitch that I've seen on my DNA. Smooth as butta on Jellybean out of the box.
49. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)
Yup. These people are funny.
The Nokia kids are jusy jelous because W8 doesnt even support it.
I 100% bet you that once they get quads their mouth will shut about quads.
76. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 712; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)
The last time i got a force close was on Android 2.1. Which was a long time ago, you windows/apple fanboys need to realize one thing, Android was once a bit unstable but it improved a lot. I only reboot my One X to flash custom ROMs on it, and i never have the force closes, glitches and lags you guys are always talking about.
21. dirtydirty00 (Posts: 248; Member since: 21 Jan 2011)
YESSSSS ive been waiting for this! woohoo. (yes i still have the TB) only until apil tho then upgrading to the S4
23. nicholassss (Posts: 348; Member since: 10 May 2012)
I'm trying to not update my phone. Verizon keeps trying to push the update to my note 2 and I'm not havin it.
24. wendygarett (unregistered)
What reasons make you refuse to?
26. zrated (Posts: 14; Member since: 30 Jan 2013)
i think i'm missing something about mobile phones. most people, including me, who bought the thunderbolt, should still be using it as our contracts aren't up yet. the thunderbolt came out at the end of march, 2011, so two-year verizon contracts are still in effect.
i got mine on the very first day of release and i still have it. yes, i could have upgraded in october, but i wanted to wait to see what new devices would come out in the spring. i assume a lot of people are doing that, not to mention that most people didn't buy the thunderbolt on release day.
so, for people who bought a thunderbolt, but are no longer using it, how did you get out of your contract in order to get a new phone, assuming you haven't upgraded?
35. androiddownsouth (Posts: 598; Member since: 02 May 2012)
Upgrades are on a 20 month basis so those that bought it in March 2011 have been able to upgrade since late December dude.
73. zrated (Posts: 14; Member since: 30 Jan 2013)
verizon told me i was up for upgrade in october, but i wanted to wait until the spring to see what new devices would come out, as i mentioned above. probably should have jumped on the note 2, but i just couldn't make myself plunk down $300 on-contract.
but my point was that most people didn't get the phone on launch day, or even on launch month, so a large group should still be using them or have recently upgraded. that seems to conflict with the general sentiment that this phone is ancient and that nobody even remembers it.
78. androiddownsouth (Posts: 598; Member since: 02 May 2012)
I agree with you there, was just pointing out that there are many people that bought it that are beginning to be eligible to upgrade, and that number will only grow.
What you say is true though there are still many of them out there, and imo the Thunderbolt was the best of the first generation LTE devices, with the primary flaw being the awful battery lol. I know, I had one.=P
28. BadAssAbe (Posts: 434; Member since: 22 Apr 2011)
Easy way to update android phone
1 make every manufacturer add their own custom UI as a launcher (HTC SENSE, BLUR, TOUCH WIZ, ECT...)
2 Have all carriers say "Update at your own risk"
Spread the word
40. Whateverman (Posts: 3187; Member since: 17 May 2009)
I've been saying that for years, but I don't think it's ever going to happen. OEMs and carriers are COMPLETLY ruining the experience for the super users, and although rooting is a fairly simple process, it a process that I don't want to "have" to do just to have the latest OS. And wouldn't it make life easier for them as well?
29. ahhxd717 (Posts: 316; Member since: 08 Dec 2011)
I like how they try to commend Samsung in the article, yet they never updated their comparable phones to ICS. If I remember correctly, the Charge was also high end (one of the first with LTE) and went on sale after the TBolt. Now when is the last time that thing ever heard of an update? At least the TBolt got it in the end, but still people gotta bitch. And at least HTC went through with it. I'm pretty sure LGs track records are terrible (2X, anyone?)
53. JWS65 (Posts: 32; Member since: 22 Jan 2013)
Well, Samsung said that any phone prior to GS2 won't receive ICS update. So made it clear and sticks with their words. From GS2 and on, they kept update schedule fairly well. But HTC went back and forth regarding Tbolt update to ICS, confusing us many times.