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Vodafone explains the process of a firmware update

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Vodafone explains the process of a firmware update
One of the most controversial topics for Android fans is the waiting for a carrier to update a handset with the latest build of the OS. Vodafone has taken the time to describe its process on its website. The carrier points out that the goal is to get the latest software on customer's devices and the first step actually comes from the OEMs who make the decision which models will receive or need an update. In making that decision, the manufacturer looks at the customer experience of using the new software build on a specific device. This is actually the reason cited by HTC for it's decision not to proceed with the Android 4.0 update for the HTC Desire HD. The manufacturers rightly believe that customers would rather have a smooth running phone running the prior OS build than a unit that freezes and has problems running the latest build.

The first step in the process is for manufacturers to decide which devices will receive or need an update. In the case of a major firmware upgrade – such as Android devices moving from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich – it’s largely dependent on the experience that the combination of the new software and the hardware capabilities of the device can offer customers. That call is made by the manufacturer in the first instance"-Chris May, Vodafone  head of terminals technology
Using the Huawei Ascend G300 as an example, Vodafone says that once the manufacturer makes the decision to proceed with the update, it waits for the software from the developer, in this case it would be Google. Once the software is received, the OEM develops a version of it for their device. Vodafone, at this point, makes sure that the software includes the features it wants its customers to enjoy and adds branding and features like "music, apps or even remote diagnostics capabilities". The carrier wants its customers to "get the best possible experience" from the moment they turn on their new phone for the first time.

Vodafone engineers are always testing software updates and in most cases, there are quite a few builds before the best one is found. Vodafone's head of terminals technology Chris May says this testing can take from one day to one week depending on previous experiences with the manufacturer and the size of the update. May says security updates and bug fixes are the easiest to put through with platform upgrades being the hardest. That has been seen in the troubles many carriers have had getting Android 4.0 updated on certain models. Sometimes Vodafone can get by with limited testing. IT Technical Manager Kevin Ralph notes that the testing includes data, apps, battery life,etc. But if they are working with a device they have seen before, they won't go back and test the antenna, for example. With the Android 4.0 update for the HuaweiG300, the engineers are conducting a full range of tests since it is the first time they have seen Ice Cream Sandwich running a Huawei device. Most testing is a two-stage process with the carrier reporting back any problems to its suppliers for improvements so that the final update meets Vodafone's highest standards for its customers. After it is approved by the carrier, the update is sent back to the software developer, in this case Google, for approval..

The Huawei Ascend G300 will be updated to Android 4.0

The Huawei Ascend G300 will be updated to Android 4.0

Engineers also have to test for the best delivery method for the update. Since a platform update is a huge file, Vodafone's May says an alert is usually added suggesting that the phone's owner use Wi-Fi for the update if it is OTA. As far as determining when the update will actually be released, a date is discussed during the early stages of the process according to Vodafone. The goal is to avoid too many updates for a specific model in a short period of time.

Once testing is done, Vodafone tries to get the update through the remaining process quickly so that its customers have it in their hands as quickly as possible. Now that you've read about the complexity of the process, perhaps you will be a bit more patient while waiting for the next platform update. And for those who miss out on a major OS update like owners of the HTC Desire HD, now you will understand the reasoning behind the decision to leave a phone running on an older build.
"We work through our global team to ensure that the features and settings we want to provide our customers with are incorporated into the build of the update. In some instances we add branding and services to a device that we believe will benefit our customers – be that music, apps or even remote diagnostics capabilities. In other instances, we need to pre-configure services such as voicemail or network settings. This means the customer gets the best possible experience when they fire up their newly updated device for the first time.-Vodafone's Chris May
source: Vodafone via Engadget

13 Comments
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posted on 21 Jul 2012, 13:10 3

1. adi4u4882 (Posts: 135; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)


Seems Legit.
I will choose smoothness of an device any day instead of having a ICS or Jelly Bean device which lags.

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 14:48 2

8. networkdood (Posts: 6250; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


ICS is great for high end devices...I even have JB on my captivate.....very smooth

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 13:11 5

2. Hammerfest (Posts: 361; Member since: 12 May 2012)


So what your saying is... with all the carrier CRAP on the device... it runs like s**t...

Sounds like a "good" reason to me to leave a device on an older version of an OS...

Its really sad that people this deluded really exist...

EDIT: thought I should throw in there that GB, ICS, and JB perform SOOO much faster when VANILLA vs the CRAPIFIED BLOAT INFESTED Carrier "versions", the excuse/reason is invalid...

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 13:46

3. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5530; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


How does a handset loaded with bloatware run slower than the same handset with no bloatware? Sure, there is less storage available, but if you can add a SD card, that objection goes away. Bloatware doesn't impact RAM or processor speed, so how is it causing the handset to run 'slower'?

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 14:15 5

4. infernal88 (Posts: 113; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


ever wondered how a messeging app like viber and whatsapp notify u when u get a text even when they are closed ? ..that because they are running as background processes ..most bloatware are the same ...they work in background eating some of your phone resources ...u are able to kill them if u know ur way around the phone ... well for my experience i have a GSII on GB background processes used to eat not more than about 400-450 mb of my RAM ...after updating to ICS it jumbed to 450-530mb on normal standby with almost same apps installed ...it wouldnt be a big deal for phones with 1 gb of ram ...but for a 512 mb devices ...im sure they will need a gd task killing system to keep the device lag free and that would greatly affect ur multi-tasking experiance .......well this getting of topic ... :D sry

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 14:24 3

5. Hammerfest (Posts: 361; Member since: 12 May 2012)


STOP MAKING SENSE!

Who knew BLOATWARE made a phone, PC, or ANY OTHER DEVICE IN HISTORY run slower?

Bloatware USES RAM space, AND I/O operations for RAM and storage, AS WELL as CPU cycles...

Welcome to 2012... where people apparently dont know how things work... I mean, seriously? "bloatware doesnt impact RAM or processor speed"? I work on PC's all day that have 8GB/Quad core and have to de-bloat them for a living, I have yet to have a customer (non tech-savvy ones at least) tell me that they didnt notice ANY difference at all from when they first bought the PC...

/facepalm /facekeyboard /facedesk /facefloor

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 14:45

7. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5530; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Ummm, what usually makes a device (PC or handset) run slower compared to when the device was first used is a variety of things. Like files (often user-created) that fragments the disk drive and forces it to spend cycles loading a requested file from multiple fragments spread all over the drive platter(s). Like multiple O/S software updates that require more CPU cycles to operate than were required by the original release. And, and, and. But so far, I haven't heard a credible explanation for why bloatware in-and-of-itself slows down a device.

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 14:40

6. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5530; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


And you can't stop/unload background processes? I was able to do that with my RAZR (like the SmartAgent app or whatever it was called that sucked the battery). Yes, the background processes will load again the next time you re-boot the handset, but you can always stop/unload them again. It only should become an issue if you are re-booting your handset every day. Although, if you are having to re-boot your handset every day, you have bigger issues to worry about.

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 14:49

9. infernal88 (Posts: 113; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


there is even a better way to do it ....root ---> remove bloatware from system/app . that pretty much do it for most non system dependent apps .. if u dont want to void ur warranty unroot again and find a way to reset ur flash counter! ...

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 15:47 1

11. Hammerfest (Posts: 361; Member since: 12 May 2012)


This is also true, but my point was in relation to the news post, so you cant root and remove bloatware from a phone that doesnt get the update in the first place... It actually makes most of the replied statements moot since you cant root/clean what doesnt exist...

That being said,you can stop/unload bloatware for the most-part without rooting, however, Apps are goverened by "events" one of them is rebooting, but some, like Google Market (Play Sex Store, oh and its just an example), have events that start the app up again if you: start an app, stop an app, update an app, sideload an app, add an account, connect to wifi, make a phone call, txt, and lots more. You can see these events with a few tools, my fav on rooted phones is System Tuner Pro where you can DISABLE events! next best thing to freezing them, except you can still use them when you want to by MANUALLY running them!

I give cred to Doug however, hes trying to defend an undefendable position, how very sinking ship of him.

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 16:07

12. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5530; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Probably the greatest source of things slowing down are the inevitable app updates that get released. I just went through a process of updating 12 apps on my RAZR - all of which I installed myself. Mind you, I don't have a lot of apps installed on my RAZR (some co-workers have 3+ screens full of nothing but apps they have installed). Think these don't put a burden on system resources? And please don't tell me that you unload the apps every time you are done running them.

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 18:02

13. MISTER_H (banned) (Posts: 97; Member since: 08 Jul 2012)


really good point. We now blame the maufactures, only providing with 1GB of ram, where 2GB was meant to be above standard....

posted on 21 Jul 2012, 14:49 4

10. Beholder88 (Posts: 80; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


Bloatware most definitely slows down a phone. Sure you can stop some of them from running the the background, but why even go through all the trouble when it takes 5 minutes to root the phone and remove them completely?

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