Fragmentation. The word most commonly used by Android naysayers when they’re looking for some ammunition with which to open fire on the world’s most popular mobile operating system. The problem is that the issue is very real, it’s certainly a large part of the reason why I personally only use Nexus devices these days. Whilst much of the vitriol is aimed at Google, it’s actually the manufacturers and their UI skins that we’re at the mercy of. The latest big player to cause a hullabaloo in the tech world this week is none other than HTC. The Taiwanese giant upset a large group of its customers by announcing that the, barely 18 months old, Desire HD will not be receiving an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The announcement sparked a huge influx of complaints from disappointed Desire HD owners and in turn prompted the following response from HTC:
We’ve heard your feedback on our decision not to update the HTC Desire HD to Android 4.0. We completely understand that this is a controversial decision.
For more background, due to how storage on the HTC Desire HD is partitioned – and the larger size of Android 4.0 – it would require re-partitioning device storage and overwriting user data in order to install this update. While technically advanced users might find this solution acceptable, the majority of customers would not. We also considered ways to reduce the overall size of the software package, but this would impact features and functionality that customers are currently using. Even after installing the update, there were other technical limitations which we felt negatively impacted the user experience.
We believe an update should always improve the user experience and carefully evaluate each update based on this criteria. While we are very aware of the disappointment from this decision, we believe the impact to user experience was too great. We recognize this is a change from our previous statement and for that we’re truly sorry.
It’s encouraging that HTC care enough to take the time to explain its actions however I’m fairly sure that the words will do little to soften the blow. Once again it will be down to the developer community to pick up the slack and offer Desire HD owners some Ice Cream Sandwich goodness (Just don’t mention Jelly Bean!)