One of the major drawbacks of buying a mobile using Android as a platform is the delay in updates reaching the user. Several major phone companies and carriers lag behind in pushing the updates that Google releases. Among the cell phone companies HTC is the quickest in releasing the updates. HTC had released the Froyo update to 50% of the compatible phones in 2010, a recent survey said. On the other hand Motorola updated 15.4% of the devices, Samsung 11.4 % and LG, Sony and Dell did not push any updates. There have been rumors from T-Mobile, which claims that Samsung is holding out updates as a marketing gimmick for its forthcoming release of Vibrant 4G. Also Motorola and HTC were the fastest to update their phones within almost 56 days.
Among the carriers Verizon has updated a third of compatible device with Froyo and was also the fastest to update the handsets (within 58 days), Sprint updated 28.6 % of devices while T-Mobile only 1/8th of its consumers. AT&T lagged behind with it not pushing Froyo updates to its handsets in 2010. Sprint and T-Mobile crossed three months before managing to update their devices.
The problem with the Android update distribution system is the many layers and steps that it has to get through for an update launched by Google to reach the end user. Google forwards the source code which each phone company edits and customizes for its own UI and then the carrier makes its own changes before finally forwarding it to the user. Each phone company has to evaluate the update and make sure it is running properly and in tune with the smart phone also whether the apps are working with the new OS update, hence the delay.
An HTC PR stated that it takes time to port all of our applications over to Froyo and then make sure that it is running well on each of our devices. They should make sure that our applications are taking advantage of the Froyo features. To make sure that they are all running properly on the OS now that it is a new version. Google plans to address these problems with the next Android update Gingerbread and hopes to remove such issues and make the updating much easier hence a reduction in time frame for the user.