My disappointing Android upgrade

By December 14, 2012 7 Comments

About a month ago I dropped my old Samsung Galaxy Nexus on the floor at the Gare du Nord train station in Paris and when I picked it up the screen was quite badly cracked. I was of course annoyed at myself for dropping the phone but a little part of me was quite pleased, because the new Google Nexus 4 was due for release a couple of days later and now I could get one with a clean conscience.

Unfortunately when it did go on sale the Nexus 4 sold out in half an hour and I wasn’t able to get one. I persisted with my cracked Galaxy Nexus for a week or two waiting for Google to get more stock, but when it went on sale in the US but for delivery in the New Year I decided to get a Samsung S3 from eBay to use until I could get a Nexus 4.

My old Galaxy Nexus had been upgraded to Android version 4.2 shortly before I broke it but non-Nexus Android devices have their upgrade timetable decided by either the handset manufacturer of the carrier and when I got the Samsung S3 it was running Android 4.1. I wasn’t really surprised, but I was upset to lose the benefits of the 4.2 upgrade, particularly the Gesture Typing, which is amazing.

The new news is that, in a perverse kind of way, things have now gone from bad to worse. I had been wondering how long it would take Samsung to upgrade my S3 to Android 4.2 and I thought my wait was over yesterday when my phone automatically downloaded an upgrade. The problem is that I was only upgraded to Android 4.1.1. That means no Gesture Typing, less slickness and speed, and no Photo Sphere Camera.

Most importantly I have to assume that the next upgrade will be a little while in coming. A search of the web this morning revealed that all Samsung have to say is that an upgrade to 4.2 is ‘in the works’.

It makes no sense to me that Samsung should deny their S3 customers access to the latest version of Android. These are early adopters who like new technology and have shown themselves willing to spend money on a top end handset. Samsung is pushing them (including me) towards Google and their Nexus range of phones which are always swiftly upgraded. I understand that Samsung has a proprietary UI it runs on top of Android and they have development work to do before they can push out the Android upgrades that Google gives them, but I have to believe they could push them out quicker than this.

The good news is that I was able to order a Nexus 4 when they went on sale again at the beginning of last week with a delivery time of 1-2 weeks, meaning I should get it any day now. I can’t wait to get back to that gesture typing, it really is amazing. Maybe nearly as good as a full keyboard for short documents.