Change needed: Custom carrier OS’s delay access to critical updates!

Written by: Mike, Friday, September 18, 2009 12:03

Owners of T-Mobile’s G2 Touch across the pond are no doubt all too familiar with the latest shinning example of how carriers can really botch a handsets reputation. What do I mean? The G2 Touch received a recent firmware update from HTC to fix a number of stability, speed, and other various issues that plagued the handset since launch. Even though T-Mobile’s G2 Touch and the more commonly named “Hero” are the same phone, it is only those who own the un-TMO-fied Hero that are able to take advantage of the major update. What’s the deal? You see, every carrier thinks they are the end all be all of the world. They feel that no matter how “perfect” a phone is from the manufacturer, there is always something they can do to fuck touch it up. This isn’t anything new. Not by a long shot.

Here in the states the most notorious firmware/software tweaker has been Verizon as their common UI can be found slapped across practically every handset they sell. Though they have started loosing their grip in the last year or two. Moving back across the sea, T-Mobile UK has been tinkering with the latest Hero/G2 Touch update so that their branding and tweaks can be thrown in costing development time which in return becomes a delay for end users. The more technically gifted end users aren’t sitting and spinning their thumbs and pretending nothing is wrong as they take matters into their own hands by loading custom firmware versions. While loading custom fimrwares that aren’t your carrier’s official version, you always run the risk of some nasty stuff happening, though such problems aren’t very common. Not everyone has to deal with their carrier meddling with their phones as Orange UK actually uses the firmware version released straight from HTC meaning no wait for customers.

Of course, it would be so much easier and beneficial for all parties if carriers refrained from putting their grimy finger prints all over our phones wouldn’t it? I can certainly understand form a support perspective why a unified UI or carrier custom UI/firmware is desired — it makes support personnel’s jobs much easier. But at what expense? The extra work that would be required by the support team which are ultimately getting paid to…you know…support, now trickles down to end users. In the end, the end users often don’t know how to troubleshoot problems or why updates that are available straight from the manufacturer of their device won’t work on their handset. You see, it’s bad for everyone.

There have been attempts to smooth out this whole process of allowing carriers to have specific settings and allowing updates to quickly reach customers by way of a standardized “operator preferences” file. Naturally everyone again feels that their idea is the best and there isn’t any wiggle room. Further hampering the problem, each handset is different and customization options will vary from handset to handset making a single unified file impossible.

So we continue with this release, wait, release again cycle. Hopefully carriers at some point realize the problems they’re causing and either abolish this act of holding up crucial updates or finally figuring out a way to make the process exponentially faster. What do you think? Would you like to see an end to carrier branding/carrier specific firmware?

Source: The Register, Image Source

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One Response to “Change needed: Custom carrier OS’s delay access to critical updates!”

  1. keith says:

    September 19th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Well that bit about Orange is not true. Just like T-mobile they are playing around with the update and putting their mark on it. So neither of the networks have released the update yet…

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