More than a Billion Android Devices Are Out of Date

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    It’s common knowledge that Android devices tend to be more out of date than iOS devices, but Recurse Center’s Dan Luu has published some data that reveals just how old devices in the wild are. In May 2017, Google announced that there are over two billion active Android devices: based on the latest stats, nearly half of these devices are two years out of date.

    We’ve seen that Android devices appear to be getting more out of date over time. This makes it difficult for developers to target “new” Android API features, where new means anything introduced in the past few years. It also means that there are a lot of Android devices out there that are behind in terms of security. This is true both in absolute terms and also relative to iOS.
     
  2. otherweeb

    otherweeb Gawd

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    So it's my fault my Galaxy note 2 hasn't had an update since 6/19/2014?
     
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  3. Cyraxx

    Cyraxx [H]ardness Supreme

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    By "Out of date" I'm guessing they are out of date and they aren't pushing any updates to the phones?

    Either way I have a couple, mostly because I just keep them as backup incase my current phone gets lost. They likely won't be used again.
     
  4. LightsOut41

    LightsOut41 Limp Gawd

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    Exactly.
     
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  5. dandirk

    dandirk [H]ard|Gawd

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    pretty much an issue with open source software, or more specifically how it was implemented.

    Vendors created their own OS basically and stopped supporting it... and THEN the carriers did the same thing... So if either decides to stop support, the devices will be out of date.

    So while being open source Android got the quick penetration it needed but pretty much created the fragmented mess they have today. Which the vendors like since people will tend to upgrade etc. I am sure they also assumed everyone would trade in their devices for the new 2 year contract etc... but they decided to get rid of that for the most part and make you pay for the device while still keeping at least some of the fragmenation crap and their custom apps junk... win win for them.

    Microsoft at least kept a lot of control, allowing patching etc so while vendors still put tons of their junk on the devices at least the core OS was similar enough to patch and upgrade.
     
  6. Vermillion

    Vermillion 2[H]4U

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    And unless there's an easy attack vector that can compromise these devices and steal user data without their knowledge on a mass scale it's all just bullshit and clickbait.

    Let's look at the bad issues in the past and what happened.

    Stagefright? Nothing. Blueborne? Nothing. Broadpwn? Nothing. DirtyCow? Some reports of 3rd party malware from shady sites (meaning you did it to yourself if you installed it) but overall it did nothing but it did allow XDA to root a few devices. KRACK? Nothing so far.

    It also doesn't help that a majority of those devices are cheap pieces of shit from companies like BLU who throw a phone up on Amazon for dirt cheap and never even plan on sending an update.
     
  7. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron [H]ard|Gawd

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    This issue is agnostic of whether it's open source or not. This same shit happens with older versions of Windows too. So cut the crap about open source FUD buddy...

     
  8. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron [H]ard|Gawd

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    Also, one of the upsides to this, is that it is an indicator that people are trying to extend the life of their mobile devices. Contrast with those that replace them every few years.

    Want to know where your electronics end up? Ghana, to be literally burned for scrap :
     
  9. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Most people don't have the knowledge to root and install a 3rd party rom, so they just keep running the old version.
    If all you are doing is texting and making phone calls, then the version is not a big deal.

    If you are running apps, then you have bigger issues since so many newer apps need 2GB of ram or more.
    I have an older tablet I rooted and installed 6.0 on. Works fine for web browsing, watching amazon prime, etc, but games tend to crash due to the limited 1GB ram.
     
  10. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    That's the big problem with Android.

    It is great and typically more secure, and faster with security updates, if you have a Pixel/Nexus or an alternate ROM like LineageOS.

    If you don't - however - you are stuck with whatever security fixes the shitty cellphone OEMs can be bothered to release.

    I've said it many times before, but Google really needs to move to the desktop OS model, where they pass generic non-device specific patches directly to the end user, and the OEM is responsible only for making sure there are drivers. The current model is unsustainable.

    I'm going to say "Sortof".

    It astonishes me that so many people are so nonchalant about patches and security. IMHO, if a device or an OS doesn't get regular security patches you simply don't use it.

    I say this, knowing full well however, that even when these devices are supported Samsung and others are not diligent about keeping them patched and up to date, and most customers have no clue that they even are out of date.

    As someone who hangs out in a tech forum though, you have the technical knowledge to both know better than to run a device or an OS with well publicized unpatched 0-day's AND to do something about it.

    Check out LineageOS 14.1 for the Note 2. For a little time spent trying to figure out the confusing ADB interface, you not only will you get the latest security patches, but you'll also get it updated to Nougat, which is pretty awesome. LineageOS 14.1 runs very nicely on my 2013 Nexus 7, and made it feel like new again.
     
  11. Jovian

    Jovian Limp Gawd

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    I really wish there was an easy way do a check before allowing a device to connect to a network. But with all the different flavors of OS's and their various points of upgrades it would be impossible do that in any way I can comprehend.

    Users are dumb (maybe not some of you but in general) so it should be required by the manufacture or the service provider to manage this issue. I just have no clue how to make that happen easily without causing the user issues.

    I know with child car seats they typically have a life expectancy and need to be replaced after X years even though nothing structurally is wrong with them. This might be acceptable for phones in most of the US but emerging markets surely wouldnt work well for this.
     
  12. SomeoneElse

    SomeoneElse Gawd

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    iPhones run into the same issue. They stop supporting the older phones and stop allowing the iOS updates to certain versions. It issue is for the cheaper phones people just chuck to get a new one since they are expected to upgrade and even enticed by carriers to do so. Iphone 4 stopped at ios 8 and 5 stopped at ios10. That's the current upgrade model for all cellphones......they stop supporting the phones after a certain version. The consumer gets screwed no matter what. Short of hacking each device the only way its to move on from the phone.
     
  13. TrailRunner

    TrailRunner Limp Gawd

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    Totally different. iDevices get iOS updates for 4 years from initial release. When you get a new phone or tablet, you know as a certainty that you'll get security and feature updates for a certain amount of time. Compare that to many Android devices that get one or two OS updates at best and then no support ever again (yes, I'm generalizing, and no, not all are like this, but it's undeniable that for many devices this is the case). Even Google's own Nexus devices only got 2 - 2 1/2 years of updates. We'll see if Pixel gets supported longer.
     
  14. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    Yeah that's basically what forced me to upgrade to the Moto 5g from my 6 year old lg lucid 4g. 512mb of ram wasn't enough to do anything with newer apps, plus that phone was a pain in the ass to root so I never bothered.
     
  15. Sikkyu

    Sikkyu I Question Reality

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    This is such a stupid article, why would anyone care?
     
  16. SomeoneElse

    SomeoneElse Gawd

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    How is this any different? The devices are not getting updated anymore....they just allowed the updates to go for a little longer. If you want the new iOS(when owning these older phones) you have to buy a new phone. I'm talking about phones in general, not just iphone and not just Android based. Its planned obsolescence plan and simple.
     
  17. PaulP

    PaulP Limp Gawd

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    When I buy a phone for $500 or more, I'm not going to scrap it two years later just because the carrier is not supporting it with OS updates anymore. Not as long as it still works. I'm going to get my money out of the thing. So put the blame where it clearly belongs: on the carriers and/or manufacturers.
     
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  18. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    At least with Android you can usually root an older device and upgrade it with one of the public builds. Not a possibility with an iDevice.
     
  19. grtitan

    grtitan [H]ard|Gawd

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    This is why i dumped my Note 3 and moved to Nexus and then Pixel.

    If you want updates AND android, you only have one choice, google phones.

    Unless Nokia continue their "promise" of keeping up to date then that would be option two.

    The rest, they dont care.

    I must admit, i really like the openness of android, but this crap makes me look more and more towards IOS.
     
  20. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    So, you are going to put yourself, your data and your privacy at risk over it?

    I agree. It is shitty of the carriers and OEM to have such short lifespans on these devices, but that's a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    I can see doing without the latest features, but as soon as something, anything, no longer gets security patches it belongs int he trash. I wouldn't even feel right selling it to anyone else.

    Security is BY FAR the most important consideration on a y internet connected computer or device. Everything else is trivial by comparison.
     
  21. Oniigumo

    Oniigumo Limp Gawd

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    I don't know, I have a pretty bleak view after the whole Equifax breach. Work history, Address, SSN, you name it. They wouldn't have pulled that off a slightly outdated phone. Know what seems trivial by comparison? Stealing my clash of clans login or reading my emails.
     
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  22. nysmo

    nysmo Gawd

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    There's also a heavy imbalance in hardware:software needs right now. OS's are still playing catchup to what hardware is being released. In fact the only reason anyone is even upgrading these days is for a new color, new camera, new bezel, new form factor, whatever.

    I'm still rocking an LG G2 which was released on 2013 running Nougat 7.1.2, which is the latest flavor of Android I believe, and have almost no issues at all. It's snappy, I can multi-task, multi-window, etc. Rapid app switching shows some hesitation, as does anything else not immediate cached but damn, 5 year old phone running latest OS just fine.
     
  23. ccmfreak2

    ccmfreak2 Limp Gawd

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    Yup, sitting here with my Galaxy S4 by my side, running 5.0.1 Lollipop. Hoping to upgrade to a year-old HTC 10 after Black Friday hits and people put their used phones up for sale online.
     
  24. Domingo

    Domingo [H]ardForum Junkie

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    How many of those are Samsung?
     
  25. Chunder

    Chunder Limp Gawd

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    But they said fragmentation isn't a real issue....

    This is all entirely Google's fault. They need to take control over their OS, especially away from Samsung. Over 90% of Apple products are on the latest version available, and that's because Apple pushes the updates straight to their products.
     
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  26. Krazy925

    Krazy925 epeen +10

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    Stop making sense.
     
  27. cjcox

    cjcox Limp Gawd

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    hmmm... help build a platform that prevents upgrades... and surprise, people aren't upgrading. Is Google really stumped by this? Google likes people to believe they are doing "good", but maybe they're really the enemy?
     
  28. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Exactly this.

    My HP Chromebook 14 which I bought in April 2014 got an Update yesterday. My Moto X Pure (factory unlocked, bought new) which I bought in Nov 2016 has had 1 update in December 2016. WTF?
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  29. Dk975

    Dk975 Gawd

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    With practices like this, why buy an expensive phone when even it will not receive updates after 2 years. I have two 6 year old laptops that work great with Win10, and when MS stops supporting them, I can always move to Linux on them. This is why I wouldn't buy another Android tablet, never gonna get an update.
     
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  30. Vermillion

    Vermillion 2[H]4U

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    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  31. viper1152012

    viper1152012 Limp Gawd

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    Huh, Apple literally cut off anything less than an iphone 5s with ios 11....
    But what do I k ow
     
  32. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    The iPhone 5 was launched in 2012. That means it got 5 years of support.

    Most Android devices don't get more than 2 years of support.

    I'm no Apple fan, but they do currently support their devices longer than pretty much anyone else in the market...
     
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  33. PaulP

    PaulP Limp Gawd

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    So, let me translate that for everybody: "Hey dude, you got no choice. They have you by the balls. If you don't pay up every two years you're screwed."
    Sounds like a legalized version of the old protection racket to me. But even so, it might just be worth it if doing so really protected me from getting hacked. Unfortunately we know that isn't true either. It probably reduces the chances a bit, but that's a big price to pay. And there's nothing I can do to protect myself from something like the OPM or Equifax hacks. They pretty much got everything from me right there, including my fingerprints.
     
  34. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    I've been hearing about how my Moto X Pure is supposed to be getting Nougat "any time now" for ages...
     
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  35. Krazy925

    Krazy925 epeen +10

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    The weekly round of this argument.


    LOL.
     
  36. viper1152012

    viper1152012 Limp Gawd

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    I was just thinking if they are now cutting off support for older devices how long until they get into an android like cycle?
     
  37. _l_

    _l_ Limp Gawd

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    "Already I'm trying to get the taste out of my mouth and I've only been here 5 minutes."

    wow, what a hell hole to have to work in ... reminds me of a junk yard in Port Newark that I worked at for a while but it wasn't near as bad as Ghana