HTC Thunderbolt owners can't catch a break. After months and months of waiting for Verizon to push out the official Android 2.3 Gingerbread update, customers were all set to get their new software yesterday. Unfortunately, it seems like over half a year wasn't long enough, and Verizon has halted the upgrades to work out a few more bugs.
Users reported a variety of new and annoying issues, including voicemail playback bugs, camera glitches, issues with the HTC Sense interface layer and the phone locking up. Both HTC and Verizon are working to resolve the voicemail issue (though a Verizon representative made no mention of other complaints) and intend to resume with a revised software update "soon". Customers will be notified of availability through Android's native OTA update system. The possibility that Ice Cream Sandwich might be out by the time Thunderbolt users get a stable version of Gingerbread is regrettably not out of the question.
The latest in a long line of delays highlights one of the flaws in the current Android ecosystem: the software relationship between Google, manufacturers and carriers. When Google releases a major Android update, manufacturers have to get it working with their hardware, then add any customized software that they want (in HTC's case, Sense UI) and then send add in any software the carrier wants (in Verizon's case, quite a lot). This makes getting timely software updates to customers a headache for all involved - and a major incentive to investigate rumors of a Google-supported Verizon Nexus Prime.