We tend to avoid excessively suggestive metaphor here on Android Community, but the latest statement from AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson definitely qualifies under the edited heading “twin spheres of a metallic alloy nature”. In a recent wireless industry panel, the executive blamed Google for slow updates to existing Android phones. His statements are baffling, considering that Google doesn’t actually update any hardware beyond the Nexus phones and other developer devices.

Here are Stephenson’s words from the Milken Institute’s 2012 Global Conference:

Google determines what platform gets the newest releases and when. A lot of times, that’s a negotiated arrangement and that’s something we work at hard. We know that’s important to our customers. That’s kind of an ambiguous answer because I can’t give you a direct answer in this setting.

The executive seems to be a little confused about how Android updates work: Google posts the open source code for new version of the OS on their developer website, then manufacturers update their phones (or all too often, don’t) then the carriers push out the updates (or don’t). The delicate relationship between device manufacturers and carriers in the US, where cellular providers often insist on custom apps, software, locks, blocks, and visual elements, can make the update process a maddeningly slow experience.

Stephenson’s comments betray a lack of knowledge in the fundamental way that the Android ecosystem functions – or, on AT&T, fails to function. It makes us wonder who made the call to arbitrarily lock the bootloader on AT&T’s HTC One X. Google responded to the comments, saying that they offer Android freely as it becomes available, and do not engage in negotiations for individual smartphones.

[via 9to5Google]


  1. I’ve had ICS, working perfectly, on my AT&T Galaxy S2 since I bought it in February, thanks to CyanogenMod. How can Cyanogen get this done, and AT&T can’t? 

    • Uhh CM9 is still in nightlies phase so wait til a stable release before you compare.  
      It would be stupid for AT&T and every carrier to release beta software to customers. CM9 is also AOSP so basically the same software using the particular phones device tree.
        For your S2 samsung needs to add the Touchwiz Skin and specific carrier requirements and then it needs to be heavily tested before release(Yes carriers probably add some delay to it) But they must release a stable build unlike CM9.

      AOSP projects are great(I love CMP/AOKP) but it is definitively not for everyone 

      What would be for everyone is if OEM’s would not add skins and carriers not add bloatware and use Stock Android source. 

  2. Google updates Nexus devices? I call BS.  I have the Verizon Nexus, and I’m STILL on 4.0.2

    Google writes the updates, but doesn’t actually carry out the udpate on the Nexus. The damn carriers still have to approve it. Such a pain….I though I was getting a phone that recevied OTA udpates direct from Google.

    Lesson learned. Pay for an unlocked phone if you have the dough.

      • This isn’t true. Google has clarified they still support the CDMA Nexus, although it’s not listed on open source site anymore because of file issues with different CDMA signatures. 

        4.0.4 is out for CDMA (which is Sprint and Verizon Nexus), but Verizon is apparently testing the shit out of it and dragging their feet, while Sprint is already running 4.0.4

      • Hey stupid, go re-read what I wrote. It’s called a statement, not a question. I was voicing displeasure with the process, not asking what the holdup is. 

        Take some time to understand what you’re reading before you go an make a fool of yourself (which is probably a regular occurrence for you).

  3. i do believe that its the carriers that slow down the updating process. they always want to block features that naturally come with the software update. for example the hotspot and tethering feature naturally free on unlocked gsm nexus versions. also just being updated on to the latest firmware without carriers always trying to regulate what we should and shouldn’t have in the new updates. i just don’t understand why carriers feel the need to control a device that doesn’t belong to them. locked boot loaders and furthermore update. all they do is provide service with having the ability to make and receive calls, internet, and text messages. c’mon stop the madness let our phones be free from bloatware and carriers restrictions. carriers should stay in there place.

  4. Liars. All of them. It’s all about the money for these suits. These carriers have perfected the “Take More, Give Less” policy precisely.

  5. Yeah, this guy is a horse’s ass.  Get your act together, AT&T… the people that care about this kind of thing know you’re full-of-it.  It’s not worth trying to BS your way through the ineptitude.

  6. I never understood the idea of bloatware that providers put on phones.  Just take the OS when it is put out, test it for bugs with each phone you want to release it on, and then release the OS as it is meant to be.  If you want to release themes, apps, or other stuff it should be optional.


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