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.