Not Secure,... Really?
As smartphones continue to gain functionality they are also increasing in the amount of of personal information they contain. From sensitive emails to banking information our phones hold data that needs to be kept secure and when shopping for a new smartphone this holiday season security needs to be on your list of things to consider.
The problem is that although all new devices come with a standard 2 year contract most only receive updates for half of that time. Meaning that security updates that Google has released to keep Android secure are not making it to the consumer in a timely fashion if at all. Many of the threats come from malicious applications like the incident earlier this year where Google had to use a kill switch and remove apps remotely that were compromising people's data from over 300,000 handsets. Google shortly released an update to Android in June, but almost none of the top 20 devices have received the update. Only Nexus devices are updated directly by Google and receive the latest updates when released.
10. HTC EVO 4G
The EVO 4G shipped in June 2010 with Android 2.1 it is now on Android 2.3.3 and averaged 115 days between updates.
9. Droid 2
The Droid 2 launched in August 2010 with Android 2.2 it is now on Android 2.3.3 and average 148 days between updates.
8. LG Optimus One
The Optimus One shipped in October 2010 with Android 2.2 and now is on Android 2.3.3 and averaged 190 days between updates
7. Samsung Galaxy S
The Galaxy S shipped in June 2010 with Android 2.1 and is now only on Android 2.3 with an average of 255 days between updates.
6.Samsung Epic 4G
The Epic 4G shipped in August 2010 with Android 2.1 and is still chugging along on Android 2.2 (hey it has flash) and averaged 291 days between updates.
The Wildfire was released in October 2010 with Android 2.1 and is only on Android 2.2 with an average 228 days between updates.
The desire was released in August 2010 with Android 2.2 and is only on Android 2.2 with an average of 233 days between updates.
3.Samsung Galaxy Mini
The Mini was released in April of 2011 and only came with Android 2.2 and is still running Android 2.2
2. LG Optimus S
The Optimus S was released in October 2010 with Android 2.1 and is only now on Android 2.2 with an average of 165 days to see an update.
1. AT&T Sony Xperia X10
The AT&T Xperia X10 shipped in August 2010 with Android 1.6 a shame for such a powerful device at the time and sadly while other versions have been upgraded to Android 2.3.3 the AT&T version is still on Android 2.1. With no flash support and no upgrade in sight. With months left on contracts this is simply unacceptable and rounds out the list and the number one lease secure device.
As you can see with the AT&T Xperia the update process has to go through two sources the OEM and the carrier both have to customize and approve updates and it leads to a system that needs an overhaul. If you purchased the Xperia or any one of these devices thinking you would receive timely updates and security fixes along with Android it's a sad state of affairs. Companies too often hype up devices as leading edge and many are, to simply move on to their next devices and neglect those who signed two year contracts on these smartphones.
This is one of the major knocks against Android as other OSs such as iOS and WindowsPhone receive their updates directly from the OS developer and do not have to go through the hoops or risk being left out to dry by their carrier or OEM. Consumers should be guaranteed updates for the majority of their 2 year contracts and if the OEM can't devote the necessary attention then you should be able to opt out of their custom UI in order to get the updates they can't or wont deliver. Things have been getting better however and updates have been coming faster for the newer devices than did their predecessors, but that is no comfort to those still locked into contracts on devices that have been put out to pasture.