HTC, Android updates, and iterative hardware [opinon]

I wish I’d been on the podcast two weeks ago, to have a rant about the One X+. For some reason, this minor hardware update has completely set me off. The key selling point seems to be that it’s running Jellybean along with an updated version of Sense. Increased battery aside, the spec improvements seem negligible at best. I’m not doubting that it’s a little nicer than the original One X, but does it really matter? Jamie argued that he’d be annoyed if he already had a One X. I actually do have one and am annoyed, but not because of the spec bump.
The problem is that current One X customers are now left waiting even longer for Jellybean. It just strikes me as a completely cynical move. How can you position the One X as your flagship product when, at the very first opportunity, you decide to delay an update and instead try and cash in by launching a (lukewarm) update with timed exclusivity on the new software? When your sales are already struggling, does this strike anyone as the kind of move that will engender some (desperately needed) customer loyalty?.
Someone might argue that the new sales will fund updates for the old devices. But really? Couldn’t actual One X sales fund the development of its updates? Others will argue that you were happy with the phone when you bought it, and that you have no reasonable expectation of updates. Are these people really happy to pay top dollar for a phone and not expect updates?
Things have moved forward. Updates are now more than a reasonable expectation. They’re a minimum requirement. Apple have been showing how it’s done for five years now. And if you want to compete, you have to match the best. But Apple only have one model to update! Actually they have three. Which seemed like HTC’s strategy when they first launches the One X, S and V. Why release more models than you can support?
I know that the update will come eventually. It might just be a matter of a few weeks more waiting. What’s the big deal? I think it just shows a poor attitude towards your customers. If you’re going to launch and market a flagship device, treat it like a flagship device. Don’t ditch it at the first opportunity. Give your customers the assurance that they’ve made the right choice. Push out the updates as fast as you can and make them feel vindicated in buying a HTC. Build up some goodwill and watch as it turns into strong word of mouth and recommendations.
I know it’s hard t believe after this rant, but I’ve actually stopped being annoyed about updates. The issue has been beaten to death so many times. I simply moved to the Nexus and stopped worrying (even though those aren’t perfect either). It’s just that in this case, I bought into HTC’s strategy with the One series. Concentrating on a few phones and getting them right. Not constantly launching pointless derivatives and updates. With the One X+ it just feels like HTC is already back to its old ways.

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  • Ste1164

    I don’t see a point in the rant. The one x jellybean update will be out around the same time as the one x+ is released I am testing the update right now for HTC

  • ste1164

    Also they released the One X+ to better compete with the S3.

    • Damnit – you said the same thing two days ago!

  • Harvey

    This is something that really grates my goat as well. Apple has shown over the past few years how updates should be done, yet Android OEMs still can’t seem to master it.
    I don’t know why Google don’t enforce an update plan though – after all, it’s ultimately their reputation that is being tarnished. For example, if an OEM wants access to Google Play from their phones they have to sign an agreement that they will update each phone to the latest flavour of Android before the next flavour is released. Google need to get tough on this.

  • DJ Agent M

    I’m with you Ravi. The point is what happens in 6 months time? The price of the One X has gone down already the price of a One + will go down when HTC announce another set of phones in march/April. I like Rav am annoyed because I got my One X 2 months ago and before I got it asked and searched to see if HTC would bring out a new handset in September/October like the usually do. I was assured that HTC weren’t doing it then look what happens. HTC are only competing with themselves not any other company.

  • They had to do something to contend with the S3, and its a worthy contender IMO.