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HTC hasn’t always had the strongest track record when it comes to serving-up the latest version of Android on its older phones.

Two years ago, it made a spectacular U-turn when it announced it would be bringing Android Gingerbread to its then year-old Desire handset, just days after it said the phone lacked sufficient memory for the upgrade.

Since then, updates have been sluggish at best. And today we reached yet another point in HTC’s difficult relationship with Android software bumps.

The Taiwanese company says it won’t be bringing the latest 4.2 edition of Google’s OS to its One S device.

On the face of it, that’s shouldn’t be a huge issue. We are, after all, talking about a budget handset here.

But we’re also talking about a phone that was only launched in February 2012.

android fragmentation

A device which falls well inside Google’s promise, revealed at I/O 2011, that all Android phones should be able to offer new software 18 months after they hit shelves.

It’s been argued by HTC fanboys across the web and on Twitter that the mainstream couldn’t care less. Yet that kind of misses the point.

When you buy a new smartphone these days, you expect it to last a long time and to continue to have access to the very best apps and software.

Contracts are a lengthy 24 months, so why shouldn’t consumers be able to get the best out of their phones for that period, if not longer.

They are, after all, paying a hefty premium.

galaxy s2 largo

As if to ram home the point, Samsung is bringing Android 4.2.2 to its Galaxy S2, a phone over two years old. If Sammy can manage it, why can’t HTC?

To rub further salt in the wound, HTC won’t even be bringing the new version of its Sense custom skin to the One S either.

No matter which way you dress it up, this is a move designed to get users of a phone that’s barely a year old to upgrade to the admittedly superb HTC One or its forthcoming One Mini stablemate.

HTC is in a desperate place. Its margins are minimal, its profits have flatlined. In short, we’re talking about a company that needs to make sales.

htc sense 5 and 4

But the fact is it also has a duty of care to those who’ve paid good money for phones that aren’t exactly crushingly out of date.

Google must be tearing its hair out right now. This is exactly why it’s so keen to push Google Editions of top Android phones, but it could have at least expected HTC to lend a helping hand.

Instead, there’s set to be a further raft of tales of about Android fragmentation and a key player in the ecosystem not standing by its users.

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