HTC has hardly covered itself in glory when it comes to rolling-out timely Android updates to its very best Google-backed phones.
The Desire debacle is just one instance of the Taiwanese company failing to realise the strength of feeling amongst the Android community about its failure to keep handsets up to speed with the latest software.
And today the whole fragmentation issue rears its head once more, with HTC revealing specific details about when their Android phones will play nice with Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).
We say specifics, but in actuality, the official statement is chock-full of the usual vague assurances.
Released on Facebook, it states: “Ice Cream Sandwich is coming in early 2012 to a variety of devices including the HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation XL and HTC Sensation XE, as well as the HTC Rezound, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Design 4G and HTC Amaze 4G.”
"Early 2012" can mean anything from January to April, so that will hardly fill users with confidence. But it’s the absentees that are truly telling, with mention of the Desire, Desire S or Wildfire S.
Google might have said that it’s toughening its stance on sluggish upgrades, forcing manufacturers to make their phones available for software bumps for 18 months after their release.
And although HTC says it’s “continuing to assess out product portfolio”, things aren’t looking too good.
Let’s be clear. The Desire S is not even a year old and is one of HTC’s most popular Android phones.
It should have worked out how to update ICS immediately and should have been working with Google on this for months. Instead, it’s got nary a mention.
There’s going to be a huge fuss when it becomes clear that Android 4.0 won’t land on this device until well into 2012. And rightly so.
The wait for an update should not be measured in months. Why should Samsung owners be getting in on the ICS act while HTC punters look on in envy?
The whole point of ICS was to stop this kind of kerfuffle. Instead, we’re looking at HTC lagging behind, perhaps because of its increasingly tedious insistence on using its Sense UI.
Google really needs to get better at clamping down on custom skins and forcing its partners to do its bidding in better fashion.
Yes, HTC might be doing great business right now. But its huge Android portfolio is doing it no favours when it comes to updates. And users are the ones who lose out.
They look on as the 28-month old iPhone 3GS gets iOS 5 and wonder why their phones can’t have the latest Google software.
It’s no wonder some users think HTC cares little for legacy punters and more about attracting fresh blood to its smartphone revolution.