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HTC’s Android own–goal: How the phone-maker is easing into irrelevance

HTC’s Android own–goal: How the phone-maker is easing into irrelevance

HTC’s decision not to offer Android 4.3 or higher to owners of its One X and One X+ handsets doesn’t come as a huge surprise.

The Taiwanese mobile-maker has a chequered past when it comes to serving up Android updates to its once-flagship phones.

A huge furore arose in 2011 when it revealed its year-old Desire would not be getting a taste of Android’s then top-of-the-line Gingerbread software bump.

This time around though, it really is hard to find excuses. The One X+ is just 14 months old, the One X is closing in on its two-year anniversary.

Not spanking new devices, no. But hardly creaking, superannuated phones either.

What’s more, Google made a huge play of its latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat, being capable of working on ageing phones.

Here’s Google’s head of Android, Sundar Pichai, speaking last November: “[KitKat] can run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices that are popular in much of the world.” That’s hardly ambiguous.

HTC One X+

Now, the One X+ has 1GB of RAM, as does the One X. Some have blamed the Nvidia processor that HTC used in the device for the failure to bring the update to devices.

HTC said in a statement: "We realise this news will be met with disappointment by some, but our customers should feel confident that we have designed both devices to be optimised with our amazing camera and audio experiences.”

Some might say that getting het up about HTC’s unwillingness or inability to serve up Android 4.3 or higher on its 2012 devices is pointless.

That key features, such as the camera and music player, will still work fine.

But that’s to miss the point that users who bought these phones most likely got them on two-year contracts.

And when they signed up it was with the entirely justifiable expectation that they can download apps and services that use the latest version of Android to deliver optimum performance.

Now though, they’re stranded on an older version of Android.

Google’s assurances that all devices up to 18 months old can and should run the latest software sound hollow when one of its key partners makes a decision like this.

Yes, HTC is bringing Android KitKat to its year-old One flagship. But evidently its not interested in older customers.

If they served up timely updates, then perhaps they’d have more repeat custom, rather than scrabbling around in a desperate attempt not to be the next Nokia or BlackBerry.

android kitkat packet

There are many reasons why HTC has gone from hero to zero.

But burning those who've handed over hundreds for a supposedly cutting edge piece of tech like this is surely a key factor in its ongoing decline.

Try imagining Apple not serving up iOS 7 on the iPhone 5 and imagine the rightful stink it would cause.

In a world dominated by software and services, HTC has failed to understand that having the latest iteration is essential.

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