Google Android 6 stage update process

So I bought a new HTC Nexus One (brown with US warranty) last week and it came with a custom Vodafone UK ROM with Android Kernel Version: 2.16.405.1 CL223106 release-keys.  Unfortunately, this particular firmware prohibits any OTA updates or even manual updates and it was a nightmare trying to track down the problem.  Luckily I fell upon this user comment on Amazon’s website which led me to this page explaining the upgrade process which calls for a 5 stage process to get to Android version 2.3.3 which allows you to run the 2.3.4 update.

So to summarize, the upgrade process goes something like this where each stage took about 5-30 minutes (depending on download time).

  • Downgrade to 2.2 build FRG33 using passimg.zip method
  • Upgrade to 2.2.1 build FRG83
  • Upgrade to 2.2.1 build FRG83D
  • Upgrade to 2.2.2 build FRG83G
  • Upgrade to 2.3.3 build GRI40
  • Upgrade to 2.3.4 (Google announcement here)

With an upgrade procedure this onerous, no wonder so few devices are running newer versions of the Android Operating System.  The result is that there is an immense level of Android fragmentation leaving 99% of the devices vulnerable to a serious security flaw in the ClientLogin API.  ClientLogin was apparently designed without any encryption such that AuthTokens are transmitted in the clear.

The market share for non-vulnerable versions of Android OS might be a little better than 1% now but not much better according to Google’s statistics.

Image credit: Google

9 thoughts on “Google Android 6 stage update process”

  1. The overwhelming majority of Android smartphones get OTA updates, albeit whenever both the carrier and the manufacturer get their acts together enough to bother with it, so for them, this is a moot point. I’m not sure how tablets (not to mention other devices) are handling this, if at all, seeing as many tablets are not carrier supported.

    J.Ja

  2. “The overwhelming majority of Android smartphones get OTA updates”

    Then why are 99% of all Android devices (according to Google stats) running vulnerable editions of Android OS?

  3. Justin: No, that’s the opposite of what the graph says. Making statements like “the overwhelming majority blah blah” when a graph just above your comment shows that it’s not the case damages your credibility.

  4. @George Ou

    Because the vendors are slack about doing the mods to make the latest versions work on their phones, and the vendors are slack about certifying them and pushing them out. Look how long AT&T takes to push out WP7 updates, even though there is one canonical version of it… then add to that the insane fragmentation of Android plus the fact that most vendors tweak it to be different, and you can imagine why updates take so long, if they come at all.

    J.Ja

  5. This pretty much sums up why I rooted my phone. Although some of the manufacturers have done a terrible job of keeping up with the updates. Samsung/Sprint has done an abysmal job with their Epic 4G phone. I blame Samsung on this because the HTC Evo 4G came out with Froyo which the Epic failed to do.

    I understand the need to have 80 products on the market at once, but at the same time, being able to support all 80 of those products must be done as well.

  6. @Michael Baumli

    You should update your Epic 4G — http://forums.androidcentral.com/epic-4g-rooting-roms-hacks/

    @George Ou

    With the Nexus Prime running Android 4.0 coming out in a few months, I’m willing to wait since I already have an HTC Evo 4G and 3D. If you really want smartphone Android 2.3.4 today, you should consider the Samsung Galaxy S II — http://www.samfirmware.com/apps/blog/show/7649682-android-2-3-4-for-galaxy-s-ii-
    The Nexus One is fairly outdated by comparison.

  7. I bought the Nexus One because it was discounted to $260. Yes I know it’s a 2010 model smartphone, but it gives me 80% of what the new smartphones have but at less than half the price.

  8. @Blonko
    Blonko – You obviously only read part of my comment. Any Android device with a carrier connection (which is the definition of a “smartphone”) gets OTA updates… WHEN the carrier and vendor release them. It’s just that most devices rarely, if ever, get updates released for them. It’s not like you can just go to your vendor’s Web site and download the latest version of the OS and update your phone.

    J.Ja

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