AT&T CEO Might Not Know How His Android Phones Get Updated

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It's not easy out there for a carrier these days. Apple and app developers are swimming in cash, while you bear the brunt of consumer dissatisfaction. So you can understand when AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson took the chance to put the record straight once and for all about how Google decides when his company's Android phones get upgraded. Except for the part where he's wrong.

As 9to5Google reports, Stephenson was speaking at a conference in Los Angeles the other night when he said that "Google determines what platform gets the newest releases and when. A lot of times, that's a negotiated arrangement and that's something we work at hard." Sure! It's not AT&T's fault that the Nexus has Ice Cream Sandwich before your Captivate. It's brass-nails, no-holds-barred Google negotiating that's to blame.

Google, understandably, was surprised to hear it, since it makes the latest and greatest Android available to anyone who wants it as soon as the Nexus carrying it launches. That's not to say it's a totally fair playing field—Nexus gets a head start, for sure—or that it's AT&T's fault that its Android phones are stuck with older platform iterations. That blame rests more with the manufacturers, who have to adapt their tacky skins to most effectively muck up the pure Android experience every time an update happens.


At its heart, though, this isn't a story about confusion so much as it is about mounting tension in the Android ecosystem. An open platform has plenty of advantages, but it's also a free-for-all. One with billions of dollars at stake and plenty of blame to spread around. So why not try to send as much of the latter some other guy's way as you can? [AT&T]