Carriers, Manufacturers Called Out for Failing to Update Android Phones
Security firm Bit9 on Nov. 21 released its "Dirty Dozen" list of insecure smartphones. The list focused on Android smartphones because approximately 56 percent of Android phones in the marketplace are running out-of-date and insecure versions of the mobile operating system, Harry Svedlove, CTO of Bit9, told eWEEK.
Smartphone manufacturers Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG are slow to upgrade these phones to the latest and most secure version of Android, Bit9 said in its report. The manufacturers are focused on pushing out the latest new models every few months, but users are generally locked into two-year contracts, Svedlove said. Wireless carriers and manufacturers don't bother to support users on older handsets because it's in their financial interest to have users keep buying new handsets, he said.
Wireless service carriers and smartphone manufacturers have thus far failed to effectively handle the software update process, causing unbelievable fragmentation in the Android ecosystem, Svedlove said.
On the Dirty Dozen list are the Samsung Galaxy Mini, HTC Desire, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, Sanyo Zio, HTC Wildfire, Samsung Epic 4G, LG Optimus S, Samsung Galaxy S, Motorola Droid X, LG Optimus One, Motorola Droid 2 and HTC Evo 4G. Bit9 looked at phones having the highest market share, running out-of-date Android and having the slowest update cycles.
The most secure were the Samsung Nexus X, HTC Droid Incredible, Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Sensation and the T-Mobile G2. Even though the Nexus is made by Samsung, Google controls the handset entirely, so Nexus owners receive updates almost instantly, Bit9 said. The T-Mobile G2 was originally launched with Froyo a year ago, but T-Mobile has pushed out several updates over the air to its users since then.