Sony Mobile has had a chequered history when it comes to firmware updates for its Xperia range. Who can forget the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and its notoriously slow update schedule. The phone launched in March 2010 on Android 1.6 Donut, despite Android 2.1 Éclair being available from the start of the year. It took until the end of October 2010 for users to finally receive the update. The company then said that the Xperia X10 would not receive the Android 2.2 Froyo update, only for it to eventually release the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update over time.
Sony Ericsson needed to build its reputation after that episode and made massive strides in 2011. Firmware updates for its line-up came relatively fast and it was great to see the whole Xperia line-up being updated at similar times. There’s no doubt that the company benefited from much of the range being on the same hardware platform.
Fast forward to 2012 and it’s been a bit of a mixed year. Sony Mobile has released more smartphones than it has in any other year, with many on different hardware platforms (some Qualcomm and some ST-Ericsson). Therefore it’s probably inevitable that updates have not been as timely as its competitors.
It’s commendable that Sony is still looking to update most of its range to new firmware, but the recent news that some of the budget range will not receive Android 4.1 Jelly Bean has left a sour taste for some. This is probably more grating given that they were led to believe that Sony would do the right thing given the company’s 2011 efforts.
For many though, it’s the waiting game that is frustrating. With Jelly Bean not expected to appear on the Xperia S (one of its 2012 flagships) until April 2013 at the earliest, it appears the company has gone back to the dark days of the Xperia X10 when it comes to the update schedule.
Given the competition in this industry, this may end up putting some customers off – especially on the premium side, where owners demand timely updates. Many Xperia S owners can’t understand why, for example, the budget Xperia J is expected to receive the update before it.
Anyway, what is your view on this issue? Is it a big deal to you that you have to wait so long? Does it put you off buying into the Xperia brand again in 2013 or beyond? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this below.