Like most of the users in this android forum we are newly acquired soldiers in the smart phone war. The iphone has reigned king for too long with so little. With Android its hard to miss its limitless potential. We have had our Hero for a couple of days now and I'm already feeling like a second class citizen. The hero was shipped with 1.5 firmware, the 1.6 Donut was announced for release yet we have yet to be able to download the tweaked android build. It also seems that Verizon's entry into the Android war with the realease of Droid aka the moto sholes is shipping with Eclair 2.0 on Nov 6th. It seems that everybody but sprint customers are getting the sweets and as usual were getting the shaft.
Aside from the normal tech malfunctions of a new system on a new network the donut 1.6 supposed to mend some type of synergy with the CDMA network as well as some other quick fixins'. I hope that HTC and Sprint are on top of keeping the OS abreast with the rest of the world. Now what is taking so long?
The short of it? Bureaucracy (Sprint) upon bureaucracy (HTC). What I personally find funny is that our "release" has bugs that were found by users in less than a day. The Hero has been out for months with the CDMA version getting FCC approval in August. Just who exactly did they give the phone to for beta testing? My guess? Fingerless blind men...
Oh well I still love the phone.
I wouldn't be surprised if the 1.6 version of Android has enough stuff that Sprint/HTC want to tweak the SenseUI a bit to take advantage of the new features / functionality. That will necessarily introduce delays. There is also the matter of 1.6 being officially released only weeks before the Hero hit the streets in the U.S., not enough time with the final release to make all the necessary changes, test the changes, and roll it out to the phones (not to mention the roll-out challenges themselves).
Be patient. I have faith that Sprint will not be the only carrier to leave their Android customers high and dry with Android updates. T-Mobile rolled out 1.6 but their phone had been on the market for a year and they had time to prepare for this roll-out. Verizon is skipping the roll-out updates and just starting with 2.0 (which frankly impresses me). Sprint have said (I believe) they will roll out Android updates, so no fear getting left behind but un-updatable phones like the WinMo phones.
I will be surprised (and very happy) if the Hero gets the Android 2.0 "Eclair" update, but I'm sure that will take even longer because it certainly has a ton of new features (and reported lots of speed).
I hope Sprint doesn't hold back updates as a ploy to get people to upgrade phones to get the latest OS after the 1.6 update because that would be very disappointing indeed (especially if Android 2.0 has hardware requirements the Hero can meet).
In regards to the beta testing, I know people had the device many weeks before release. I got mine two weeks before release. All that was in the box was a little online survey that mostly asked questions about how we felt about the Style of the phone and how much fashion mattered to us. I had many problems with the device. I emailed HTC, and contacted the Sprint representatives who gave me the beta phone.
Sprint is very good about creating amazing programs. Getting Heros out to at least one Sprint employee at almost every location and getting them trained on the device so we can train others. But as far as having a support system for the phones there was none. Beyond the trainer (who I had correct many times during the training, even though it was my first time handling the phone) there was no one to really contact with our build issues. I would assume some of the earlier and more important beta testers experienced the same issues, and I would like to at least hope that HTC and Sprint have been working on resolving these issues for a while.
It is hard for me, I spent 7 years of my life training people on and developing/improving technology. Being on this side of things can be taxing at times as I feel like I am voiceless. All I can do now is get on these forums and try to help as much as I know how and do my best to be a resource for my customers.
The Eclair statue is now up on google's campus. They are very fast with the upgrades. Don't worry, Sprint and HTC will be getting all these updates out as fast as they can. We must be patient friends. The phone has been out for just over a week. It'll happen, and I bet we get one of them before Christmas for sure. Donut is only a slight improvement over what we already have. I will be excited for Eclair, but it looks like multitouch still won't be on Google maps. We will get layers though, which is nice.
Is the palm pre the only Sprint phone which doesn't require Sprint Development to mess with? After my experience with the Instinct, I have ZERO respect for Sprint development. They ignore the most important requests to fix meaningless ones. Exactly how dependent will we be on Sprint for these updates?