6

Froyo and Gingerbread each added a lot of changes compared to their predecessors. Honeycomb caused a lot of confusion, what with it only ever being available for a very few tablets. Ice Cream Sandwich was a big deal, with a lot of changes. Each of the Jelly Bean iterations, less so (although "Project Butter" was a significant improvement).

The idea with the first of these Community Wiki questions was to act as a repository of knowledge and to short-circuit the plethora of "When will {name of device} get Android {version}?" questions that we saw.

Are these still needed?

By all indications, the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 (KitKat®) are going to be released in about four weeks. The last few Nexus devices will get it (those not encumbered by carrier customizations, that is, like my Verizon Galaxy Nexus) and the flagship devices of the big OEMs within a few months.

But will we really be saving ourselves from a bunch of "When will {name of device} get Android 4.4?" questions if we make another Community Wiki?

Google has done a lot to move key functionality out of the OS into updateable apps/services. (By golly, remember when we had to get an Android update to get a new Gmail?) There's not much of anything in Android 4.3 that I feel like I'm missing on my VZW GNex at 4.2.2. Things are much different now than when a new version of the OS made the device feel brand new.

Also, it takes time and effort to keep those lists updated. Even though they're Community Wiki, I've only ever seen a handful of people add information to the answers. Plus, they get out-dated. No one is clamoring for information on Froyo or Gingerbread, and few are still looking for information on Ice Cream Sandwich. Anyone still on prior versions there have resigned themselves to the version they have or have taking the plunge with a custom ROM.

So, should we continue to create and maintain these Community Wiki Android version questions/answers?

More importantly, if we don't, how should we handle the inevitable "When will {name of device} get Android {version}?" questions?

  • 1
    Well it didn't take long for our first "Will I get KitKat?" question after the announcement, so I've added yet another of these wikis. Open to other ideas, as I do agree with all the problem points you raise here. – eldarerathis Oct 31 '13 at 19:28
9

4.3 hasn't seen much action (it hasn't been long), but the questions for 4.1 and 4.2 each have over 20k views.

By comparison, the average question got less than 1.8k views in the last year (my calculation assumes no older questions got views, which is obviously wrong).

There are definitely problems with these questions but besides being massive drivers of traffic, they're also pretty highly voted. People want them.

I see the direction Google is going, but I don't think we should follow suit until our audience does.

4

I second Matthew's thoughts: we do need to do something for this situation. We still get a lot of "Can I install 4.2 on my $phone?" questions, and at the moment the only alternative course of action is to answer them all individually (if anyone bothers answering them).

I for one wouldn't be sorry to see the "When will my device get..." questions go: they're necessarily going to be incomplete, and they're a time sink to keep up-to-date. But the second half of your question, the part you haven't set in bold, the part no one is answering; that's the important part. How else should we handle the inevitable "When will {name of device} get Android {version}?" questions? If someone proposes an alternative, we can debate it. I'm afraid I have no ideas, and it looks like no one else does either.

  • You're right. Without an alternative there's no tenable way to discontinue what we're doing. I'll add some extra emphasis to my question. – ale Sep 20 '13 at 13:22

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