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Thread: Old Android: How long will old phones be supported? How long old versions of OS?

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    Old Android: How long will old phones be supported? How long old versions of OS?

    I've been using my Palm Pixi for less than a year and already it's frustrating me by hanging and not being friendly to a lot of Web sites. I've been considering picking up an Android 2nd hand (e.g. a 3G Incredible or a Fascinate or a Citrus, suggestions welcome), with the idea that Android unlike WebOS doesn't seem liable to go defunct any time soon. Then I noticed all the desserts Android seems to have passed through, and realized that even an Android phone might soon lose app support, updates and easy use of the Web, if only the new desserts and new apps aren't written to work on the old phones and/or if Web designers cease to worry about users of the old Android versions. I was encouraged to read that version 4 was supposed to work on the original Incredible, which sold with version 2, but I got the impression this was incredibly lucky, so I worry that if I buy an old phone like this, it might not remain supported, if it's even able to run the current OS the day I buy it. Should I expect to enjoy a happy relationship with a 3 or 4 year old phone, and if so, how long should I that to last? Thanks for any thoughts.
    Last edited by OliverBPixi; 04-16-2013 at 04:53 PM. Reason: prolixity

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    Android 4.x doesn't work out of the box on any of 3G-only Verizon phone. The solution is to use a custom ROM so that you can run newer versions of Android than what Verizon and the manufacturer provide. Read this: http://www.androidpolice.com/2010/05...you-want-them/

    The desserts you refer to are just code names for major versions of Android.
    Gingerbread = Android 2.3
    Honeycomb = Android 3.x (tablets only)
    Ice Cream Sandwich = Android 4.0
    Jelly Bean = Android 4.1 and Android 4.2

    If I remember right, the reason you want older 3G-only Verizon phones is for easy activation on Page Plus. Is that correct?

    Avoid the Citrus. Terrible phone!
    The best 3G-only Verizon Android phones are the Droid 3, Droid X2, Droid Incredible 2, and Samsung Fascinate.
    Last edited by Slinkwyde; 04-17-2013 at 07:51 PM.

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    At the moment 2.3 is still fairly well supported, but on Verizon you're less likely to get updates. The Nexus line is supposed to get them first, yet the Verizon Galaxy Nexus had to wait for ages.

    You might be better off looking at WP8 if you want to get updates independent of the carrier.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using HowardForums
    The word 'Pentaband' means '5 Bands', from the Greek word 'pente' meaning '5'. For a phone to be pentaband it has to support 5 bands. If the phone has AWS support, it doesn't automatically mean that it is pentaband.

    Don't send me PMs for questions that can be asked publicly.

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    If you don't have to be on Verizon (or Sprint), Nexus phones for AT&T and T-Mobile are probably your best bet if you want an up-to-date Android phone.

    The Nexus one launched with 2.1 then it got 2.2 and finally 2.3
    Nexus S 2.3 -> 4.0 -> 4.1
    Galaxy Nexus 4.0 -> 4.1 -> 4.2 (still supported)
    Nexus 4 4.1 -> 4.2 (still supported)

    Of course, you can upgrade all these with 3rd party software which may be more up-to-date.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slinkwyde View Post

    If I remember right, the reason you want older 3G-only Verizon phones is for easy activation on Page Plus. Is that correct?

    Avoid the Citrus. Terrible phone!
    The best 3G-only Verizon Android phones are the Droid 3, Droid X2, Droid Incredible 2, and Samsung Fascinate.
    Yes, I have in mind to continue on Page Plus. Thanks for the phone intel. "Easy activation" makes me wonder if there's a not easy and yet not particularly hard activation method for 4G phones you have in mind. When I skimmed a discussion about 4G on PP, it was over my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slinkwyde View Post
    Android 4.x doesn't work out of the box on any of 3G-only Verizon phone. The solution is to use a custom ROM so that you can run newer versions of Android then what Verizon and the manufacturer provide. Read this: http://www.androidpolice.com/2010/05...you-want-them/
    .
    Interesting. The article didn't link to any particular ROM issuers or lineages, but I'll look into that.

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    Thanks for everybody else. Useful food for thought.

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    I found this discussion informative:
    http://androidforums.com/incredible-...le-2-dead.html

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    In the meantime, you may wish to explore a factory reset of your pixi if you can afford to erase your phone memory (probably sms, mms, apps). Cleaning it up would probably improve performance.

    Sent from my DROID BIONIC using HowardForums

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    Quote Originally Posted by OliverBPixi View Post
    "Easy activation" makes me wonder if there's a not easy and yet not particularly hard activation method for 4G phones you have in mind. When I skimmed a discussion about 4G on PP, it was over my head.
    Well, I wasn't thinking about that but I have heard of one way. LTE phones (LTE being the kind of 4G used by Verizon) must be flashed to work on Page Plus, and there's no getting around that. Flashing an LTE phone to Page Plus 3G by yourself is hard, but in the Page Plus forum I've read about remote flashing services you can pay to flash an LTE phone for you. The easiest way is to only use old 3G-only Verizon phones like the ones I mentioned, and that's what I do. I've never used an LTE phone, so I'm not the best person to ask but you can ask about remote flashing services in the Page Plus forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by OliverBPixi View Post
    Interesting. The article didn't link to any particular ROM issuers or lineages, but I'll look into that.
    The most popular custom ROM by far is CyanogenMod (CM). That's a good one to try, but to get ICS or JB versions of CM on any of the phones I mentioned, you'll need to use an unofficial build from XDA-Developers. Go there and browse to the section for your particular device, and then look in the Development forum.

    CM7 is 2.3 Gingerbread
    CM9 is 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
    CM10 is 4.1 Jelly Bean
    CM10.1 is 4.2 Jelly Bean and is still in development, so a stable version hasn't been released yet.

    On my Incredible 2, I've been using an unofficial build of CM10 (not 10.1) for about a week and it works great! I haven't had a single problem, and I think I'll be able to keep using my phone for at least another year. It's a wonderful ROM. Jelly Bean's Google Now feature (personal assistant) is really useful. My phone feels very modern despite being from 2011.

    One word of caution: XDA-Developers is a website for developers. It can get pretty technical and they're often unfriendly to newbies. See here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmvCpR45LKA I'm no developer, but I'm tech savvy, studying Computer Science (programming) at college, and I enjoy helping people and can communicate clearly even to beginners. I can help you deal with XDA, and there are probably other people here in this Android section of HowardForums who can do the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by OliverBPixi View Post
    I found this discussion informative:
    http://androidforums.com/incredible-...le-2-dead.html
    To clarify to first post in that thread, "DD" is short for daily driver. It means a ROM that's good enough for everyday use, as opposed to something that's problematic but fun to play with for a short time. Many XDA members say they're addicted to flashing ROMs, that they flash a new ROM once a week or more. I've never understood that. I find one that works and then stick with it for months at a time.

    The thread also mentioned MIUI (pronounced me-you-I). I used it for a while and loved the interface but I removed it because stopped trusting it. MIUI is closed source software from China. The Chinese government has a history of spying and breaking into American Gmail accounts. Because MIUI is closed source, it's hard for outsiders to see what exactly is going on under the hood. I don't know if there's nefarious stuff in MIUI already, but the Chinese government could force Xiaomi (the company behind MIUI) to plant something in there. Even if I myself don't have anything interesting to the Chinese government, they could potentially use my phone to get access to other people, machines, and networks (and then do the same to them). They could access my camera, microphone, usernames and passwords, contacts, connected (or just nearby) WiFi networks.

    I don't trust MIUI, and I suggest that you avoid it despite the great user interface.
    Last edited by Slinkwyde; 04-17-2013 at 09:08 PM.

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    I would just make sure you get a phone that supports Android 4 at least after-market. That way you get all the cool new features and security patches. Android 2x isn't getting updates. It works well for now but that's about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slinkwyde View Post
    I don't trust MIUI, and I suggest that you avoid it despite the great user interface.
    I installed their clock. Would you avoid everything MIUI?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrObvious View Post
    I would just make sure you get a phone that supports Android 4 at least after-market. That way you get all the cool new features and security patches. Android 2x isn't getting updates. It works well for now but that's about it.
    I didn't have any problem with Gingerbread and would expect it to function well. I

    Sent from my DROID BIONIC using HowardForums

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steveanderson13 View Post
    I installed their clock. Would you avoid everything MIUI?
    My recollection is that Xiaomi released the code a while back, unless they have recinded it. Of course, without significant coding skills, most would not know what to look for if there was code to monitor them. Personally, I have used and continue to use Miui and love it for it's stability, constant updates and features. I don't avoid it at all. I like 360 launcher as well (it is very Miui like with an app drawer but also from China.) Both are available from Google Play Store as stand alone launchers if you don't want to go install roms.

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    Source code: https://github.com/miuiandroid

    Very interesting! Well, that changes things. Looks like Wikipedia is wrong and thus so was I. I still wouldn't want to use a Xiaomi account, which stores personal information like backups and cloud messaging on Chinese servers, but still it's good to know that MIUI source code is publicly available.

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