Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A Lumpy Android Update

Last week Vodafone UK finally released Android 2.2.1. It wasn't the smoothest of updates. Everything seemed fine until the following morning when everything started crashing with messages about insufficient storage. I mean literally every process on the device, from the dialer to obscure processes.

After a lot of irritation and mucking about I was able to delete a particularly large app (Skype, as it happens, which is 13Mb), restarted the phone and normality returned. It was scarey and I missed a number of calls and messages. For a normal user I can image that it would be very worrying indeed.

Shipping software releases is not a new process but it remains a very tricky one as this just demonstrated. Even with cloud computing, the client software still needs updating so this is a skill we cannot afford to loose.

In this case some form of check for available storage would have prevented the problem. I'm guessing that what was consuming the storage was the downloaded system images. It is easy to envisage a mechanism whereby the update itself checks to see if there will be enough space to install itself then remove its download without causing everything else to fail.

Let's hope that the next Android update includes just such a check or another mechanism to make it smoother. It would be a shame to damage the good progress this nicely comfortable system has made in the market place.

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