Just as it seemed we might be seeing some critical mass in the move towards updating Android devices to ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ almost nine months after release, ‘Jelly Bean’ arrived and threw things back into a fragmented turmoil where the overwhelming majority of devices are TWO VERSIONS BEHIND. Oh well, at least we continue to see updates rolling out on pretty much a weekly basis.
The HTC Flyer was an intriguing 7″ tablet that combined excellent performance from a single core chip with a full HTC Sense-ified Android 2.3 Gingerbread interface. Late in 2011 OS updates were initiated by HTC for the core system and we have slowly seen specific versions roll out ever since. This week the U.S. Cellular version of HTC
The problem? The update is to Honeycomb, NOT Ice Cream Sandwich!
Well, I went through the process and here are a few thoughts:
– First, the HTC Flyer really isn’t meant to hook up to a computer. To do the update you need a PC (Mac won’t work for this, but you can access USB storage from a Mac … curious). Also, you need to specify the USB mode each time you connect as ‘HTC Sync’ … not the default ‘Charge Only’ or the ‘Disk Mode’ I prefer to use. Honestly … this is worse than hooking up the HP 200LX or Newton 20 years ago!
– Once you are connected, you will learn that you need to install HTC Sync on the PC (150MB) before you can proceed with the update. OK … about 10 minutes later you are ready to update. As a note, I could connect but never successfully synced my stuff. Now, run the update. Provided you have done everything else, this should all go smoothly. And your HTC Flyer will reset.
– Note that you lose EVERYTHING doing this. You are setting up a fresh device, from WiFi login to Google Accounts to Facebook to … well, everything. You will need to set up all of your apps, and so on. The HTC site tells you all of this … but I want to make sure you are ready! I expected it to happen, and sometimes it is good to start fresh.
– Unfortunately … you get Honeycomb. The Vista of the mobile world. The worst operating system I have used since … well, the Windows Mobile 6.5 update on the HTC Touch Pro 2! The Honeycomb update changes up the interface, but not in a way that is useful or efficient. It feels different for different’s sake – and SLOW. Everything is still done largely the same way, but everything is slower. Remember the feeling of running Vista on a netbook then going back to XP? It is like that in reverse!
If nothing else, the HTC Flyer update allowed me to pull out my Google Nexus 7 and think … WOW Google has come a long way in tablet interface usability in 18 months. Sadly there is no ‘undo’ button, because I WOULD go back to the ‘obviously-made-for-smartphone’ Gingerbread.