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One device -- the Xperia C -- will never see an official OS version upgrade

Just when you think Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) has turned it around when it comes to becoming a more customer friendly company, its mobile division decides to rock the boat.

Sony announced today that it was abandoning its customers who had purchased Xperia smartphones launched only a little over a year ago (and which were still being actively sold only months ago).  Forget about Android L -- these devices won't even get Android 4.4 "KitKat" -- not officially, at least.  They'll all be stuck on Android 4.1-4.3 "Jelly Bean".

To add insult to injury, one of these devices will never receive any Android OS updates in its entire lifetime.  Also at the time of the launch most of these devices were already running builds of Android that were obsolete by up to a year. 

Xperia L
The Sony Xperia L is among the devices that won't receive further OS updates.

The devices in question are:
  • Xperia C
    • Released: July 2013
    • Release OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
    • Final OS Update: July 2013
    • Final OS Version: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
    • The most recent non-OS software update for this handset was released in August 2014.
       
  • Xperia L
    • Released: May 2013
    • Release OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
    • Final OS update: October 2013
    • Final OS Version: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
    • The most recent non-OS software update for this handset was released in April 2014.
       
  • Xperia M
    • Released: August 2013
    • Release OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
    • Final OS Update: March 2014
    • Final OS Version: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
    • The most recent non-OS software update for this handset was released in June 2014.
       
  • Xperia SP
    • Released: April 2013
    • Release OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
    • Final OS Update: February 2014
    • Final OS Version: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
Xperia SP
Sony Xperia SP

While users can, of course, turn to third-party firmware like Cyanogen, that requires asking for an unlock and a fair degree of savvy.  Further, third-party firmware replacements -- even CM -- tend to struggle at times on the hardware front, particular with devices such as these which aren't top selling models (and hence optimization targets).

The Japanese electronics giant remains well behind its South Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese rivals who are dominating Android's ranks.  And given that its sales pitch is "Buy a phone -- we may never upgrade it!" it's hard to imagine that changing.

One small piece of good news is that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit against Android OEMs and carriers in the U.S., complaining that their slow upgrades are "endangering" customers.  Another small consolation is that Sony is offering "non-operating system" software updates for the devices (e.g. fixes to its core apps, etc.)

Sources: Sony [Xperia C], [Xperia L], [Xperia M], [Xperia SP]





"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)






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