Android 2.1 Delayed on the Motorola Droid, No Nexus One on Verizon

Motorola's move to push Android 2.1 out to its popular Motorola Droid smartphones has been delayed by more than a week, prompting an angry backlash from users expecting new feaures. The company said via its Facebook Page March 25 the rollout is taking longer than expected. Meanwhile, the Google Nexus One, rumored to roll out from Verizon Wireless at the CTIA Wireless 2010 show March 23, is still not on Verizon. A spokesperson said it's not happening...yet.

Motorola's move to push Android 2.1 out to its popular Motorola Droid smartphones has been delayed, the company said via its Facebook Page March 25.

Motorola pledged to begin upgrading the Droids from Android 2.0 to the latest version of Google's Android mobile operating system March 18, offering users pinch-to-zoom multitouch, voice-to-text entry and other features.

A Motorola spokesperson told eWEEK the upgrade would be deployed to a small number of Verizon Wireless test users that day, with a broader rollout to all Droid users coming shortly thereafter.

More than a week has passed and still no upgrades, much to the dismay of users hoping for a better Android user experience. Motorola posted this message on its Facebook Page:

"We know you guys are anxiously awaiting the upgrade from 2.0 to 2.1. Ultimately, we want to ensure you have the best possible experience on your device; as a result, the rollout is taking longer than expected. Though we don't have the new deployment date to share just yet, we do promise we are working to get you updated information and will relay it as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience. We appreciate it!"

Patience does not seem to be a part of the equation, according to the comments on Motorola's Facebook Page. Dejection and outrage are the norm among nearly 400 comments.

Joshua Weissman wrote: "yeah best possible experience I think its too late after the three dates promised and then pulled from you. You should just be concerned about getting it out by the end of march Q1 (Another time frame you promised) ends march 31."

Ken Schweda added: "Seriously how much time is needed? Come on Verizon and Motorola. if Milestone can upgrade surely you can get Droid t to also. This really should have done months ago. How many times have we hear this? My question is do really think this has been handled well by either company. We have five lines and two droids. We have been with Verizon since 2003. I expect more and have been very disappointed."

Barry Wood offered some balance on behalf of the companies: "Lovin' my DROID! The update will be released when moto and vzw are sure that it works 100%, y'all be patient!"

Chris Giles agreed: "what i dont understand is you all bought your phones knowing what it was running and until they said they were going to upgrade them at some point you all bitch that you need the upgrade now or your selling your phone."

Angry Droid users began alerting eWEEK to Motorola's failure to launch 2.1 late in the day March 18. One anonymous reader wrote to eWEEK: "lies, all lies, still no update. broken software, ignorant verizon support, no help for issues, at least 3 false releases from motorizon."

Late software upgrades are quite common in the wireless world. While they are treated with a healthy dose of scorn and skepticism, it doesn't compare to a failed rumor that a carrier is supporting a favored phone.

The blog Neowin cited an anonymous Google employee who claimed Verizon Wireless will begin offering Google's Nexus One smartphone on March 23, timed for the CTIA Wireless 2010 show. This rumor was buoyed by the fact that the Nexus One passed FCC inspection for use on Verizon's CDMA network.

At least five Android smartphones were released at the Las Vegas show, though none of them came from Verizon, which is expected to offer the Nexus One this spring.

eWEEK asked when the carrier would have an "update" on the Nexus One situation. Remember, the March 23 date was an unconfirmed rumor. A Verizon spokesperson replied: "Update? We've never said we were selling the Nexus One. Nothing has changed."

A reader correctly pointed out that Google is still touting the Nexus One on Verizon here.

Meanwhile, HTC CEO Peter Chou proclaimed the Nexus One, which has only sold about 150,000 units since its Jan. 5 launch, a success. Chou told Forbes the Nexus One will improve HTC's other Android phones:

"We can quickly leverage that credit to show that we are the top Android brand."

He also said Google is happy with the device, recalling arguments that Google isn't trying to sell more devices than Apple's iPhone, but to get enough mobile market share for its search and advertising.