Neatly summarizing all of my issues with carrier control over Android devices, Verizon has today pushed a ridiculous excuse of an update for Droid Bionic owners. Rather than offering up the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, Verizon has chosen to instead to distribute some minor bug fixes laced with some awful bloatware. Aaron Souppouris writes for The Verge:
The standout features from the changelog are support for National Plus Code Dialing and Bluetooth Personal Area Networks. Verizon has also deemed fit to provide you with the latest bloatware, so along with the fixes you'll receive an Amazon MP3 app and the VCAST Apps Store.
Such behavior is symptomatic of virtually all problems I have articulated with regard to carriers and Android. Instead of dedicating time to the distribution and testing of Ice Cream Sandwich, Verizon has evidently used man hours to wedge the woefully pointless VCAST app onto the Droid Bionic. In other words, Verizon has put its own interests tangibly and blatantly in front of the best interests of the consumer.
Although that's not necessarily surprising, it's certainly indicative of the problems associated with allowing carriers such far-reaching control over your platform, and provides a bleak outlook for the integrity of the platform.
Unless the landscape changes significantly, this particular instance provides an apt summary of why I will not be moving to an Android device any time soon. You can harp on about having "control" over your device all you want but, realistically, the vast majority of Android phones allow you little more than cosmetic control. The carrier withholds the ability to distribute software, to dish out bloatware, and to slap a logo on your device at will, and that's simply unacceptable for me. I don't want workarounds and complications, I just want my device to be up-to-date with little cognitive processing required. Regardless of the many positives of the base Android operating system, until the gaping discrepancies between Google, the carrier, and the consumer are rectified, I'm thoroughly uninterested in buying into it. Simple as that.