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A painful Android update for my Milestone

Posted by fabriziogiudici on May 3, 2011 at 1:05 AM PDT

Motorola was reasonably quick in delivering the first two updates (2.0.1 and 2.1) of the Android operating system for my Milestone (a.k.a. Droid), a short time after I bought it. Then, the Froyo (2.2) update was many times announced and postponed. The last time I checked was in past December and there were no news. In any case, having enabled the "update available" notification I supposed the phone itself would have warned me of the update.

Instead, yesterday I discovered that the notification was broken - indeed my phone wasn't ever able to connect to the remote server of Motorola. Googling around I discovered that the Froyo update for Italy has been available since a few months. But this time the update procedure was different. Instead of being able to update by itself, it has been necessary to download a Motorola application and then connect the phone to the computer. An unfortunate and annoying detail is that the Motorola update application is only available for Windows. Well, I have all major operating systems on my laptop and at my lab, but what about a poor, simple user running Mac OS X or Linux?

The update process was initially complicated, à la Windows: when I connected the phone, the operating system automatically installed a pack of drivers, failing something at the first attempt and fixing it at the second. Then the Motorola update application kicked in and I must say it went smoothly, driving me in the process. Which wasn't linear, as multiple reboots of the phone were needed.

In the end, I got Froyo on my Milestone. But, surprise, instead of running smoother, it was much slower, quirky, pausing and crashing applications multiple times. I quickly googled around and discovered that this was the experience of many other users.

The thing was solved by a factory reset. Of course, this means that the phone erases any information which is not on the SD card - but I had a backup and a sync of the data (I think that the backup/restore process is complete and painless if you sync your stuff through Google GMail, but I never do that for my privacy, so I bought Missinc Sync for Android which syncs locally to my laptop). In the end, I only lost a few favourite locations in the MotoNav navigator - no big deal.

In the end, Froyo is running smoothly now and at last I'm able to move some applications from the internal memory to the SD card, fixing the "low space" warning that I've had for almost one year. But the update wasn't smooth at all and I'm puzzled at thinking how a non technical user would deal with it.

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