by Al Sacco

When ‘Today’ Really Means ‘3 Days from Now’ (Or: Where’s My @#!% Android KitKat Update?!?)

Nov 15, 20133 mins
AndroidMobileSmall and Medium Business

Google said Tuesday that it started rolling out the latest Android software to Nexus tablet owners. Tech bloggers passed on the "news." Three days later, the update is still not available, and's Al Sacco is developing carpal tunnel syndrome from constantly tapping his tablet's System Update button.

I’ve been obsessively checking my Nexus 7 tablet’s System Update page every couple of hours since Tuesday, when Google posted the following announcement on its Google+ page:

“Starting today, Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013) and Nexus 10 will be getting a tasty update to Android 4.4, KitKat. Stay tuned, Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 versions with mobile data will be getting the update soon!”

One of the real advantages of owning a Nexus tablet or smartphone is access to new Android software updates before other Android devices. And the Android 4.4 ‘KitKat’ update is a significant one. So, I continue to tap away on the System Updates page, only to be told “Your system is up to date.” Which sounds to me a lot like “No KitKat for you!!” I wait a while and try again. And I’ve been doing this for the past three days. (I shudder to think what Google means when it says the cellular Nexus tablet will get KitKat “soon.”)

Android KitKat 4.4

The experience is a familiar one. Tech company X makes an announcement that product Y or update Z is “rolling out today” or “expected today;” tech blogs run with it and post the announcement as if it already happened: “Update Z Rolling Out for Product Y!!” More tech blogs source the first blog, and before you know it, readers and gadget geeks wonder why everyone else seems to be getting the update but they still can’t. They leave comments on the blog posts explaining they haven’t received the update. Then they run to Twitter or Facebook and ask who else hasn’t been able to update. It eventually becomes clear that the software is not in fact available.

And the tech press misses the real story: Company X is messing with its customers again by suggesting a product, service or update is available before it really is.

Anyone who works in the industry or follows tech blogs closely knows that some version of this sequence happens a lot. And it’s really annoying. (I’m using Google as an example here, but lots of other companies do it too.) Perform a quick search for “Nexus 7/10 KitKat update” and see how many blogs posted that the software would be available on Tuesday, just because Google said it planned to start releasing the update. As of this writing, you can manually load the KitKat update, but I have not found a single Nexus owner who claims to have received the over-the-air update that was supposed to start “rolling out” on Tuesday. If it did, that’s some slow rolling.

Anyway, the point of this post is to identify the annoying practice and perhaps inspire readers and blogger to be wary the next time they read that an update is “coming soon.” I have no problem with bloggers and/or reporters posting on announcements like the one Google made on Tuesday. But there’s a very big difference between: “Google Says Android KitKat Should Roll Out Today” and “Android KitKat Now Rolling Out!!!” Those posts are deceptive, and after three days, when the update still isn’t available, the bloggers just look foolish — almost as foolish as I feel checking for the KitKat update every time I have a free minute.