I get it, and it may seem like this is a rehash of an old question posted here too often, and I get that the Leia developers and managers are wary of answering it. Please read my whole post, though, before responding, because this question is certainly not a rehash, but a different angle and challenge to those who are able to see through to a real response.
The shallow part of the question is: “Why can the Lume Pad not support more modern builds of Android?” The response I usually read is that the ODM Platform (the basic hardware provided by an OEM) does not support it. To me, a systems engineer for many years, the answer is not sufficient unless the hardware/firmware manufacturer placed specific blocks in the boot-rom that prevents any later version of the OS to boot on the device. That would not make sense, because version updates include security fixes that protect users, and would introduce liability to both Leia and their contracted ODM Platform provider if they could not remediate such an issue. In today’s world, nobody still builds components which cannot have their firmware updated to support changes to the operating system, for such a reason.
Given that, even though the underlying hardware manufacturer has not provided any support to allow a newer version of Android to be installed, it does not mean that the operating-system provider (Leia) cannot contract or produce a newer version that can be delivered either OTA or via a USB storage-device. The only thing that would prevent the newer version from being installed would be time and expense. I understand the expense is real, and in today’s harsh economy it makes less sense for a company to budget developer time or contractual costs to provide an OS update when no perceived gain is seen, but I can alleviate some of those concerns with the following:
- Consumers are less likely to purchase Android devices when the provider does not update the underlying OS on a periodic basis.
- Existing users are more likely to switch to a different device if it appears that the manufacturer releases OS changes more often.
- The OS update can be crowdsourced, if Leia allows this to happen, especially because Android is mostly open-source already.
In the crowdsource solution, above, Leia could allow skilled developers to sign a non-disclosure in exchange for assisting with the development alongside the proprietary pieces of code that would allow an updated version of Android to run on the tablet, without causing the bundled apps to lose functionality or performance. I am confident that it would not be difficult to find external developers who can complete this at no additional cost to Leia, except for whatever it would cost to provide an API and the legal non-disclosure management.
What do you think?