Update: No Froyo for Droid Eris, Verizon confirms

Angry customers want to know their options

Verizon Wireless confirmed Thursday that the Android 2.2 update known as Froyo will not be made available for the Droid Eris smartphone, outraging some customers.

Rumors that the Eris, built by HTC, would not be updated with Froyo started circulating in June, but as other phones running earlier versions of the Android operating system began getting the update, Eris customers became restless to find out if they would get the features provided in the update, such as Flash support.

That restlessness turned to anger Thursday as some customers on Android forums said they have another year on their Eris contracts but can't upgrade to get the capabilities or applications they seek, including some apps that require Flash media player support.

Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney confirmed that Froyo would not be provided for the Eris. "We have other options in Android devices, so this is part of the normal evolution of our portfolio," Raney said in an e-mail.

She wouldn't say when Verizon reached its decision, nor would she say what the options for Eris customers will be; she just repeated, "We have other options."

Computerworld blogger JR Raphael first reported Verizon's decision Sept. 9.

One Eris customer, Matthew Hengey of Wyncote, Pa., said he will probably have to live without Froyo on his Eris because he has another year on his wireless service contract. "NOOOO! This stinks!" he said via e-mail. He wrote that he wanted to use the update to get all his apps installed to an SD card. "Right now there is not enough room for everything on my phone and I am left with a tight ship of sparse apps I truly use," he said via e-mail.

He asked if Verizon would be "willing to give me a nice discount on a Droid 2?" He also said that he might be able to "root" his Eris to update modules and add customizations and wondered if Verizon was encouraging customers to do that. Rooting is generally defined as gaining access to the operating system to give it added functions, including the ability to run some applications. Another commenter, Markdmac, questioned whether Verizon was ending Eris updates.

In December 2009, Verizon provided updates to Eris that included software fixes to improve performance.

Also, Verizon made Froyo available for the HTC Droid Incredible in late August, while the HTC Evo 4G, which is available from Sprint, got the Froyo update in early August.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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