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Android 2.1 Non-Release — A Case Study in Real Time News Failure

Updated to let those of you searching for news on the HTC Droid Eris Android 2.1 update know that as of 2÷23÷10 the only known date is Q1 2010. So, before the end of March is all Verizon is saying right now.

There’s a lot of hype behind the idea of real time infor­ma­tion flow on the internet. In partic­ular the idea of getting news updates in “real times” is floated as a holy grail of the infor­ma­tion age. But is it really such a good thing to get instant reports? I present to you the Android 2.1 Non-Release for the Droid Eris.

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HTC Phone Running Android - Image by Josh [unemployed IT dude] via Flickr

The HTC Droid Eris is a Verizon phone that currently runs Google’s Android 1.5 mobile phone oper­ating system. It’s owners (myself include) are eagerly awaiting an update to the latest and greatest Android 2.1. An upgrade that has been promised by Verizon for Q1 of 2010.

On February 17th there was a post on the Droid Eris forums at Android Forums from someone someone claiming he’d received an OTA (Over The Air) update to 2.1. Of course posters started spec­u­lating. Screen­shots were posted to back up the claim and they appeared legitimate.

In a matter of hours Engadget had posted Some Droid Eris Users Getting Android 2.1 Update complete with picture cribbed from the forums.

Shortly after, an almost iden­tical post appeared at Eletro­n­ista and another one at Androinica and after​dawn​.com.

Fast right? Just one problem. Android 2.1 hasn’t been released on the HTC Eris yet. It is however avail­able to a small number of Verizon testers.

In each case the reports were almost iden­tical and they were clearly based off the same handful of forum posts. These reporters were in such a rush to give us up to the minute, “real time” news that they didn’t bother to apply even the most basic of common sense to the infor­ma­tion they read on the forums. Just a few minutes of thought and fact checking would have quickly debunked this rumor.

But hey, it’s more impor­tant to be fast than right yeah?

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