Dec 27, 2013

Why does it take so long for Android phones to get software updates?

It seems as if any update to Android takes forever to reach customers. Google can release an OS update, and it be months before it is pushed out to owners of existing hardware (or it is NEVER updated). This is one of my only real complaints about Android, but why does it take so long?

Why Android Updates Are So Slow

"If there is one complaint we hear from Android users more than any other, it's the speed at which software updates arrive. Or don't arrive. It's especially tough on tech enthusiasts who read about all the advantages of the new update, but can't get it on their own devices for six months, if at all. Even brand new devices typically fail to launch with the latest version of Android. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus—a marquee Android flagship if there ever was one—only got its new Jelly Bean (Android 4.2) update today.

This has been going on for years. So what the hell? Why hasn't the problem been fixed? And who's to blame here? We asked Android manufacturers, carriers, and Google what the hold-up was. And, what a tangled web we found."

There are at least three players in every update: the manufacturer, Google and the carrier. This means that there are a lot of steps that have to be taken by a lot of people. With so many different devices out there, the current update model practically mandates that it takes a long time for updates to be released, if ever. Google is trying to improve this make by making it so updates can be pushed directly by them using GAPs.

The various manufacturers of Android devices have their own flavors of Google's open source mobile OS. When a new version of Android is released, the manufacturers must adapt it to their (bloated) flavors of Android. That takes some time. This applies specifically to the carrier versions of Android devices (the Google Play versions of manufacturer Android devices get the OS updates faster).
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