Bloomberg reports that Google is getting serious about OEMs updating their Android devices to the latest version of Android. The company is not only pressuring OEMs and carriers to roll out updates faster, it is also ranking them based on how up-to-date their phones are and the security patches they are running.
The company shared a list with OEMs earlier this year, and to shame and force some OEMs to perform better, the company even discussed making the list public.
Over the years, Google has taken a number of steps to fix the fragmentation issues plaguing Android. While security was a major concern with Android earlier, the company started rolling out monthly security patches after a ‘Stagefright’ vulnerability was discovered that affected 1.4 billion devices. Many top-tier OEMs like Samsung and LG also joined Google in rolling out monthly security updates for their devices, though they have been struggling in meeting their goals.
To push security updates out faster, Google is even asking carriers to exclude them from their testing. This will not only makes rolling out the updates faster, but also reduce the testing cost by several thousand dollars.
OEMs are not the only one to be blamed for the slow updates. In United States and some other markets, carriers are also to be blamed. Once the carriers receive the final update from Google, they do their own testing that cane take a few months. Verizon is notoriously bad in this regard, but the report nots that on Google’s behest, the carrier has reduced a few weeks from its testing cycle. However, the process still runs into months. Sprint has also cut down on its testing period for updates from as much as 12 weeks to “a few weeks” as per the VP of Product Developer, Ryan Sullivan.
Google has even started sharing the source code of upcoming versions of Android with OEMs early so that they can better prepare for the update. With Android N, companies will be getting access to the source code more than six months before the final version of the OS is released. This should allow OEMs to greatly speed up the roll out process for their devices, as they will have plenty of time to prepare for the update.
Despite Google’s continuous efforts, very few Android OEMs have stepped up their games in quickly updating their devices to the latest version of Android. So, it makes sense for the company to start getting more stern regarding the whole process. What do you think?