Google changes Nexus update policy to account for carrier delays

Google changes Nexus update policy to account for carrier delays
As we should all know by now, there are three main items that factor in to how quickly an Android update is pushed out to a device: the age of the device (newer devices get updates first), manufacturer software customization, and carrier additions/testing. Traditionally, if you purchased a Nexus or Google Play edition device, you would avoid those delays and get software updates as soon as Google could push them out. But, that's not quite the case anymore.

More and more, Nexus devices have been sold through carriers, and the new Nexus 6 is being made available through all major US carriers. So, Google has made a slight change to the language in its Android update policy for Nexus and Google Play edition devices. Previously, the update policy said that "once an update is available, it can take up to two weeks to reach your device" (accounting for how Google rolls out updates); and, the policy noted that devices outside of the 18 month window may not get the update. Now, Google has also added in the sentence, "Based on your carrier, it may take longer than two weeks after release to get an update." 

We know that some of the carrier branded Nexus 6 devices do come with some bloatware on them (though it can be removed); so, Google is obviously covering its bases here. Still, it is sad to see that carriers can cause delays even with Nexus and Google Play edition devices.

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18 Comments

1. JMartin22

Posts: 2327; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

That then defeats the very purpose of getting them over an OEM device, that is otherwise superior in features, battery life, camera quality and other hardware bells and whistles.

5. Manti123

Posts: 207; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

I'm not so familiar with this issue .. But please, can anyone tell me why only Apple is able to roll out its OS update to everyone instantly and simultaneously ? Microsoft has almost the same ability. Why not Google? You might say It depends on the OEM or carrier. But why BlackBerry behaves like Google in updating its OS despite it has a control over the software and hardware? Any clear answers?

6. DnB925Art

Posts: 1167; Member since: May 23, 2013

When Apple came out with the original iPhone, they actually wanted to go with Verizon as the exclusive carrier. Unfortunately, as we know how Verizon is, wanted to be in complete control of the iPhone, including putting on their bloat. Jobs basically said "Screw you Verizon" and offered it to AT&T instead. AT&T was willing to accept Apple's terms to be the exclusive carrier. Then the iPhone became very successful, and now the other carriers, like Verizon, wanted to carry the iPhone because they were losing customers to AT&T who carried the iPhone. Because of the success of the iPhone, they had no choice now to accept Apple's terms to carry the iPhone. Basically it was the iPhone's success on AT&T (who was willing to accept Apple's terms) that helped Apple to push these terms on the other carriers.

11. tedkord

Posts: 17131; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Because Apple controls every facet, including the hardware. Android is only software, and is designed to work with any combination of hardware, meaning it needs more drivers, etc...which the OEMs must supply. That's more for the non nexus models. For the nexus models, Apple doesn't allow carriers to add anything software wise. They know exactly what hardware, control all the software, etc... So they can have it ready for all models they're still supporting at launch. Whereas Android creates the base OS. Then the phone manufacturers modify it how they like, then the carriers add their own proprietary software and test the whole thing before release. That all takes time.

16. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Plus it's not exactly like the carriers are racing to upgrade your phone when they can always just sell you a newer model.

2. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Even WiFi only devices are delayed eventhogh theyre not under any carriers.

3. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Why even offer Nexus devices with carriers? They should all be unlocked. No exceptions. RIP TO THE PURE GOOGLE EXPERIENCE.

4. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Lol so much for the Nexus experience. Wouldn't have this problem on an iPhone since apple doesn't let the carriers mess with the software.

12. tedkord

Posts: 17131; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Yep, you just get the first three versions riddled with bugs that don't seem to get fixed.

7. somad

Posts: 169; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

So google can't control software update!

8. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

This one of the reason I gave up my Galaxy Note 3 is my primary phone and switch to Lumia 1520, theres other reasons, but I love developer preview, I love knowing I will get updates and not have to wait for yes or no. I had so many androids, so many reboots, so many hard resets. I will admit android as a whole got better with 4.0 update, it still have reboots, but not as much as the older android OS's. I even got use to the lag from all those different androids, people who said they did not lag in the past lied, now a days they start to admit it the old phones lag, since android as a whole got better. The 1520 I had none of those problems, no reboots, no lag, it just works. Even the problem some 1520 owners had with the sensitivity issue, I never had, Nokia kept sending updates to help people with those and WPCentral found out it was not a software issue it was a hardware which explain why I and others did not have it. I never rooted any of my android phones or do any customization, so switching to Lumia 1520 was easy for me. I do not download a lot of apps, so missing apps argument do not work on me. I do think Samsung be messing up their phones on purpose, I remember updating my Galaxy 1 note to the new android os at the time and since then it move slower and etc, I did hard reset and etc, and nothing work, then I seen others who had galaxy 1 say the same thing, so I had to up grade to galaxy note 2, when I was not in a rush to get it......... Google needs to do better and follow Microsoft Developer Preview, never got left behind, and if the article is correct that they posted a week or two ago on here that Microsoft will be adding firmware to their developer preview I would probably never leave Microsoft, because I know they will take care of my phone if I actually decide to stay with a phone for more than a year......I still have android a LG G2

14. kach22

Posts: 153; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Am I the only one who think it is a Microsoft's marketing campaign? Sadly for me WP kinda died with the exclusion of Nokia name. Microsoft doesn't stir much interest in me anymore.

9. rowdysheeter

Posts: 74; Member since: Sep 10, 2014

I never understood why depend on a career? I mean, like we get apps and their updates, why not get all updates independent of career restrictions?

10. gb2702

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 18, 2012

I'm on Telstra (Aus) & have a Nexus 5 bought from Google Play, unlocked. Still no update for Lollipop! Have read online, because I have a Telstra Sim in my phone Telstra are blocking the OTA update "from Google" as they are testing! People have put another carriers sim card in & update notification arrives! Not happy! but given the amount of issues I have read re Lollipop it mght turn out to be good thing they are testing. Question is are they testing 5.0.0 or 5.0.1?

13. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

This seems like a big surrender to the carriers. It should be the other way around. Google should be taking a stand against the carriers and forcing them to get on the ball with updates that Google submits.

15. tedkord

Posts: 17131; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

They can't. What are they going to do, refuse to sell them through carriers? Verizon won't let you activate a phone on their network that isn't okayed by them. Taking a stand means selling fewer devices, and it seems like Google wants to take the Nexus line mainstream, and not just have it be a developer sample any longer.

17. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Apple figured out a way to take a stand AND sell a whole bunch of devices.

18. Gemmol

Posts: 793; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

the amount of sales iphone bring, will make any company change their tunes.........theres not one company who have a flagship that sell same amount as one of apple phones, and I am just talking about in America, when have you seen a galaxy or nexus phone do apple sales in america, to make carriers change their rules

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