Google may soon shame manufacturers by publishing Android update speeds

Google may soon shame manufacturers by publishing Android update speeds
The most persistent issue with the Android ecosystem has been the speed at which manufacturers push out OS updates. Google has tried a number of passive-aggressive tactics to make manufacturers speed things up. Google had manufacturers agree to update handsets within 18 months of hardware release (but had no punishment for failure.) Google also had manufacturers agree to release hardware with the newest version of Android available (but has no punishment for that either.)

The last move was to add a line to the About menu in the System settings to show what was the latest security patch installed on a device. But, a new report says Google might have another passive-aggressive move in its arsenal: public shaming. Bloomberg says that Google has been tracking how long manufacturers have taken to release Android updates (which itself is not surprising at all), but the interesting part is that Google might have put together a list that ranks manufacturers based on how up-to-date devices are with OS versions and security patches. Google has even allegedly been having conversations about whether or not to make that list public. 

Doing so would make sense from a number of perspectives. Not only would it fall in line with Google's tendency towards being transparent with data, but it would highlight manufacturers who need to work harder on getting out updates. However, its unclear if such a list would make a meaningful difference in getting those manufacturers to change. 

The problem is that the only people who would pay attention to the data on such a list are sites like ours and readers like ours, who already know all of these issues anyway. The general public might not care much, and that's the audience that would need to complain more in order to make a change. 

source: Bloomberg

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31 Comments

1. Nopers unregistered

Can't see this backfiring at all.

6. kiko007

Posts: 7385; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"Honey let's have a picnic. There's so much SHADE today, it'd be a waste to stay indoors!" :D

35. nepalisherpa

Posts: 334; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

I don't see any issues with it. So what if manufacturers get mad because of this. What will they do? Not make Android devices anymore?

2. technitude

Posts: 263; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

Do it.

3. Mxyzptlk unregistered

There's too much fragmenting going on in Android. We need more diligence when it comes to updates.

4. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Google need to push update directly for everything thats is directly google ( security , api like they already do , all google apps and core of the OS ) They need to make skin simply thats skin and nothing more and take full control of everything else. They also need to make sure update are ready before pushing them out. Not like iOS failed update again and again. You dont cooperate? you loose access to all google service on your device.

19. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Yeah, that's really needed in Android land; making the core OS both manufacturer and carrier independent. That's one of the things I love about my OnePlus One (continuos OS update from Cyanogen even when OnePlus ends support), and it's part of the reason why my 2008 HP Laptop that came with Vista is running fine on Windows 10 Pro today.

27. Mercedes-Benz

Posts: 403; Member since: Jan 18, 2015

cyanogen updates are quite slow compared to the actual AOSP release .

28. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

More feature-packed than latest stock android, takes longer to code, but it's still bound to come.

31. Shocky unregistered

OnePlus are very slow with updates. Worse than most manufacturers.

21. bubbadoes

Posts: 1225; Member since: May 03, 2012

sounds like you need to join ios then

23. tedkord

Posts: 17043; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

If he wanted to, he would have.

26. Mercedes-Benz

Posts: 403; Member since: Jan 18, 2015

Google really needs more control over android .

30. Shocky unregistered

The less control Google has the better. I'm using Android N on my PIxel C, other than split screen support not a lot has changed from the front end, updates are always overrated and it makes no difference to users if they have to wait for updates Why would you want them to have full control? this isn't iOS so to that I say hell no.

5. Techist

Posts: 311; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

They should just do more advertising of their Nexus phones and ensure that they make them as compelling as possible to put pressure on the OEM's. Alternatively they could do Pixel phones which they make in-house.

22. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

I also hope that Nexus phone can sell it at worldwide.

7. Babadook

Posts: 230; Member since: May 24, 2016

Good!

8. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1250; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

" The problem is that the only people who would pay attention to the data on such a list are sites like ours and readers like ours, who already know all of these issues anyway. The general public might not care much, and that's the audience that would need to complain more in order to make a change. " You say it yourself. The general public doesn't care, so why is it that iphonearena keeps dragging android through this never ending story? Android will NEVER be ios, just get it into your heads......

17. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Actually, there is a lot of discussion between those in the know that read tech blogs about who is bad and who isn't. Many point to Samsung or Motorola or HTC, so it would be nice to have it all laid out rather than us researching who got what and when. Motorola would he a case in point. The current hear Moto X is usually one of the first to get the newest version of Android, but updates after that are hit and miss. And other devices, particularly the Droid line on Verizon would drag down their record. So publishing their findings would let you know which devices are the best at getting updates, and on which carrier. So say while even Motorola is poor overall, if you go with a Moto X on Verizon, you would be okay.

33. Shocky unregistered

The problem is the huge amount of cheap devices coming from China and other Countries with outdated versions that NEVER get updated. The large manufacturers are NOT the problem.

9. brasstax

Posts: 538; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

If and when they do come up with a list, I am expecting Samsung to grace the medal of shame. Android N is around the corner and my Samsung Tab A 8.0 is still running on Lollipop. This is something... probably the only thing I hate about Sammy. For a company with such resources, there is simply no excuse for this. The way I see it, the only way is for Google to in some way monopolize Android... i mean stop it from being open source. This will serve the twin purposes of getting rid of manufacturer skins and ensuring that since the manufacturer "buys" the OS from Google, they have to install the latest version. For older devices, Google can set up a 6 month license and failure on the part of the manufacturer to push out an update before then will make the device inoperable or bricked. Sure, this might lead to initial frustrated customer, but you can bet your bottom dollar that updates will be flying thick and fast.

34. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

They technically cant. Their code and VM are all open source, they can NEVER close it without switching the license. And that is something that probably could never be done in its current form

10. Unordinary unregistered

What about Apple

13. brasstax

Posts: 538; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I know that Samsung uses Touchwiz, but I can move and install apps on my microSD card no problem on my Tab A

14. B-power

Posts: 258; Member since: Feb 22, 2014

On my grand 2 I can move part of the app to the sd card sometimes.

15. android1234

Posts: 203; Member since: Feb 09, 2010

Shame! Shame! Shame!

16. NickPeters

Posts: 74; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Soo... Nobody is taking network carriers into a consideration?

18. SprintGuy26

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 21, 2011

this is why i will never buy a carrier branded phone again...super slooooow updates!, id rather spend more money for a non carrier branded phone, ill be able to get updates just about every month vs waiting for 1-2 years because of the carrier

24. Tejas9

Posts: 95; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

25. MartyK

Posts: 1043; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

It's a very simple solution. Manufacture can upload the new OS and later upload OS with their and Carrie boat load of craps!.. and if people want to download the bloatware.. they can. Everybody happy

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