Android update: what's the point?

Google releases another new version of Android and I have to ask: what is the point? Why continue to allow the public to be misled? We asked this question a few years ago, suggesting that Google should never have promised Android updates in the first place. They called it the "Update Alliance" – a group of manufacturers and mobile carriers that promised quick updates to Android whenever Google had them available. It was absurd then. It's still absurd today.

Why did Google update Android again? Not for you, that's for certain. Unless you happen to be a developer of apps for Android and want your apps to take advantage of Google's latest software for only the newest of devices, there is no point to the newest version of Android.

Unless you seek the least exciting bits.

The security options.

The encryption.

There lies the updates that Google isn't just responsible for delivering, but what's in their best interest to deliver. To all devices.

Ask yourself: do you use your phone differently today than you did 5 years ago?

I do, but certainly not because of updates to the operating system. I stream music now when 5 years ago I might have played MP3 files. I take more photos with my smartphone now than any other sort of camera. I charge my device wirelessly now instead of with a USB cord.

Each of these features had relatively little to do with Google's software updates. They come largely from a need for hardware manufacturers to keep up with their opponents – and in streaming music's case, a need for software companies to keep ahead of the music industry.

Lots of people seem to love software updates for software update's sake alone. Why?

What about innovation for Android?

And for that matter, what about innovation for iOS, for your iPhone?

Has your mobile device experience really changed drastically over the past several years?

Sure there's Siri. Yes, you can use Google Now if you want to.

But do you?

My mobile device experience has become more secure, to be sure. But insofar as how I use my device, I can't agree that either Google or Apple have done much to improve upon or even really significantly change the way I use my smartphone since very early on in this whole process.