Back in January of the year 2012, I wrote an article calling out Google for its promise for Android updates on smartphones of all sorts. Back then, Android was an ever-so-slightly different monster. Back then, Google was mad to make the bold and broad Android Update statement that was the “Android Update Alliance.” Even just a few months after the Update Alliance was revealed, it was being shot down for its not-so-great results. But NOW, here in 2016, a new program could be the key to timely Android updates for everyone that wants them.
Back in 2012, I asserted that the Android user – any Android user – should not “have been so bold as to demand [the newest version of Android] on their year-old device.” A lot has changed since then.
Google has done LESS promising for updates while they’ve made it easier for said updates to happen.
Google has separated their key apps out from the stock Android experience, allowing users to update said apps using Google Play. In that measure alone, Google has become much more reliable in providing the public with their latest software experience – in many ways, not just from an operating system’s perspective.
The operating system is a different story. While Google no longer makes big promises that every smartphone running Android will run their newest version of Android, opponents continue to assert that the newest will always be the best. Apple called out Google on their tiny “share” of the Android smartphone market being updated to the newest version of Android as recently as their announcement of the iPhone SE.
But Android has never been an OS all about its newest release, no matter which company is suggesting the opposite.
Google may be changing that with their Android Beta program.
With this program, users can opt-in to an update experience that Nexus smartphone users have (sort of) had for several years. They get the newest update in the Android environment – and they get said update over-the-air. No more downloading the files and flashing using a desktop computer.
This includes Beta releases too – and “preview” builds.
It’s as if Google wants their software to be tested out in the wild before they make an official release for smart device manufacturers.
Images via Irina Blok, original creator of the Android logo for Google.
The myth used to be that Google would ensure that every Android device – no matter how old, or how strange, or how completely insane – would be given the newest update to the newest version of Android as soon as they could muster it. That never happened. It never happened because that’s crazy talk.
With the Android Beta program, Google has a list of devices they’ll be supporting and will continue to support with updates – even very early updates – into the future. Once they expand this program to all manufacturers, it’ll be up to said manufacturers to open the doors to updates from Google – straight from the source.
For now, you can sit back and enjoy the fact that Google may indeed be fulfilling their destiny – shattering the Android update myth by making it come true.