The Android 7.1.1 Nougat update brought Android’s fragmentation problem to light once more. Not everyone will be able to get it, not even all of Google’s Nexus devices. Many of those have fallen outside of the arbitrary two-year support promise. The Motorola-made Nexus 6 neatly still falls within that time range but the update has been missing to date. Google has heard the cries of its users and has made a semi-official statement on the matter. The good news: it’s still coming. The bad news: you’ll have to wait a few more weeks.
The reason a Google spokesperson gave to Android Police mention a last minute showstopper bug that was specific to the Nexus 6 only, thereby delaying its rollout. However, that bug has been fixed but won’t make it in time before the year ends. The usual battery of tests will probably take it all the way to next year, though Google promises an early January date.
Although Nexus devices enjoy more regular and faster updates than their OEM counterparts, they still suffer the same obsolescence problem all smartphones have these days. Google has promised only two years’ worth of updates for its Nexus devices, even if said device is entirely capable of supporting more.
Case in point is the Nexus 5, still a favorite among Android fans. It has fallen out of official support and was even said to not be capable of supporting Android Nougat, hardware-wise. At one point, Qualcomm was even blamed because it allegedly didn’t provide updated drivers necessary to run Nougat. And yet third-party ROM makers were able to get Android 7.0 running, albeit with a few caveats.
With the future of CyanogenMod, now LineageOS, still in question, the path forward for these older devices becomes more uncertain. Fortunately for Nexus 6 owners, they won’t have to worry about that until later next year if and when Android O comes out.