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When Can You Expect The Update To Android L?

October 8, 2014 - Written By Ian Jardine

To say that the smartphone industry is eagerly awaiting the release of Android L, Google’s latest update to their mobile operating system, would be an understatement. Leaks and rumours have been appearing online for several months creating a frenzy in the tech world. The reason for all the excitement surrounding Android L is the fact that it will be Android’s most radical change to date with a complete overhaul in appearance and the addition of many new features. While there has been no official word from Google on when Android L will be released, all signs point to sometime this fall and maybe as soon as next week. But what does this mean for consumers? A lot of people with Android phones will be hearing about Android L and questioning when they can see these fancy new updates on their devices. Well, to answer their question you would have to know what company manufactured their device as each of the big manufacturers has taken different courses of action in the past when it comes to rolling out software updates.

Google’s own Nexus line of phones and tablets will, of course, be the first devices to see the upgrade to Android L. The update will be especially fast if you purchased a Nexus device unlocked directly from Google.  Google has made these fast updates a priority to show consumers their high level of commitment to supporting their devices. Within 30 days has been the previous standard for Nexus devices receiving software updates and there is no reason to believe that this will change for upcoming updates. Motorola, specifically its Moto X, G, and E phones, is also a safe bet for rolling out an update to Android L fairly quickly. Until recently, Motorola was a Google company and, in spite of its recent takeover by Chinese company Lenovo, they have assured that they will continue to work closely with Google to ensure speedy updates. So, if someone owns a Nexus device or the Moto X, G, or E they can definitely expect to be a part of the Android L club a bit faster than everyone else.

HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer, has also done a fairly respectable job of getting software updates delivered to their devices in a timely fashion. They have publicly committed to a 90 day time frame for rolling out updates and, while they haven’t always managed to achieve this goal, they have come pretty close. In fact, HTC has done a great job of keeping customers in the know about when to expect software updates and has been very committed to making this sort of open communication a part of their business philosophy. Because of this, owners of an HTC flagship will be treated to the Android L update sooner rather than later.

Samsung is the world’s largest Android device manufacturer so one would assume that they too would make speedy software updates a priority but, alas, that has not always been the case. In the past Samsung has remained very tight-lipped about timing for updates. This caused frustration amongst people who used Samsung devices as they were given no indication as to when they could expect the update to Android KitKat. In the end, it took between four and six months for Samsung to get the KitKat update to its flagship devices. So, if you’re using a Samsung device as your daily driver you can expect to get the Android L update, but Samsung will most likely take their time with it.

Sony and LG also have a less than stellar reputation when it comes to software updates. LG flagships were very slow to receive the most recent update to KitKat and LG has not guaranteed any support beyond that. With Sony, on the other hand, it’s sort of a mixed bag. Their KitKat update was fairly slow but because they have such a wide range of devices this should come as no surprise. So, if you’re carrying an LG device don’t hold your breath as Android L may not be seen on your device at all and if Sony is your brand of choice then just be very patient.

While it’s not necessarily fair to judge a manufacturer entirely on past performance when it comes to software updates it is the only measure we have to go by for now. For those companies who have been slow to update in the past it would be a smart move on their part to change their practices and follow the lead of Google, Motorola, and HTC as they have received a lot of praise for their commitment to fast updates. After all, many consumers have mostly likely heard the very loud buzz surrounding Android L and are eagerly awaiting its arrival, so it would be a foolish move on the part of these manufacturers to leave these people disappointed.