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Google’s Mobile Research Division Two-Year Limit On Projects Forces Important Decisions And Fuels Innovation

April 1, 2015 - Written By John Anon

Most android users will be well aware of the two-year timeframe of support which most manufacturers abide by. This has attracted even more attention in recent weeks and months due to the rolling out of Android 5.0 (Lolipop) and the select devices which have been deemed ‘new enough’ to receive the update. A prime example of this is the HTC One M7 which with the launch of the HTC One M9 has seen its two year expiry date arrived with the company acknowledging that its recent Lollipop update will be the last.

Well, it seems it is not only the OEMs who adopt a two-year timeframe to their products. A recent report by Wall Street Journal (source link below) has highlighted how Google’s mobile-focused research group, Advanced Technology and Projects (ATP) division adopts a similar approach to its production creation. In fact, the division which is responsible for some of the more out-there projects, has noted that two years is the finality point for any project they start. Once the two year date approaches, the decision then has to be taken to either move the project to Google, become an independent product, sold to third party companies or if all else fails, killed off and abandoned.

The idea behind the two-year approach is to ensure that both the product and team members focus highly on getting the best out of the concept, as quickly as possible. Likewise, project leaders are also limited to how long they can remain in position. The additional pressure placed on both products and the team leaders that regardless of what is happening, products must either move forward or their chapter closed before any further time is wasted on their efforts. According to Regina Dugan, “The two-year time frame forces these decisions“. Further adding, that in terms of the project leaders, this approach stops people focusing on climbing the corporate ladder. However, this is not a solid all-across-the-board approach and sometimes, some projects are granted an extension beyond their two-year lifespan if they are considered to be “important” enough. One example of these project extensions is the recently reported Project Ara, which was granted an extension, for now.