This week, the New York Times ran an article asking Samsung get Android updates so quickly compared to the rest of the industry. It’s a valid questions, especially considering that Motorola is in the Google family. Motorola’s in a world of hurt right now. Putting more emphasis on that brand could help Google turn around lagging sales.
But I digress…
Samsung is the story here. The Galaxy SIII is scheduled to get Jelly Bean in just a few months, while the wait time for other devices is unknown. In fact, only 1.8 percent of Android phones are running Jelly Bean now according to Google’s reports.
Does Google actually favor Samsung, or is the real reason less sinister?
The New York Times pointed out that much of the speed or lack there of in getting the updates out to the devices have a lot to do with the phone manufacturers. Google releases the Android source code to the manufacturers, who must then customize the code to match up with their networks and devices. Add in testing time for a variety of devices, and you can see the delays start adding up. When faced with these time constraints, manufacturers will choose their highest performing phones (read: most profitable) to get the updates first. The rest of the devices receive updates as the manufacturers are able.
Samsung has some big-time resources, so they are able to churn out updated devices on a quicker timetable than many of their competitors. In fact, Samsung execs have called the engineering team “enormous.” With a massive budget and the support of carriers, Samsung is able to move quickly.
And moving quickly is a big part of the available profits in the smartphone industry. By keeping all of their products up to date, Samsung can make sure that all available apps (at least the reputable ones) from the Android store work perfectly on their phones.