One of the most popular topics in the land of Android is "When am I getting the update to Android 4.2" or whatever the latest version of Android is at the time. This one of the downfalls of having an open operating system. When Samsung announced the Galaxy S4 back in March at Radio City Music hall, they made history. They were the first OEM to launch a phone running the latest version of Android. But surprisingly, Samsung didn't make a big deal out of that.
Just this week, Google released numbers for each version of Android. It breaks down the percentage of users on each version of Android. These numbers showed that only 2.3% of those using an Android device are running Android 4.2.x. That is a pretty low number for an operating system that was released about 6 months ago. So who's to blame? The carriers and OEMs are. In the past, OEMs were much slower at sending out updates, but last year Samsung and HTC both picked up their game and released updates faster than they had previously, with Samsung being the fastest to get Android 4.1 out to their Galaxy S3.
There's talk that Google is supposed to be releasing Android 4.3 – Jelly Bean at Google I/O, and there's a theory going around that this is to give the carriers and manufacturers some time to catch up to where the Nexus line is currently. But will it really help? It's still pushing out another version of Android before most phones get the previous version. Once more, it's going to confuse people even more. Take this for an example, you walk into your favorite Verizon store and you see the LG Lucid 2 there and you ask "what version of Android is it running?" and the Verizon rep says "Jelly Bean". Will that be android 4.1, 4.2 or 4.3? It'll get very confusing, especially for those that aren't tech geeks like most of us writing here at Android Headlines, and most of you reading our site.
Android's Biggest weakness – OEMs and Carriers
Yes, the manufacturers and carriers are the biggest weakness of Android. Back in 2011, HTC released 80 different phones worldwide. And most of them didn't see another update after launch because they launched to many phones. They don't have enough software people to work on updates for all those models. Samsung also has a habit of releasing a ton of different devices, I'm not quite sure what the number is, but I know in the US alone they release at least 10-20 different devices per year. With plenty of low-end and mid-rangers. Another reason, is that these manufacturers like to install custom skins full of bloat on top of Android. Which makes the update process even longer for those phones.
So how are the carriers at fault? Well, carriers like to "test" updates before they go out. Especially CDMA carriers like Verizon and Sprint. Verizon and AT&T have been known for being very slow at rolling out updates, and recently T-Mobile and Sprint have begun to be known as some of the faster carriers for rolling out updates. On the bright side, it seems that in 2013, Verizon has been working to push out updates faster than before. Although they still have not pushed out any Android 4.2 updates yet.
So where's My Update
Honestly, I have no idea. But I really hope that the manufacturers and carriers get their act together. Android 4.2 has been in AOSP for about six months now, you'd think we'd be seeing tons of Android 4.2 updates going out around this time right? Nope. We're still seeing people get Android 4.1 and Android 4.1.2. This is definitely something that's gotta change in the very near future. We shouldn't be seeing devices launching with Android 4.1.2, yeah I'm looking at you HTC and your One! Does anyone agree?
It seems like the only way to get Android updates on time, if at all, is to buy a Nexus. Now I'm not here to sell you a Nexus device, but it is available. The only thing is, Nexus devices aren't always the powerhouses that are the Galaxy S4, and HTC One. Which if you want to be on the latest version of Android, you'll need to root and install a custom ROM. But I'm really hoping (and crossing my fingers) that Google comes up with a solution to get updates out faster to all Android devices. I'd love to get review devices in that all ran the same version of Android. Instead I currently have 3 devices on my desk, and each one runs a different version. One is running Android 4.0, another is on Android 4.1 and the third is on Android 4.2.
Get it together carriers and OEMs. And Google, you need to own up to this! It is your OS after all.