Android handset manufacturers rely on two things that are out of their control. First, the Nexus device(s) from Google, so that they have a reference system and aesthetic for device design, though many prefer to stay within their own device and families of design instead. And second is the Android source code. The source code is what provides them with the updated information and necessary tools to update and upgrade the firmware across their many or few devices to the latest, or a newer, version of the Android operating system. In mid October, we saw the Nexus lineup for the coming year, the Google Nexus 6 by Motorola and the Google Nexus 9 by HTC, come out to public. These devices will either set the bar for design, or continue (like the Nexus 6 does for Motorola) a design language and style for a manufacturer. But, just as important as the hardware that runs Android is Android itself. Lollipop was named as the 5.0 version of Android the same day as the two new Nexuses were unveiled. Lollipop will come stock and standard on all Nexus 6s and 9s, and will be the next step for OEMs like Motorola, HTC, Sony, LG, and Samsung to take in keeping their devices relevant and up to date.
We heard about Motorola and HTC’s promises, because that’s all they were at the time, of the new L version of Android right after the unveiling of Material Design during Google I/O this summer. That’s a great start, especially for two very popular handset manufacturer. Now, of course, it makes perfect sense how and why they can pull that quick update off: they already have the source code, and have built it for the two Nexus devices that they manufactured (and will manufacture, technically). Sony has promised to get some of their previous and current devices up to the new Lollipop version of Android, so that’s nice. The Xperia Z family of devices, though not all of them probably, are supposedly going to get the sweet new version in the first part of the next year. But we’ll have to wait for that to check the validity. But what about the other two major manufacturers, Samsung and LG?
Well, before now, we have heard that LG would update their devices, because if they didn’t they’d fail and be hated by consumers. And Samsung had a supposed schedule and timeline-checklist sort of affair for the various devices getting Android Lollipop, dating all the way back to the Galaxy Note II, from the fall of 2012. But now, we have official word, though not official schedules or timelines, from one of the two and a reliable tip on the other. First, the tip. Samsung is very good at being very tight-lipped on software updates, even though their documentation always manages to find a way to daylight through the Internet. A tip sent to PhoneArena reportedly said that the likelihood of a late-November release of Lollipop updates for the latest devices from the South Korean giant was almost non-existent, while December seems like the most probable time to expect updates to the Galaxy Note 4 as well as their springtime flagship, the Galaxy S5.
To close out this roster of Lollipop updates, we have LG. LG has apparently promised to get the owners of the G3, the phone that set the bar for QuadHD displays this summer, up to date on Android 5.0 by the end of the year. That likely means that, for us trapped in the carrier system of the United States, we will have to wait until January or beyond, depending on the carrier’s willingness to update the device. The end of this calendar year looks to be a great one, with a brand new, totally redesigned Android OS and a huge push to update the top devices from the top manufacturers with that new OS as well. But since these are all just plans and promises, we will have to wait to see if the OEMs can pull of their somewhat ambitious goals of updating rapidity. Which device are you using daily that will hopefully get Lollipop? If your device isn’t in line to get some new sweetness, might you upgrade to one that will (or will come with it on it)? Which OEM’s overlay/skin are you looking forward to seeing the Lollipop-Material Design version of when the update finally comes down? Let us know down below.