While the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 were brought into the world with Android 5.0 Lollipop, other devices were of course rolled off their respective production lines running a different version of Android, including all current Nexus devices from the past two years. Since Lollipop arrived at the AOSP, Motorola went ahead and jumped the gun and released Android 5.0 updates for the Pure Edition of the Moto X (2014) and unlocked Moto G (2014) devices. This – along with the announcements that LG was rolling out a Lollipop update in Poland, and the SHIELD Tablet getting Android 5.0 November 18th – didn’t exactly go down well with Nexus users that were still waiting for their OTA updates. This sort of thing is just silly, regardless of whether you’re a Nexus user or a Sony owner, an HTC fan or indeed a Samsung fan, you shouldn’t be mad about others getting big Android updates before you, you should be happening this is happening at long last.
For such a long time now, devices blessed by Google’s special touch with ‘Nexus’ stamped on their hardware have gotten Android updates weeks, and often months, before any other device. Finally, after years of promises from Google that they’re trying to make it easier for OEMs to upgrade their devices, it’s finally happening; devices are getting the latest version of Android sooner than ever before. Not only has this taken longer than it really should have done, but it’s also a big deal.
Manufacturers are clearly paying more attention to Android in general. No longer does it seem – to me at least – that manufacturers view Android as an enabler to create their own great devices, but as an excellent platform they need to get behind with some more gusto. I’m sure that this has a lot to do with the change at Android’s helm, from Andy Rubin (a brilliant mind not exactly known for his cooperation with Android partners) to Sundar Pichai, the man that helped Chromebooks take off by working closely with OEM partners. To see pretty much every major Android name take interest in Lollipop – and publicly make a point of it – is something we haven’t seen before. Sony has taken the Android 5.0 source code and delivered a barebones version of Lollipop for the Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z3, Motorola has already rolled out fullblown updates, NVIDIA is updating the SHIELD in less than a week from now and LG is testing the waters with an update of their own.
It seems people have been paying attention to the modest success of Motorola, a company that decided to add their key features on top of stock Android and leave it alone, rather than messing around with the whole look and feel. I doubt the Moto G or Moto X from last year would have been anywhere near as popular if it weren’t for their promises – and deliverance – of speedy software updates. There’s a reason some people like their Nexus devices so much, they don’t like waiting and there’s nothing wrong with it. It seems that now, we’re finally reaching a point where users don’t need to choose a Nexus device if they want updates in a relatively speedy manner, which is pretty great because there are features out there that suit some users better than others.
I went from a Nexus 5 to an Xperia Z2 a few months ago and I love it, it’s a little on the large side to say it has a 5.2-inch display, but it’s well built, speedy and it’s just pretty great all round. I’m sure Sony won’t be as quick as everyone else has been, but to think that I won’t have to wait anywhere near as long as I would have done for this update a year or so ago is pretty inspiring. We’ll all get our updates, and there’s going to be a few hiccups here and there, but we don’t need to bicker and complain just because we’re not “FIRST!” I’m happy for my Z2 to wait a little longer than others as long as the update is solid, and to see the Moto X, the SHIELD Tablet and the LG G3 get updates fairly quicker after the source code dropped, has me excited, rather than waving my fist.