As we are now in the first week of December, we have officially hit the one month age of Android’s latest operating system, Android 5.0 (Lollipop). Although, this makes the operating system a bit of a baby (in terms of age), the month milestone is of some importance. Google has always in method (and in writing) assumed the position Google associated devices, basically, Nexus and Google Play Editions (GPe) should expect to receive updates within “two weeks” of an update becoming available. This was fine printed on the Nexus and GPe Google Help and Support section of their site. However, interestingly, it seems that fine print has taken a bit of a change today in its wording.
To be clear, the information before used to read as “Once an update is available, it can take up to two weeks for it to reach your device”. However, the change today has resulted in a much more interpretational and open-ended phrasing. The support page for Nexus and GPe devices now reads “Once an update is available, it can take up to two weeks for it to reach your device. Based on your carrier, it may take longer than two weeks after release to get an update“. So what does this mean? Well, it could mean either of two things. Firstly, it could mean nothing at all. With devices like the Google Nexus 6 being far more carrier accessible than previous Nexuses, this could be just a precautionary measure by Google to make sure they account for unforeseen issues in the future. Google has had issues with carriers rolling out OTA updates in the past and as such, may just be making sure they are (in writing) covered.
However the other option is that this is a sign of things to come. This change of policy (at least in writing) could open the doors for carriers to become more lethargic in how often they have to offer OTA updates to Google associated devices. Now, before readers get too worried, it is highly unlikely that this is the option. As it is in everyone’s interest for carriers (and manufacturers) to roll-out updates as soon as they can. Quick OTA’s are one of the selling points of Nexus and GPe devices and no-one will want to actively take that selling point away for no reason. However, it is worth knowing what he possibilities could be. Either way, the changing of the wording is less of an issue than it may have been before. Even if a carrier took longer to roll out an OTA, there is nothing they (or anyone) can do to stop you from side-loading the update yourself. As long as these updates always make it into the public forum, such complications are less of an issue. For now, just be aware that the language has changed and until Google provide an explanation for the change, there is little point getting too worked up about it.