Some good news for T-Mobile USA customers with the Motorola-built Google Nexus 6: T-Mobile has started the over the air software update for your device to bring it up to Android 5.1.1 and includes WiFi calling plus the usual, as-expected improvements to battery life, performance and bug crushing. The update was approved a couple of days ago by Google and T-Mobile have wasted no time getting the update prepared. However, Des Smith, T-Mobile's Product Evangelist, has reported via Twitter that only a small group of T-Mobile USA Nexus 6 customers will receive the over the air update over the weekend, as build number LYZ28E. The update is 125 MB. Assuming there are no issues with the rollout, T-Mobile USA will make the update available to more customers over the next few weeks.
This staged rollout may be frustrating if you are one of the unlucky customers not receiving the update this weekend, but it is important to realize why T-Mobile (and Google) stagger software updates. The key reason is to ensure that a significant number of customers are not impacted by a previously undetected but significant flaw in the software. Although Des did not confirm it, the reason why the update is only being released to a small number of customers this weekend is probably because T-Mobile US will have reduced staff over the Memorial Day long weekend and should there be a previously undiscovered flaw, it would not be a great situation. Another reason why Google and T-Mobile stagger software updates is so that the update servers are not overwhelmed with demand. And whilst it may seem unlikely that a disastrous update could slip through the testing stage, we only need remember an update Apple released to iOS 7 that removed the cellular functionality of the iPhone and effectively disabled the Internet connectivity of the handset away from a WiFi network.
Android 5.1 includes a number of important improvements and bug fixes compared with Android 5.0 Lollipop, with the update from 5.1 to 5.1.1 relatively small and containing more bug fixes. It brings the total number of version of Android Lollipop to five, including 5.0.1, which was only seen for a brief period. One particular improvements in Android 5.1.1 is a refinement of the encryption process for the device, designed to speed up internal memory storage access.