It's no secret that Android has a load of fragmentation, especially when compared to iOS. With Android, the main issue is the fact that you have hundreds of different devices with different hardware and in many cases, different software. This is what keeps updates from rolling out quickly. Then there is the case of carriers wanting to test out these updates before they are pushed to devices on their network, this is mostly to avoid issues with their network. Google has been under pressure to fix Android updates, and they may have a new plan to do so.
Since beginning the monthly security updates last year, we've seen updates coming pretty fast to devices, although it's still not fast enough. Android's Hiroshi Lockheimer said at Google I/O last week, that the monthly updates are getting rolled out faster to partner devices. Basically telling their partners that these updates need to roll out quickly "for the good of the users". Software updates are important because not only does it bring new features to Android, but they also patch security vulnerabilities in order versions of Android.
What Google is looking to do now, is ranking the top smartphone manufacturers based on how up-to-date their handsets are. This is supposedly based on security patches and operating system versions. This news comes from "people familiar with the matter". Google has declined to comment on this matter. The source also said that Google shared this list with their partners earlier this year. The company has been discussing making this list public, in an effort to highlight manufacturers that do update quickly, and call out those that are slow in updating.
Google has been looking for ways to get around needing to push out a new update to Android to get their new features to everyone. One example of that is Allo and Duo. The company's new messaging apps that debuted at Google I/O last week. These are going to be available later this summer, and will be downloadable from Google Play and the Apple App Store. Meaning that users won't need a software update to use Allo or Duo.
Software updates have been an issue for Google for years, basically since Android debuted in 2007. They have tried numerous ways to get updates out faster. But this new ranking may be the best way to do so. Keep in mind that this is not confirmed, and should be taken with a grain of salt.