This is huge. Like, massively huge. Probably the best thing to come out of Google I/O so far this morning huge. I'm talking about the Android Alliance and the solution to a problem that has plagued Android users since the beginning of time (okay, maybe not that long).

The Android Alliance is a special task force dedicated to delivering Android updates quickly and efficiently to all devices for 18 months after they're released. Among the companies involved are Verizon, HTC, Samsung (imagine that), Sprint, Sony Ericsson, LG, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Motorola, and AT&T - which basically covers most of the Android world.

This is some of the best Android related news that we've heard in a while, as this is the solution to the biggest problem in Android: fragmentation. It seems like the top-notch, practical solution that we've all been waiting on. Instead of getting a tighter grip on Android and compromising its open nature, Google decided to join together with those responsible for releasing the needed updates. It's a genius plan, and I've never been happier to be an Android user.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • L Boogie

    The first step to infinite android bliss

  • CodeMonkey

    And that's made my next phone decision a little more confident...


  • http://androidized.com Lucian Armasu

    When will this *start* though? Will it be with all phones running ICS and beyond? And I agree this is the biggest news. I also loved the Android @ Home idea and the open accessory one.

  • Robert Hallock

    They said "as hardware allows." This is a gigantic loophole, people.

    For example, we all know that the T-Mobile G1 is perfectly capable of running FroYo--CM6 proved that with aplomb. But as we all know, the G1 never received FroYo.

    And what of HTC's recent claim that Sense 3.0 is only supported on dual core devices? We know that's bunk because XDA-Devs have it working on the Desire Z, Desire HD and EVO 4G. Sure it's a little buggy, but it's only a matter of time until it works a treat.

    Releasing a new OS on a new phone is worth much, much more to the bottom dollar of a vendor and carrier than a new OS on an old phone. Don't be surprised if "as hardware allows" becomes the weapon against upgrades, rather than the the end of fragmentation.

    • wirbly

      Agreed, unfortunately.

    • sgtguthrie

      Agreed... I can see this "as hardware allows" line being thrown around a lot by some device manufacturers namely Moto and Samsung. I think they will be quick to say "the hardware isn't capable of it" just so they don't have to spend money developing updates and so they can sell new devices more quickly...

    • LAmDroid

      Agree as well. many mite call me a pessimist (tho considering the disappointment in Google & Carriers currently, maybe not so many), but what I see eventually evolving from this is MFTRs and Carriers have the ultimate excuse to abandon your device after 18mo.s . However, during those first 18mo's , theyll drag along their feet as usual in getting out the updates. This suggests absolutely nothing about how QUICKLY new versions of Android are suppose to hit devices.

      All those Samsung devices, Motorola devices were all eventually updated w froyo, and that was still within the 18mo window. Without a mandate on how QUICKLY new Android OS should roll out by, this means absolutely nothing to the end consumer, and only leaves them with more to worry about whether they'll get the latest update or not before that 18mo window closes.

      We sign a two year contract and they continue to sell these devices 2 yrs after the original release date, how does it make sense to not to provide uptodate timely support of qualifying software updates to the product for at least 3 yrs? I would encouraged anyone at their most frustrated point to file BBB/Attorney General/FCC reports against both the carriers and mftrs for dragging their feet on updates and declaring end-of-life on products less than 2 yrs old.

  • Mike

    I already am a firm follower in the "Cyanogen Alliance" which has been providing this same thing for years.

    • Eric

      The Cyanogen Alliance, amen to that.

      • Mesmorino

        The Cyanogen Insurgency, more like.

  • Leonid

    I fail to understand what "task force" means in this context. Do the companies involved actually commit to releasing the updates? Or do they just set up a committee (i.e. task force) to try to streamline the development process between Google and Alliance members so that updates will be released? What does "timely" means -- we all remember the N1 Gingerbread fiasco?

  • Adam

    This is an empty promise. They've been capable of updating their firmware since launch and have chosen not to. What are they going to tell Google, "No we won't do that"? Unlikely.

  • Adrian

    Vodafone literally put out updates within one or two minutes anyway :)

  • Joshp406

    I'm willing to bet AT&T won't follow through (from past experience)

  • Asphyx

    I am not too happy about the 18 Month timetable though.

    It should be 24 months to coincide with the minimum plans being sold and upgrades are available.

    It would appear that you will STILL have to buy a new phone every two years but will get updates until 6 months before your next upgrade.

    Better than nothing I guess! LOL

  • Kodiak

    Question???@ any one. Dose this mean all devices. Or only devices that just came out or coming out? also dose any one have any idea what kind of specs your phone is going to need to run this?

    • sgtguthrie

      I watched the keynote speach today, and they didn't go into anymore detail. I'm sure we'll know more soon.

      • Kodiak

        Thanks.... It would be nice to know a little more. My phone is new but has low specs. But by the time this is relessed i'll most likely have something newer with better specs.

  • Raymond

    HTC will never do this. They can't even release their source code in a LEGAL timely manner.

  • sgtguthrie

    I watched that part of the keynote again, and they said there will be more info soon. I think they are still ironing out details. It did sound like there would be further definition to what is considered a timely manner for updates.

  • http://zalzalaweb.com/jens anakin78z

    best... logo... ever

  • http://stolk.org/HoverBiker/ Bram

    So... how did this turn out for you?
    Mobile Carriers... not worth a gram of trust.

  • F

    "Solution", eh?

    Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

  • Leon

    Months later I say the best summary comes from Stargate SG1 where Jack O'Neill says "Witness if you will. Squat."

    I think it's time for Google to put a boot in someone's ass.