Android has become somewhat infamous for slow (almost unbearably so) updates for users of pretty much any non-Nexus device. In fact, when Jelly Bean was announced earlier today, the first thought on some users' minds was that their handsets haven't even tasted Ice Cream Sandwich yet.

Google is well aware of this issue, though - last year, it made an attempt (albeit a feeble one) to solve the problem with the Android Alliance. I think we all know how that turned out.


This year's I/O saw a related announcement: that of the Android PDK, or the Platform Development Kit. In short, it's a set of tools which will aid manufacturers in porting new versions of Android to their devices and which will be released to said manufacturers a few months before the public launch of each major Android update. In theory, this should mean that manufacturers will be able to have updates for their handsets prepared by the time they're announced - exciting, isn't it?

It remains to be seen how effective this solution will be in practice, however - carriers (who don't really need to be involved in the update process but are anyway) will likely intervene, which could slow things significantly. Additionally, marketing decisions will continue to be necessary, meaning that your two-year-old device may not be updated at all so as to incentivize the purchase of a more recent handset.

Still, at least hardware developers will now be able to get their paws on new Android versions sooner, so those devices whose fates do contain a few more updates should receive them in a more expeditious manner.

Google reports that "select" manufacturers have already been granted a chance to try out the PDK with the release of Jelly Bean - we'd assume ASUS and Motorola are among their ranks, if not Samsung and HTC. Hopefully the group isn't too "select" - I think we'd all like to see faster updates on our devices.