In what might prove to be the biggest Android news story of the week, today Google announced that all of Qualcomm's future chipsets, starting with the upcoming Snapdragon 888, will support three Android OS updates and four years of security updates. In layman's terms, that means some new phones landing in 2021 will probably get an extra year of updates — assuming OEMs step up to the plate and follow suit. Read More
Critics of Android are always quick to point out its very real fragmentation issue, and how long it takes for major version updates to land across the ecosystem. But it's less of a problem with every major update, and that's culminated with last year's Android 10 release. Between Treble, GSIs, and Project Mainline, Google has been making a good dent in update uptake in the last two years, and Android 10 has seen the fastest adoption of any Android update ever. Read More
We're all familiar with Android's dirty "F" word: fragmentation. Turns out, we can't really depend on phone manufacturers to keep devices updated out of the goodness of their own hearts, so Google has been rolling out changes like Project Treble meant to make that job as easy for them as possible. Based on some recently published metrics, Treble is making a big difference. Read More
Google's Project Treble was created to help fight Android's dirty f-word (fragmentation), by making the update process easier and faster for OEMs. Separating vendor-specific code like SoC drivers out from Android itself was meant to help when it came to OS updates and the work required to push them out. Now Google is working on increasing just how modular Android can be with something called APEX. Read More
The Room: Old Sins released on iOS back in January. The preceding three entries in the acclaimed creepy puzzler series are all available on Android, but Old Sins, so far, is nowhere to be found. Developer Fireproof Games says the Android version is coming, but it might take a while. Read More
Fragmentation is the flaming torch we have to face each time a discussion about Android updates or development is started. Google releases monthly distribution numbers of its operating system, which detail the percentages of devices running a certain version of the OS that have visited the Play Store in the past 7 days. They're usually met with collective groans as Froyo and Gingerbread cling on to dear life month after month.
But as Apteligent's monthly data report points out, Google doesn't take into consideration two important factors: devices that don't have the Play Store installed (ie Chinese handsets mostly) and device usage. A phone may access the Play Store, but it may not be actively used. Read More
With the end of another month, we now have another set of Android platform distribution numbers to look at. Updated today, the stats reveal that Gingerbread is still dominating by quite a large margin, with Ice Cream Sandwich climbing and Jelly Bean making its own gains. Take a look for yourself:
First up is Gingerbread. While its stranglehold on the distribution chart is still going strong, it has dropped off just a little bit since the last cycle, sliding from 60.3% of all devices to 57.5% last month. Ice Cream Sandwich, meanwhile, has climbed from 15.8% to nearly 21%, which definitely sounds promising. Read More
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. Read More
Pop quiz: How long does it take for a new version of Android to be widely adopted? A new version of Android comes out, AOSP updates, OEMs adapt it to a myriad of devices, and carriers test the updates. That process. How long does it take?
It's a tough question to answer, mostly because Google doesn't provide data like that. The official site shows a 6 month version history, and that's it. Anyone looking for a decent amount of data is out of luck. There’s no way to view the long journey older Android versions have taken, and no way to see the bigger picture of how the update process eventually works out. Read More
Earlier today, when I read comments from Motorola executive Christy Wyatt over on PCMag explaining that lagging software updates could be blamed in large part on hardware variation, my first response was "really?" Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Motorola has iterated so much hardware in the last year that it has actually promised to cut down on the number of versions of Android handsets it will make.
Specifically, Wyatt made a point of the obvious fact that when Google releases the source code for Android, the only devices it will readily compile on fall into the "Nexus" category. Read More