Google planning Android 'shame' list
By Digital News Asia June 2, 2016
- Android manufacturers to be ranked on updates
- Apple devices ahead on running latest OS version
FRAGMENTATION has been one of the great challenges facing Android and now, Google is getting serious about remedying this. It is planning a carrot and stick approach to implementing the solution.
The Android fragmentation issue arrises due to the mishmash of phones and operating system versions from different manufacturers. Google is planning to get tougher on manufacturers and is drawing up rankings that could shame some phone makers into better behaviour.
Keeping Android fresh and unified is crucial because of security and compatibility with new devices like the Daydream virtual reality system. This will only work when phone makers and wireless carriers quickly update devices to newer versions of the operating system.
This is not a problem on iOS as Apple designs both the hardware and software, giving it more control over when and how its operating system is loaded onto iPhones and iPads. The result is that 84 percent of Apple’s mobile devices run the latest iOS software compared with 7.5 percent of Android devices that run Marshmallow, the newest Android OS.
"It’s not an ideal situation," said Android chief Hiroshi Lockheimer at Google’s I/O developer conference recently, while describing the lack of updates as "the weakest link on security on Android."
Consumers and regulators are unsatisfied too. A Dutch consumer group sued Samsung Electronics Co., the largest Android phone maker, in January for neglecting to update many devices. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission sent a letter to carriers, manufacturers, Apple and Google asking how they can ensure faster updates.
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