About the update cycle Android

This week, your attention is drawn to a discussion about whether Android can benefit from moving to a clear update schedule. Fragmentation, the security aspect of the OS and the possible impact of the new model on ordinary users are touched upon.


Back in 2010, Android CEO Andy Rubin told Mercury News: 'Our product cycle currently falls under the' twice a year 'pattern, but in the future, as things go their own in turn, it will move towards the annual update, because it is not easy for developers to keep up with the ever-changing platform. I would like to see developers as the 'lever' of our innovations, not those who are trying to predict them. '

If you look at the version history Android, you can't help but notice how chaotic the schedule of announcements was. At the beginning of the platform's history, it was important to hurry: the OS Android was in the role of catching up, and there was a lot of work. Each new version brought in many inherent features, but at this stage this is not the case.


There are prerequisites for Google's transition to an annual update cycle [OS], even if it will take place a little later. Android 5.0 Lollipop was released a year after 4.4 KitKat. Google announced the release of the new version as part of the Google I / O 2014 conference, giving developers time to check out the corresponding preview before the update is massively launched in November. Smaller updates with fixed 'bugs' will inevitably appear over the course of a year, but things go to the point that Android M will appear in accordance with a similar scenario.

Many advantages ..

We can assume that a clear timetable for the release of the new version will have a beneficial effect on the work of the team Android at Google. No one will be in a hurry to announce new software features, making decisions on the start of sales on the go. The new strategy should, in theory, improve the chances of a stable, well-planned and tested update being released.

Predictability and stability are potential big 'pluses' for developers and OEMs. If they know the release date of the new software version, then their work will be built in accordance with it. There is nothing good in trying to guess, rather the opposite. For manufacturers, the new order of release of updates will be a good basis for annually announcing their flagship solutions. Some manufacturers use big events such as MWC to do this, others vary the date of the announcement each year, however, a clear scheme will help spur public interest and understand consumer expectations.

Also, it will be easier for manufacturers and developers to plan updates. Preview versions of the software help developers ensure the stability of their own applications and games on the first day of the update rollout. Manufacturers will theoretically be able to make necessary adjustments to the user interface of their devices and distribute the new version through 'over-the-air' (OTA) updates. The situation today is such that everyone is in a hurry. Often, by the time an update is ready, Google has already released a new version Android.

For consumers, the new release schedule Android will also be a welcome change. Fragmentation can be extremely frustrating for those seeking the latest and greatest user experience. After Google decides to update Android, you have to wait to figure out which manufacturer will update their devices, and then wait again for operators to make the necessary changes before the update is released. An infographic from HTC illustrates this process. It can be concluded that a stable schedule and a longer period between releases can get rid of the problem. Fragmentation cannot be completely overcome with the annual release of updates, but it will undoubtedly make the situation more transparent.


An annual cycle also means one big, interesting announcement with a list of new features, rather than a flood of minor updates. With its help, the difference between versions will become obvious, and it will become more difficult for manufacturers to justify their inaction in terms of updates. Perhaps, if it is no longer necessary to work with several updates at once, then the devices will receive longer support.

..and a few disadvantages

The reason Google still hasn't adopted an annual update cycle is because of the speed of innovation. Frequent releases provide the ability to access new features and functionality as they are developed. With the annual update schedule, we'll have to wait longer.

As for manufacturers, at this stage, they act in accordance with the actions of competitors, pushing them to innovate and a constant stream of new devices that enter the market year-round. A new model could pause innovation and slow down in this announcement race.

Security is the catch. One of the updates that you don't want to wait long is a patch of existing vulnerabilities. Nobody plans to have them in the update, but until Google reaches a new level of fighting 'bugs' in new versions Android, the wait may be even longer. Even with an annual schedule of new software releases, small security updates will be essential.

Is the game worth the candle?

There is another compelling reason for the transition to the new release model that has not been discussed yet. We are in the process of introducing new features within Google products. Getting more from Android doesn't always require a platform update. Regardless of your opinion on this trend and Google's motivation behind it, there is no doubt about its relevance.


It should also be remembered that Google has started promoting Android for Work with an eye on corporate users. Companies, IT departments and enterprise application developers want stability and expect a stable update schedule. For planning purposes, this condition is mandatory and non-compliance with it so far negatively affects the level of confidence in Android.

Android how the platform has matured. There is always room for innovation and improvement, but we see important new features not in every update. As Google moves towards improving its OS, it seems prudent to slow down and widen the gap in the update cycle. It is difficult to determine if this will have any impact on the speed of innovation, while this process is already slowing down, but it is hoped that the potential benefits for developers and manufacturers will be appreciated by end users.

Original article by Simon Hill

Elir: in its pursuit of the confused smartphone on the market Apple and iOS Android, they had to sacrifice some important platform components. Nevertheless, the company listens to users and tries to level the disadvantages. The approach to updates described in the article can theoretically improve Android from several sides, incl. with fragmentation stuck in the teeth. Do you think the problem is far-fetched or is it actually a change in the update schedule that can help Android?

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