Google To Push Android Manufacturers To Update Faster

By Aunindita Bhatia , May 26, 2016 02:02 PM EDT

Google has been battling to get smartphone manufacturers and carriers to update devices to the latest Android version for some time now. Its latest tactic appears to be publicizing statistics revealing exactly how much the latter have been lagging behind in this issue.

Google Going to Tattle on Slow Updaters

According to a Bloomberg report, Google has compiled a list of Android phone manufacturers where ranking depends on how timely their software updates have been. Thus far, only its partners have been privy to this list, but the report claims that Google plans to make it public in order to shame Android phone vendors and carriers into long-delayed action.

Only 7.5 Percent of Android Phones Totally Updated

This is not surprising news, as fragmentation has been a problem faced by Google for a few years now. The term refers to a mixture of many Android versions being used in handsets all over the world. According to a recent Developers report, the latest Android version, Marshmallow, which was released last year, is only installed in 7.5 percent of all the Android phones currently in use in the world. This is due to extended periods of time taken by smartphone makers and carriers for testing successive versions of the popular operating system. This delay in facilitating software updates to the users deprives them of access to Google's latest apps and security patches. Google has been in talks with its partners to expedite the process of testing, and at least one (Sprint Corp.) has confirmed that it has agreed to speed up its approval.

Releasing Features Independent of Operating System

Google has also been taking other measures to rectify the situation. It has recently made several new features available to users of older versions of Android. Some features have been made into apps independent of the operating system. With the latest Android version N to be released soon, it needs to get the fragmentation under control.

It is hard to predict if Google's plan to make the list public will produce the results it hopes for, or even if Google will actually choose to publicize it. Nevertheless, the need to persuade Android phone makers and carriers to speed up software updates is acute. 

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