Every once in a while, I’ll see a headline about some old flagship Android phone like the HTC One M9 or one of Samsung’s Galaxy S phones that’s “finally” getting Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the version of Android that was released a year ago.
I find that incredible. That means the majority of Android users are devoid of the latest features, improvements, and security updates that Google has made to its operating system. It’s a problem called “fragmentation,” where a wide range of devices are still running older versions of software.
The usual solution for Android fans who want to get the latest Android updates on their phones is to use Google’s own Nexus smartphones. They run the pure version of Android and they also get the latest Android updates as soon as they’re released by Google.
Indeed, the latest Nexus 5X and 6P smartphones have been getting the Android 7.0 updates since its release date.
However, the guarantee of getting the latest and greatest updates from Google if you’re a Nexus owner seems to be fading. On September 14, over three weeks after Android 7.0 Nougat was released, Google confirmed to Android Police that people with Google’s very own Nexus 6 smartphone — a phone released in 2014 — won’t receive the latest version of Google’s very own mobile operating system until the “coming weeks.”
I’d be pretty irritated if I was a Nexus 6 owner. And even more so if I was a Nexus 5 owner, as the excellent Nexus 5 from 2013 won’t be receiving the update at all.
Meanwhile, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, called iOS 10, was available to download for the iPhone 4s — a phone released in 2011 — and up from the day the update was released on September 13.
This contrast in how well both companies issue important software updates to arguably the most important pieces of technology you own just solidified my reasoning to stick with iPhone, which is unfortunate because I actually prefer the Android operating system over iOS (the reasons why are for another post).
Getting the latest update is important, as many updates contain security patches and fixes that help protect your personal data, like pictures, emails, messages, and anything else from malicious attacks. After all, there’s quite a large chunk of your life in your smartphone. It’s rare, but all it takes it one attack to do some serious damage. Plus, updates also come with improvements of existing features, as well as cool new features.
At the end of the day, I just like running the latest, most recent software of pretty much any gadget I own. I’m one of those people who’ll immediately update apps once I see the red stamp on the App icon in iOS.
Google recognises that fragmentation is a problem. It’s so bad that some app developers have dropped support for Android.
To fix the fragmentation issue, Bloomberg reported that Google will “shame” third-party Android phone manufacturers into pushing out the latest updates faster than before. And The Information reported that Google is planning on working directly with chip-makers to create hardware that works seamlessly with its software, like iOS does with the iPhone.
We’re eagerly awaiting the release of Google’s next Nexus device, which some rumours claim will be renamed “Pixel.” Hopefully, it will show signs that Google is addressing the problem of fragmentation and the issues its facing with deploying updates to its own Nexus devices, as well as other Android devices.
For now, though, it’s iPhone for me.
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