Google’s Jean-Baptiste Queru, the technical lead of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) has spoken out, voicing his opinion of the very long waits many Android users face for updates. Following Samsung, Asus and HTC, Sony has recently launched an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for its Tablet S device, just a mere five months after the AOSP code was released to manufacturers.
Queru actually believes this time frame to be “very reasonable”, as behind the scenes, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is quite different from Android 3.x Honeycomb. He expects phone updates to take even longer as the differences between Android 2.3 Gingerbread and Android 4.0 are “huge”.
We honestly don’t care how many times you can spin a piece of thread, while Sony’s feat may impress some, there are several problems with Android’s update process at heart. The first being that only the manufacturers of Google’s Nexus devices (Samsung was the lucky one last year) get early access to Android’s source code before release.
The second point flows on from this, obviously the code for a new update is essentially done at least a month before a major update is revealed, yet Google’s AOSP still waited a month after the Ice Cream Sandwich reveal event to give manufactures and developers access to the source code. Why can’t they release the source code to critical manufacturers before the update is even publicly unveiled? Microsoft does this with its Windows Phone 7 platform and if Google picked the same methodology up itself, it could push updates forward by two months or more.
What is beyond Google’s control is the carrier approval process, the act of a carrier putting a few extra applications on its phones that delay the update by months or even indefinitely. Queru is also highly annoyed by this fact and is glad Google is now selling phones itself again, something it hasn’t done since the HTC Nexus One.
KitGuru says: Honestly, the only good news to come from this is that Google will be expanding its phone selling program to more countries.