Report: Google may publicly shame phone makers who deliver tardy Android updates

Google has collected plenty of data about who is naughty and nice, and it may be about to make some of it public.

android tree shrub green
Credit: Derek Walter

Google may have finally had enough.

According to a Bloomberg report, the company is thinking about turning to public shaming as a way to entice handset manufacturers to step up their Android updates. 

Google has apparently collected considerable data (something it’s very good at) regarding manufacturers and carriers’ update performance and shared this information with OEMs and carriers. A Sprint executive said he’d seen the details and had been feeling the pressure from Google to push things along.

Even without access to this information, we can assure you it isn’t a pretty picture: only 7.5 percent of the current Android devices are running Marshmallow, which is the latest major version. This after about half a year on the market. Some are slower than others, while the wireless providers have also been known to hold things up for “carrier testing.” 

may android numbers Android Developers

Each month, Google publishes details about where each version of Android stands.

Google tried to improve this with its monthly security updates, though even that has been a very mixed story. Some pledge to follow and are late, never follow through, or only put it into motion with their flagship. 

It’s problem number one with Android right now, and while an Android Update Wall of Shame may sound like a radical idea, it could be the extreme solution that’s necessary.

The story behind the story: Every week we round up all the Android updates, and usually there’s some phone or tablet that’s only now getting Marshmallow even though it was released by Google in October of last year. Google has tried many tactics to remove the discomfort of tardy updates, such as unbundling core apps and putting them in the Play Store. Google Play Services also updates independently, which provides developers with APIs they can use right away. But this problem hasn’t gone away, and with so many neat features coming to Android N it’ll be a real drag for those who have to wait months after its available to get it.

This story, "Report: Google may publicly shame phone makers who deliver tardy Android updates" was originally published by Greenbot.

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