While Android being an open platform gives manufacturers a lot of leeway to approach the OS in whatever manner they see fit (like Amazon has done with its Kindle Fire line), Google does have one trump card it still holds: Google apps. If you want your smartphone or tablet to ship with not just the base Android OS, but also Gmail, Google Maps, and the all-important Play Store, that means playing by Google’s rules. A new leak now claims that Google intends to leverage this position in order to stem the release of hardware running increasingly outdated Android builds.
The documents show Google outlining a policy by which Google Mobile Services (Google apps) approval can only be received for new devices running specific, recent Android versions – supposedly, Google would cease certifying an Android release in this manner nine months after a more recent build became available.
For instance, Android 4.3 came out in July of last year – so nine months later, in this coming April, Google would stop certifying new hardware running the release prior to 4.3: 4.2 in this case. Similarly, since 4.4 launched in October, Google would stop certifying new hardware running 4.3 this July.
While we rarely see major OEMs fall so far behind that this move would affect them, it does have the possibility to impact releases from more off-the-beaten-path OEMs. You should also be aware that none of this affects ongoing updates – this only seems to concern the launch of new hardware. Still, we can’t help but think it’s a step in the right direction.
Source: Android Police