Google might soon publicly point fingers at Android OEMs taking too long to update
No matter how a bunch of lazy, complacent, greedy, user satisfaction-ignoring device manufacturers and wireless carriers will try to spin the Android numbers tale to make it seem like fragmentation isn’t such a big deal anymore, the cold, hard facts suggest otherwise.
Marshmallow is growing at a slower pace than lethargic Lollipop, and with just 7.5 percent market share as of the beginning of May, OS version 6.0 still lags way behind 5.1, 5.0, 4.4, and even the November 2012-released 4.2 Jelly Bean.
Together, builds 5.0 and 5.1 Lollipop barely surpassed 4.4 KitKat back in March, a full 18 months after the original L-flavor rollout, but you have to wonder whether iteration M will ever reign supreme, considering N is right around the corner, and a few OEMs must be thinking of sending that over-the-air directly to their L-powered gadgets.
Either way, Google has a huge mess on its hands, and doing a flawless job in constantly revising the software of its own-brand Nexuses will not help put order in the extensive Android ecosystem. It’s also not enough to get a couple hardware-making partners to patch security every month, and that wild rumor about the search giant adopting in-house chip designs doesn’t seem to be panning out.
Meanwhile, the pressure is purportedly growing on major US operators to shorten their notoriously lengthy testing and approval processes for big and small updates, with OEMs possibly looking at a system of public commendation and reprimand as far as they’re concerned.
Specifically, Bloomberg reports, Google has been working on ratings and rankings of Android device makers based on their software support efforts. For now, the list remains confidential, but before long, it could be plastered all over the interwebs, aiming to shame “ecosystem laggards” into stepping things up.
As Bloomberg puts it, both “carrots and sticks” will be used to praise those doing an above-par work in bringing hardware up to date from a software standpoint, and denounce companies indifferent to their customers’ pleas for resistance to glitches and smooth operation.
That’s unlikely to fix everything wrong with Android right now, but it could be a decent start. Hopefully, Google won’t Septa Unella-style overdo it.