Despite the Android platform being one of the best mobile operating systems, there’s one area it has been lagging for a long time. If you use a Google phone, chances are you have never experienced the problem of updates. But the rest of the Android realm has to wait to for up to a year to get new updates. This is because there are many manufacturers of smartphones that use the Android operating system. In the recent past, Google has taken measures to ensure shorter periods of delays by the introduction of programs such as Project Treble and Android One.
But still, not every manufacturer is catered for in the above programs. Still, there are delays, and at the end of the day, some smartphones only get one security update. This is worrying given that Google releases an update especially patches at the end of every month. Good news is, the delay is about to become shorter. A popular news and media network operated by Vox Media obtained a contract that obligates smartphones manufacturers to install updates in their devices regularly. But there’s a catch, the contract applies for popular smartphones, and we’ll tell you more about that.
During this year’s Google I/O, Google’s head of Android security, David Kleidermacher said that Google has agreed with its partners to roll out updates regularly, especially security updates. In the contract, it’s stipulated that Android device manufacturers should push at least four security updates within the first year of the device launch. The contract also requires updates to be pushed for at least two years and in the second year, security updates should also be mandated alongside other updates.
Also, in the contract, there’s a specific time frame that manufacturers are supposed to patch flaws identified by Google. The timeframe – covered devices should be protected at the end of each month against all vulnerability identified in a period of 90 days. This means the devices won’t go more than 90 days without updates. Newer devices should also be launched with the current security levels. Failure to adhere to the contract agreements, manufacturers’ approval to release future phones will be withheld.
Here’s the catch
The contract covers devices that were launched after January 31st this year. And as we said earlier, the devices must be popular. In the contract, a device is popular if more than one hundred thousand users have activated it. But this is not a hard to reach target as most devices have international sales. In a nutshell, this means almost every device that is covered by the contract will get regular updates. While there’s no way of knowing what devices are covered in the contract, we can still take a guess. It’s probably the most popular devices in the market or the ones that have not been updating their devices.
Regardless of the contract being good news, the fate of non-Google devices receiving updates is not yet known. Following the EU ruling, the contract won’t have the same pressure on non-Google devices.