Google gets tough on handset makers neglecting Android updates

Company to use new incentives to encourage smartphone makers to roll out OS updates to users faster

Google is cracking down on handset makers and carriers that are slow to roll out Android updates to their users with new incentives and a public ranking broad, according to a new report.

The Android user base has been fragmented since its debut in 2007 and system updates arrive notoriously late for users, depending on the make of their handset.

Advertisement - Article continues below

But the operating system's maker has been working to address this problem, and now it intends to publically rank which handset makers are the best for security patches and OS updates, a move which could discredit some phone makers, and prompt them to act more efficiently, Bloomberg reports.

Google reportedly has an internal ranking, but has not gone public with it before.

In recent months, Google has been speeding up security updates, providing technology workarounds and reducing phone testing requirements. Lately, the company has been offering many of its major software and security updates through its Google Play Store, rather than rolling them exclusively into each Android OS update.

However, the number of Google's 1.4 billion active Android user who are running its latest operating system pales in comparison to rival Apple. Only 7.5 per cent of Android users run the latest OS, Marshmallow, according to Google's figures, compared to 84 per cent of iOS users running Apple's latest software.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

This disparity is has been called out many times as an area where Google is lagging behind Apple, which makes both hardware and software for its devices, maintaining more control over both.

Recently, a Dutch consumer group sued Samsung Electronics, the largest Android phone manufacturer, for neglecting to update many of its devices for two years, despite them running the latest version of Android and updates becoming available.

Kaspersky Lab revealed earlier this month that many android handsets running 4.1 Jelly Bean or older are now susceptible to malware attacks.

Speaking at Google I/O conference this month, Android chief Hiroshi Lockheimer said the company making progress in persuading phone makers and carriers to install security updates sooner "for the good of users".

Featured Resources

Navigating the new normal: A fast guide to remote working

A smooth transition will support operations for years to come

Download now

Putting a spotlight on cyber security

An examination of the current cyber security landscape

Download now

The economics of infrastructure scalability

Find the most cost-effective and least risky way to scale

Download now

IT operations overload hinders digital transformation

Clearing the path towards a modernised system of agreement

Download now


Google Android

How to unroot Android

22 Apr 2020
business apps

Presidential campaign apps serve as data collection tools

23 Jun 2020
Mobile Phones

Microsoft might release the dual-screen Surface Duo next month

16 Jun 2020
Google Android

Android 11 leak points to new smart home integrations

2 Jun 2020

Most Popular


How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020

Microsoft releases urgent patch for high-risk Windows 10 flaws

1 Jul 2020
data protection

EU institutions told to avoid Microsoft software after licence spat

3 Jul 2020