Why you'll never have the latest version of Android
Inside the ‘broken’ Android updates process
If you have an Android phone, chances are it’s not running the most recent version of the OS, 4.1 Jelly Bean. According to Google’s own figures, just 1.2 percent of active devices run the latest version of Android. Some 57.5 percent remain on Android 2.3, a version rapidly approaching its second birthday.
If you were lucky enough to buy a Nexus device -- the right Nexus device -- you might get the latest sweet treat from the Mountain View chocolate factory immediately, or within a few weeks of it being finalized. But for most of the countless millions of active Android devices, it’s quite a different story. They’ll probably never run the latest version of Android, whatever that may be. They’re on ICS if they’re lucky, Gingerbread if they’re not, and by the time they get Jelly Bean we’ll already be singing the praises of Key Lime Pie.
This vicious cycle is a product of Google’s approach to its OS, combined with a mess of other factors including carriers, manufacturers and users’ own expectations. It’s one of the platform’s most significant issues, and one that’s all but impossible to solve. Read on to find out exactly why, as we dissect the Android software update process.