Android Updates to Settle Down to Once a Year, Says Andy Rubin


andy-rubin-pictureNow that the excitement around Froyo has begun to settle, the lingering question remains: with the Gingerbread update scheduled for a release at the end of the year, how does Google handle making updates that will ease the pain of fragmentation? Google’s VP Andy Rubin addressed the future of Android’s OS updates in an interview with the Silicon Valley Mercury News, stating that the update schedule should settle down into a once-per-year event.

Citing that the first release of Android felt more like a “.8” release as opposed to 1.0, the flurry of updates within the first 18 months of the OS’s existence were merely to catch it up to speed. Now that the platform is coming into its own, twice a year updates are helping to add new features, but to allow developers to “leverage the innovation” a more slow and steady update schedule is likely.

This is good news for those that want to see an end to fragmentation, but there is something to be said about frequent updates (if you are on a handset lucky enough to receive them). It allows Google to constantly provide the best smartphone platform, though OTA update delays have invariably stifled this progress. Once a year updates should allow both Google and OEMs to get new versions of Android up to speed and out to consumers in a much smoother fashion.

[via TechCrunch]

Kevin Krause
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  1. Makes perfect sense if everyone was running the same hardware specifications like the upcoming Windows 7 phones but not sure if it will work for the broad range of phones that Android offers….Sounds like they are heading in the right direction though….Keep the cool dessert names and ridiculous sculptures at the Googleplex though….Always good for a laugh :)

  2. WOOT! finally as long as the EVO makes it to gingerbread then i’ll be a happy camper!

  3. I think the technology is moving much to fast for one major update a year.

    There MAY be SOME fragmentation, deal with it. You could have bought an Apple and be guaranteed to own an obsolete product in 3-5 months.

  4. This is actually good news, Makes me more willing to shell the money on a new phone, if I know it wont be outdated within 2 months.

  5. Everywhere you read, the manufacturer, whether it’s Stock, and the carrier play huge roles into people’s buying experience now.

    There is a fear. People will say they like a phone, but it’s Samsung, who has a horrible update reputation. Or it has Blur, which takes too long. Or Sense. Stock gets updates quickest so I’m waiting purely for a Stock phone.

    The fact that it’s become so common for consumers to worry about this shows it’s a problem. By the time 2.2 is rolled out by manufacturers, Gingerbread will be out.

    They really do need to calm down, and make updates easier to implement.

  6. Man slowing down Android means that when you do finally get a new update it’s going to epic :)

  7. What a creepy looking head shot.

  8. Andy Rubin is the man! We all knew that, right?

  9. This actually great news because it gives the consumers a chance to actually enjoy their latest purchased handset with the current Android OS without feeling left out in the next 2 months because a newer OS has just been released & not being able to get until almost a year later anyway.
    This should qwell all the whining from the folks who are upset because OEM’s aren’t moving along fast enough to upgrade their handset.

  10. Once a year upgrade means each upgrade will be even bigger, most likely making it longer for manufacture customization to integrate. So if you want the latest/greatest ASAP, it’s better to stick to stock Android phones. The manufacturer UI customizations (like Sense and Blur) doesn’t provide any usefulness, and only delays your phones from getting update as soon as possible.

  11. every 6mo’s is good, but every year is a pain.

  12. What needs to happen is making the blur and sense crap a module or add-on that can be downloaded from the marketplace. Push out the OTA to all phones. If a specified driver is needed it should be published to Google or have the hardware manufacturer held to a deadline that it has to have the update out by.

    For this OS to be so opensource companies drag their feet on it way to bad. It a community of devs can pump out updates as fast as they do that the actual hardware manufacturer should be able to do the same since they know all about the phone/hardware.

    It amazes me how bad they drag their feet.

    Frankly I like the constant updates, the updates should not make the phone you use out of date. If so blame the manufacturer and the carrier in that, not Google. Google and the customer should hold them to a much higher standard then we do now and this should not be a problem.

    If they want to do timelines on updates why not every 6 months. So we don’t get left too far behind on the technology curve.

  13. @froyo – Bring up that argument again when stock Android UI isn’t so pathetic.

  14. @jonathan – i confirm that. I’m currently waiting what will Motorola do, when my warranty expires – because according to their docs, i will NOT receive any updates for my Milestone once the warranty period is over. If they will really do this, then i will buy only Google Experience phones in future, where the manufacturer is left out in whole.

  15. I see this like forecasting the weather. You can say once a year is good but when the competition offers ABC feature or someone creates this really cool new feature nobody else has yet I don’t see them waiting 8 months to roll out a new update. If the update was only once a year apps would only be updated once a year. I’m ok with some apps being updated and others not if the OS allows for other cool stuff.

  16. Screw all of this and just root your phones. You wont have to worry about a thing, you would always have the latest and greatest long before any carrier puts it out.

  17. I don’t think I would mind yearly updates if you knew when, what, and where but wondering if today is the day that Froyo gets pushed to my phone and exactly what it will contain is crap. The lack of any kind of firm schedule for the official updates is reason enough to root your phone.

  18. dunno why all this bickering about updates.

    b/4 google who updated phones OTA?

    only way phones got updated b/4 was buying new ones.

  19. @swazedahustla: good luck doing that with Milestone and signed bootloader.

  20. What this really sounds like to me is catering to the lowest common denominator. I will have to wait for updates now because HTC (or whoever) needs extra time to test because they added more stuff to their phone which makes it more complicated to update.

    I can understand why google is doing this, but I’m not happy about it.

  21. They’re just running out of desserts to name the updates after. lol

  22. good call. maybe we’ll get some news articles to focus on starting next year that wont focus on what flavor OS I have today…

  23. Update to Settle Down to Once a Year! means Waiting another year to get that update?

  24. This does not address the root of the problem: greedy manufacturers will always drag their heels as long as possible, whether Google updates platform once a year or four times a year. So instead of waiting for 3-6 months atm, we’ll never get an update because the warranty for a phone is only 12 months.

  25. I just want Froyo now. 6 months later, I am still ecstatic about my MotoDroid. The only problem I have with it is that sometimes it’s slow.
    If I can get a speed boost AND flash support with Froyo, the phone will be perfect.


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