May 10th, 2011

One thing that might make a few of you happy is Google’s pledge to provide the latest versions of Android for up to 18 months after a device is purchased. It’s a much needed movement as today’s “fragmentation” issue still rages on. Tons of devices have yet to get Gingerbread, including a number of stock Android devices. It was never Google’s, your OEMs’, or your carriers’ obligation to provide updates which allowed them to define their own upgrade schedule.

With this movement, OEMs and carriers will work day and night to get users the absolute latest version of Android. All of the big four carriers here in the United States are on board as well as today’s popular OEMs including HTC, Motorola, Samsung and more. They also mentioned that international carriers would look to do the same, but couldn’t offer any names outside of Vodafone (we expect Europe’s major carriers to follow along, though).

There is a caveat, of course – your device will still need to be powerful enough to get an update. Even with the 18 month promise, some phones may be technologically unable to receive updates. Your best bet is to just go the high-end route once Google launches this program. 18 months is a very sensible and fair stretch of time. On some carriers, you can get a fully-subsidized upgrade before your original contract is up (usually ranging from 2-4 months before your contract is set to expire).

I’m excited to see how this’ll turn out. Will Google and their manufacturers stay true to their word or are they just blowing smoke to keep critics at bay? Regardless, we’re glad they addressed the issue and are working to rid the Android world of fragmentation. (Although the problem of fragmentation will never fully die. Just learn to accept that fact, folks.)

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