One of the main draws of Nexus and Google Play edition products is that they typically get Android OS updates well before most other hardware. Sometimes carriers can get in the way of those swift updates, though, and now Google has tweaked the wording of its Nexus and GPe update support page to mention that.
Google’s “Android updates: Nexus & Google Play edition devices” support page recently gained some new words that point out that when it makes an update available, updates may take longer than the standard two week window to reach consumers, based on a carrier. The wording in both the Nexus and GPe sections reads as follows:
“Once an update is available, it can take up to two weeks for it to reach your device. Based on your carrier, it may take longer than two weeks after release to get an update.”
We’ve seen carriers muck with Nexus devices and their updates in the past, specifically with Verizon and both the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7. Just as with any other phone on their network, carriers will test updates for Nexus devices to ensure that everything is working as it should before pushing the updates out over the air to its customers. This tweaked wording in Google’s support page is likely to account for that and to cover their rear ends if one of the many current Nexus carriers ends up holding back an update.
The good news is that, as Android Police points out, Nexus folk wouldn’t be left update-less if a carrier were to withhold an update. Typically we see users find the OTA link for an update once it starts going out. They then share that update and make it flash-able for all. Google also often posts factory images of updates that, while not exactly ideal because flashing them would wipe your device, would be another option for folks desperate to be on the latest software.
Overall it doesn’t appear that this new wording on the Nexus and GPe support page is anything to worry about. Most of the time, Nexus products are updated fairly quickly, regardless of which carrier they’re sold by or being used on. Today’s news does serve as a nice reminder that OTA links and factory images are always an option, though.