As a recent returner to the Android platform in regards to my daily driver, I have a renewed interest in Android in general. I never didn’t have an interest in it, but I tend to be more invested in whatever platform I use at the time. Admittedly I do have a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to focusing on what I’m personally using.
So, back to Android. I’m getting used to all of the customization options, the layout, and even looking into rooting again. Along with all of the great things I’m getting used to, I also have to get used to the uncertainty of Android’s updates again, which is something that I’m not particularly pleased about.
Android was the first (modern) smartphone platform that I ever used. After I got my first Android phone, I was pleased as punch about it… for a little while. It soon became evident that Android in 2010 wasn’t without its issues. I remember the platform being buggy, laggy, and often times non-responsive, and this was with one of the top flagship smartphones at the time (Samsung Galaxy S). Because of this, I would often scour out sources so that I could make my Android experience smoother and more reliable. I was also absolutely jazzed about major software updates, because that meant big improvements were underway.
The Galaxy S wasn’t my only smartphone. I went through a myriad of Androids over the next couple of years, always trading for one reason or another. I soon found out that not all Androids were created equal, as sometimes when an update came out I would have a phone that wasn’t supported. Given that I had no experience with iOS at the time (or any desire to look into it given my carrier didn’t have iPhones then) I figured this was the norm; this was just how things were. Sometimes you would get the updates and sometimes you wouldn’t.
Then I switched to iOS, and it was a breath of fresh air. Every year I knew I would get the next major update, and I would get it at the same time as every other supported iPhone. It was as simple as that (although the update wasn't always necessarily helpful to the performance of the iPhone, so it's not perfect by any means).
So then we get back to the present, and I’m back with Android with my Xperia Z3 Compact, and I’m reading all about Android M and the predictions people have for it. With Google I/O just around the corner and confirmation that Android M will indeed arrive sometime in 2015, there’s a lot of speculation going around surrounding the next Android update.
And mostly, the biggest thing on my mind is, “Will my phone even support it?” followed by, “If so, how long will it be until I see it?” Android devices are all over the map when it comes to updates, so there’s really no telling. It also depends on how fast the manufacturers can mold their UI around the update as well, and if certain carriers will allow their specific phone to have the update. It’s a very fragmented process, and not one I’m particularly fond of.
I don’t think this will ever change, but it would be nice to have a little more transparency from all of the companies about what phones get what, and perhaps a little more accuracy on when the updates will come (I can’t count how many times I’ve read about companies completely underestimating how much time it will take to get the new software out). I believe that a little accurate transparency here would go a long way with Android users.