Unfortunately, when Google licensed Android to their OEM partners they made one fatal mistake; they didn’t put anything in the licensing agreement that the OEMs had to agree to to use Android stating that they had to maintain their devices. Google can release all the Android versions that they want but the OEMs can turn around say… “Meh… We don’t care.”
Proof of this is that you can still find new devices being sold today with Android 4.1 Jellybean. No, I’m NOT kidding here! Yes, Android 4.1! How Google is even allowing devices to be sold with an OS that old should be not allowed. Oh.. but wait, Google doesn’t have any control here.
If we look back in history Google was releasing Android right around the time Apple was releasing the iPhone 3G. In order to get a leg up on the iPhone Google decided to license Android to their OEM partners at the time with a very open-ended licensing agreement which, if you ask me, gave the OEMs way too much control leaving Google with very little.
Google has no control over the destiny of Android, the OEMs do. They’re the ones that ultimately decide if Android is going to die or not. But wait.. I know, you’re going to say that I’m stupid for saying that but read on and you’ll find out why I said that.
As of right now, Google has no control on whether or not your device will be updated or not. Lately they’ve been trying to take back some of the control that the OEMs have by putting a lot of things into what’s known as Google Play Services. That’s good for consumers because that’s the one thing Google has ultimate control over. But, Google has to tread carefully because if they move too fast in trying to take back the control they never should have given up to begin with, the OEMs can turn around and say “Fine Google, you want that control back? Here it is, we’re going to make our own mobile OS or we’ll just move to Tizen.” And what would happen if that scenario played out? Android would experience an instant death.
You see, without the OEMs Android is virtually dead. Yes, Google does have their own devices but they make up such a small piece of the Google Android marketshare that you might as well not even say that they exist. The biggest players in the Android ecosystem is Samsung, HTC, Sony, and a few others. If Google were to piss these players off it would be the death of Android.