In Part 1 we talked about the economics of Android, namely the fact that Android is practically a money printing machine. In Part 2 we’re going to talk about the technical side of things and how the carriers in the US manage to screw things up royally for everyone involved.
In the United States the updates are not only being bogged down by the OEMs but by the carriers as well. So here is the process by which Android updates have to go through for users in the United States.
- New software released by Google.
- OEMs get the update which then they have to merge in any changes that Google made into their bastardized version Android that they’re using (TouchWiz, Sense, etc.) and hope to God that whatever Google changed didn’t break the whole house of cards in the process.
- The OEM sends the update pack to the carrier which the carrier then sends back to the OEM containing the changes they want added to it be it additional bloatware, carrier network changes, network additions like VoLTE, etc.
- The OEM then gets these change requests from the carrier and makes those changes.
- The OEM then sends what it thinks that the carrier wants the update to be like to the carrier which… oh wait, did you think it would be finalized now? Nope. The carriers then submit more changes to the OEM.
- The OEM does those changes and submits the changes back to the carrier.
- Repeat steps 3 through 6 a couple of times.
- And now finally, eight months later the end user finally gets the update only to have the whole entire shitty process start all over again when Google releases a new version of Android.
And now you know why Android phones are notorious for not getting updates on time in the United States.
Not only that but the OEMs also make it that much more difficult for themselves because they also make different variations of the same device. For instance, in Europe they have one model (using one processor) and in the United States they have another model (using another processor). So not only do they have to maintain Android distributions for every single carrier but distributions for every variation of the same device. Some carriers want added stuff in it like additional bloatware, settings, icons, etc. and another carrier wants different stuff. All in all, it’s a headache and a half to maintain.
So why can’t we all just have one variation of a device and be done with it much like Apple does? Well… we can’t do that in the Android world, everyone has to be different. Every device has to be different. We can’t have standardization. That would make Android more like Apple. But at the same time it would make things lot easier on the Android OEMs since they would only have to maintain one distribution of Android to be used on all of their hardware thus making and keeping devices up to date a relative breeze according to the mess that they have now.
Oh… and we have to tell the carriers to go f*** off. Something that Apple did from the very start. This is the way we’re going to do things and no one can tell us otherwise. This is why regardless of what carrier you have, regardless of where in the world you are, your iPhone will always get the same iOS updates on the same date.