Recently, we could read and hear about Google putting some effort in facilitating easier updates for android devices:
- In May 2017 Google guaranteed 2 years of android version updates for Pixel phones.
- Also in May 2017 Project Treble was announced, an additional abstraction layer between Linux Kernel and Userland, available from Android O.
- In September 2017 Google announced that the combination of Treble and and 6-year LTS Kernels should make four upgrades to a new android version per device possible.
So, looking at Android’s version history, four upgrades would mean, if I bought a KitKat phone in 2013, Oreo would now be my last upgrade.
Sounds like the kind of support we only get from custom ROMs today.
- In October 2017 Pixel 2 was announced and with it “Pixel’s software and security updates for three years.” (see footnote 3 here).
So, even though three years are not the promised four years, we can still see a trend of increasing years of guaranteed software support on Android phones.
That is a positive trend! I hope that Google takes the gloves off soon and guarantees four upgrades to a new android version, forcing other vendors to at least start guaranteeing something for their phones. As I said before, this would really be a unique selling point. Also this would really mean a big leap forward regarding sustainability of Android phones! Let’s see if any of the Oreo Phones being release now will support Android S 😉