Google could force Android OEMs to offer the latest OS versions

A new report has claimed that Google might be planning to force Android OEMs to provide the latest versions of the OS in order to access Google Mobile Services.

The folks over at Android Police received information about Google's alleged plans from multiple sources. It is claimed that Google will enforce the requirement of a minimum API level on new devices if the manufacturer wants to have access to Google services such as Google Apps and Play Store. 

According to the website, certain Android OEMs have been provided with deadlines for the certification process which can be seen below.

The changes would not make a big difference for bigger Android OEMs and is probably put in place to prevent inconsistent performance in low-end Androids, which ship with older Android versions with under-powered hardware. Unfortunately this does't mean that users who purchase an Android device with a slightly older version of the OS will be guaranteed updates, as it is just a certification for devices that will be launched.

Google has been trying to reduce fragmentation in Android for a long time, but due to manufacturers who keep releasing smartphones with OS versions as old as Gingerbread (2.3) the developers need to allocate resources in supporting them. The alleged policy, could prove to be helpful in reducing this to a large extent.

Source: Android Police | Image via Android Police

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This could be good or bad. When an Android OEM makes a phone, the phone is being tested with the version of Android that already exists. If a new version of Android appears just before an OEM is about to release a phone, I don't think they should be forced to use the latest version. It needs to be tested no matter how minor changes or fixes or new features are.

I mean, when a PC makers has a Windows 7 computer and Windows 8 is 2 months away, you cant expect them to stop production just to put Windows 8 on it. There has to be a cut off as to when you can expect a new device to carry the latest.

I would rather Google works out to be able to directly send Android updates to a phone. Not let the carriers do it. Because for example, Verizon is really slow with OS updates. Other phones have gotten 4.3 and Verizon was late as per usual to the game.

Also, Google needs to prevent carriers from being able to disable features on a phone whether they are from Google or the OEM. Like VZW disable Knox on the GN3.

Again this idea sounds good on paper, but in reality it isn't going to happen.

Yes but most PC makers will offer an free upgrade to the latest OS if it's only a couple of months away from release do you see phone makers doing that NO and no ones saying release new hardware with latest OS or else just that they need to offer it as soon as testing has finished... my poor old galaxy pocket could quite happily run KK but will samsung ever put out an update for more than likely not

would be nice if I could get faster updates on my non nexus devices. but honestly I think they should make the option of going google play edition or OEM UI out of the box, you shouldn't have to buy a different phone if you choose to switch.

My old I9000 (S1) is rocking 4.4 and is fast as hell I see no reason it would not be able to support 4.4 officially without all the bloat Samsung added.

Anyway getting my mates S3 in a few days, There are many phones around that would support above 2.1 easy but just are forgotten about like a year or two after release due to new models.

I can see this happening with the S4, HTC One in like a years time they will be more than capable of running whatever is out but wont have an official firmware.

It would be nice of OEM's were actually forced to update phones released for 2-3 years.

Not release loads of phones one year, do the same the following year and decide its too much bother to actually update a phone released 12 months ago.

Buttus said,
is there an 'end of life' for any version of android? like how windows xp is ending?

This...

A good idea. Why not put an EOL on crappy versions 4 years old...would stop the slew of stupid GB phones going out still...

It is claimed that Google will enforce the requirement of a minimum API level on new devices if the manufacturer wants to have access to Google services such as Google Apps and Play Store.

Good. Would reduce the models of phones a company is putting out...Samsung...KitKat runs smoothly on low end phones so that shouldnt be much of a problem.

Still allow editing of the UI but make OEMs update their phones...sounds like a win all around.

This is good news if true. I feel sorry for people buying low end phones (third world country here) that still have GB installed on it when JB generally runs a lot smoother even on low-spec phones.

If phone makers are still putting out phones with GB on them, then they're purely lazy and deserve to have sanctions applied to them...

Raa said,
If phone makers are still putting out phones with GB on them, then they're purely lazy and deserve to have sanctions applied to them...

Yes because you know why people still use GB. Look it up some time educate yourself. They didn't care about Google services any way.

Praeses said,
This is good news if true. I feel sorry for people buying low end phones (third world country here) that still have GB installed on it when JB generally runs a lot smoother even on low-spec phones.

it is the chip vendors that are responsible for having android 2.3 and 4.1 on new phones, they don't release drivers for newer android versions, they want people to buy a new phone with their new chip inside. Gpu vendors are also at fault too.

torrentthief said,

it is the chip vendors that are responsible for having android 2.3 and 4.1 on new phones, they don't release drivers for newer android versions, they want people to buy a new phone with their new chip inside. Gpu vendors are also at fault too.

The whole 'they want people to buy their new phones with their chip' is the only MAIN problem now. Greedy business model.

They are going the way of the computers, only support the hardware/software for a year then vanish to force new purchases. Or come out with an old OS so that it forces people to upgrade sooner.

Kind of wish we could just buy the hardware and everyone could upgrade it to whatever version they wanted with a click of a button, something like Windows (packaged with good drivers). But that will probably never happen

Guantaco said,

Look it up some time educate yourself. They didn't care about Google services any way.

I know that, but my point stands.

They already run the Aosp like a mafia gang ensuring OEMs are punished if they remove google crapware. So it was only a matter of time before...no wonder OEMs are realizing they don need google controlling their destiny after being suckered in by promises of open and freedom.

neonspark said,
They already run the Aosp like a mafia gang ensuring OEMs are punished if they remove google crapware. So it was only a matter of time before...no wonder OEMs are realizing they don need google controlling their destiny after being suckered in by promises of open and freedom.
Just to clarify, what you're calling crapware isn't included in AOSP so your statement is kinda wrong - OEM need to "certify" (i.e. license) their devices before they can include GMS.

neonspark said,
They already run the Aosp like a mafia gang ensuring OEMs are punished if they remove google crapware. So it was only a matter of time before...no wonder OEMs are realizing they don need google controlling their destiny after being suckered in by promises of open and freedom.

Are you talking about stuff you have no idea about again? OEMs aren't punished for removing Google products from AOSP, they have to license those seperately (GMS). Get back under your bridge troll.

neonspark said,
They already run the Aosp like a mafia gang ensuring OEMs are punished if they remove google crapware. So it was only a matter of time before...no wonder OEMs are realizing they don need google controlling their destiny after being suckered in by promises of open and freedom.

Same old drivel. Seriously dude, OEMs are not punished for removing Google apps. In fact, Google has an issue with some groups including the apps in their software/mods. And Google isnt saying the UI cannot be edited anymore.

But yea, I am sure Amazon is feeling really punished. You are full of it.

Point out why I am misinformed. I am not sifting thru 4 pages to find your claim....since evidently you dont claim that I am wrong, you claim others are wrong to.

K.John said,
No, techbeck, you are misinformed. Read this: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets...rce-by-any-means-necessary/
Yes, Google are migrating (more like reimplementing and improving) a bunch of features in AOSP into GMS. But that doesn't mean OEMs are being punished. Heck, all those chinese OEMs (Alibaba comes to mine) that are releasing Android phones without GMS shows this is not the case. This is simple logic really - if you're an OEM and want to include Google's services in your new phone then you got to comply to Google's rules. If not, you're still free to use plain old Android and provide your own services on top (i.e. what Amazon is doing).