Earlier today, we reported on a new post on the Sony Mobile Blog that announced when certain handset owners should expect the latest Android 9.0 Pie update. While this is all well and good, there was also an infographic attached to the post, that is apparently meant to educate folks on just how rigorous of a process it is, just to deliver an Android update.
The Verge was quick to point out that while the infographic is pretty, it also looks like it might be Sony's attempt to explain why updates to its devices are so slow. Sure, there might be a long arduous process to get new Android updates tested, certified, and then pushed - but if smaller companies like Essential can pull off same day turnaround times as Google, Sony should be able to as well. Mind you, there isn't an expectation by anyone to have its full line updated the same day, but it could at least churn out one Android 9.0 Pie update at least within the same month of release.
Alas, this problem with Android isn't new and isn't a problem that is just specific to Sony. Many other device manufacturers have also struggled with keeping phones current. The problem has caused so much fragmentation and is probably one of the largest pain points of owning an Android device. While things are getting better, there are still plenty of devices that rarely ever get updated.
Hopefully, things will improve over the next couple of years. Project Treble looks promising and should accelerate the process for manufacturers to get updates out to their devices. But if things don't change, there is always the option of utilizing a third-party ROM, like LineageOS. Although it isn't an official port from the manufacturer, the OS is highly trusted and well maintained - and is just one example of a community supported update.
For a growing number of people, Android updates have become a huge factor when it comes to buying a phone. Those that have been previously burned by a company will swear off the brand and look for a company that is proactive when it comes to updates. While there is a current stranglehold on the Android market, this is potentially how smaller companies could penetrate and win in the long run.