Why Do Android Updates Take So Long?

Refurbished cell phoneFrom new, used and refurbished cell phones updates seem to take ages when on an Android device. You hear about the latest and greatest update only to find out your phone isn’t getting one for weeks, months or not at all. So what’s the deal? Why do Apple products get updates seemingly faster than all Android devices? Why does one phone get an update and dozens others either take months, or never get it? Well, we got the answers after the break!

What’s the deal!? Where’s My Update?

Just hold your horses, it may come, especially if you have a new or refurbished cell phone that is within a year old. The problem is that not all phones are equal, and no Android phone ever will be. From month to month you hear about the latest and greats Android cell phone being thrown on the market, only to hear about the next best thing that out does that model next month! Each Android cell phone may have completely different chips, which all the developers have to program separately when they get the latest Android update. What this means is, when a developer, lets say Qualcomm, gets the latest Jellybean update, they need to program that update to talk to all the hardware within the phone. Just throwing in the next update doesn’t work the same as a PC.

When you get new parts for a PC you typically have drivers associated with it that you download, but Cell phones work differently. New to Refurbished cell phones have to get drivers installed within the operating system update itself. You don’t download a new driver for your camera or your 4g receiver, only app updates, which is what makes cell phones different from a computer.

Why Does Apple Get Updates Faster?

It only appears that way from the outside. Google typically tells everyone about the update far in advance, sometimes a full year before it see’s the light of day. Why? Because they have to release this update to dozens upon dozens of developers and companies to ensure their devices work with the new system. They need a huge heads up on what to change within their phone, and whether they even want to bother doing it to their older models. Apple, on the other hand, is the only company making iPhones, so whether you have a new or refurbished cell phone from Apple, it will get the update just as equally as the other iPhone on another service. Apple doesn’t have to tell other developers or companies when an update is coming, they simply have to update their own hardware and release it whenever they wish, because it they only have to worry about the different receivers (CDMA and GSM) which only accounts for 2 phones per-year.

This is why the Nexus got Jellybean update first, and probably will from now on. Google makes the Nexus, of course the hardware they make in house would be the absolute first to receive an update. Even though they made the device, they still go through all the paces of testing and releasing on carriers before ever letting it out the door. Unfortunately, the older Nexus’ have to wait just like everyone else.

 They Do it On Purpose don’t they!?

A lot of people think that companies delay, or even halt Android updates in order to force you to upgrade to a newer device and spend more money. This isn’t actually true, and in the long run, can cost a company more money with such a tactic. HTC and Motorola have recognized this and actually cut down on the amount of phones they make per-year. HTC with the One series, and Motorola with the Razr series. This enables them to update the operating system much more easily and test with less money and resources.  Testing just one phone costs a lot of money and time, since they tend to test them in every region they can before launching it, because just one bug in the system could cause it to not communicate with hundreds of towers. Which is a big deal obviously for any new used or refurbished cell phone.

So Android phone makers are taking a queue from Apple, by limiting the amount of smart phones they output they actually make a more refined and targeted testing system. It also allows the company to market that phone more strongly, though it could lead to more expensive Android phones since they need to be more advance to really draw sales, seems to work for Samsung though.

What Can I Do?

Besides rooting your phone, which is an option, nothing really. Rooting a device is the easiest way to get the most updated operating system before the company even begins rolling them out. The problem is, like I stated above, the new update may not be ready for your used or refurbished cell phone and can cause major problems. From your camera not working to your phone bricking entirely, this can kill your phone and possibly void your warranty.  Be careful! I suggest just waiting it out, or accepting your fate in whatever operating system you’re in now. The risk to root may not be worth it.

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