I like Android. It has lots of customisation options, the widgets are great, there are lots of free apps and there are plenty of alternative launchers and even ROMs to use if you get bored of your default settings. However this links to most people’s major bugbear – the speed, or lack of, of manufacturers releasing updates and releasing phones with older software versions.
Google release the details of what software versions phones are running every month and the figures for February show that Froyo accounts for 1.3% of phone use and Gingerbread for 20%. Phones are still being released running some of the earlier versions of Jellybean 4.1 and 4.2, so now Google is doing something about it.
In an leaked memo, Google says:
“Starting February 2014, Google will no longer approve GMS distribution on new Android products that ship older platform releases. Each platform release will have a “GMS approval window” that typically closes nine months after the next Android platform release is publicly available. “
What this means is that if a phone has a software version that is at least 9 months older than the latest version, the phone won’t be approved for Google Play Store and won’t have access to the Google Services Framework, meaning it will be like the cheap tablets – running Android but having to rely on 3rd party app stores.
Given the lower requirements for Android Kitkat 4.4, there is no reason that even budget smartphones can’t be released running the newest version.