The imminent release of the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, called Jellybean (4.1), has raised the question of when existing smartphones will receive their updates of the new OS. The OS is all set to be released later this month but there is most certainly going to be a delay to get it on your handset. The reason behind this is that updates to a smartphone are the responsibility of the manufacturer and not that of Google itself.
Initially, this system was put in place so that it would allow each manufacturer to have their own version of the OS, modified to suit specific devices and requirements. However, the delay in reaching their respective handsets has led to considerable frustration among the consumers. Moreover, there are also cases where a device is not eligible for the new version. A further serious issue that has risen is that of fragmentation because of the vast diversity in the software which has made the entire scenario more prone to hacker threats.
Google has recently proposed what appears to be a temporary solution to this problem. It has released a Platform Development Kit (PDK) that allows developers to interface the hardware in a more systematic fashion. Essentially the PDK is the counterpart of the Software Development Kit (SDK) in terms of hardware. While it is likely that the PDK might make adapting to the new OS quicker, it remains dubious whether it will have any influence on the uptake of Jellybean. It is speculated that the next versions of Android, either the 4.2 or 5.0 might be in the market before Jellybean has established a foothold among users, considering that only 10% of users have Ice Cream Sandwich though it was released in October last year.
While the update to Jellybean might be slow, that doesn’t stop a few devices from running it directly out of the manufacturing house. For starters, Google devices such as the Nexus S, the Galaxy Nexus as well as the Nexus 7 tablet will be running Jellybean. In addition, the Xoom tablet from Motorola will also feature the Android 4.1 OS. Though there has been no official statement about Motorola phones adopting Jellybean, it is likely that the new OS will be in phones from Motorola very soon considering its recent takeover by Google. Samsung looks most likely to have Jellybean on the new S III while LG is still pushing for ICS updates on its phones.