Google is ready to drag Android smartphone makers through the streets of King’s Landing, each of us yelling “shame!” as the device-makers take their walk of atonement. Alright, maybe the company isn’t ready to go that far, but word on the street is it’s willing to shame Android OEMs into getting their smartphone systems upgraded faster with a new rankings list.
Bloomberg said Google wants smartphone makers to speed up the process with which they bring their smartphones up to the latest version of Android. It’s important, too, especially considering just 7.5 percent are running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, now a year old, on the eve of the launch of Android N. Google wants a greater parity among Android devices, particularly in the face of Apple, which can execute that task in a matter of weeks with a new iOS update.
The company apparently has a secret list of Android manufacturers that are ranked by “how up to date their handsets are, based on security patches and operating system versions,” Bloomberg said, and it’s ready to make that list public. That sort of public shaming could be disastrous for smartphone makers, particularly if consumers decide to pay attention. If one smartphone maker ranks higher than another, for example, it would (rightfully) probably convince consumers to choose the smartphone that’s more likely to get future updates. Google’s partners already have a copy of the list, Bloomberg said.
Wireless carriers can prove tricky obstacles for smartphone makers, however, often delaying patches that have already been tested and deployed in other markets. It’s a particularly big problem in the United States, where updates can roll out many months or even a year after they were prepared. Google hopes individual apps will help speed up that process, but ultimately it’s going to come down to carrier testing and whether or not the carriers want to help Google speed up the process.