In an announcement that has both good and bad news in it, Google has declared that Android devices will receive the latest upgrades for 18 months after they are released. It has set up a team to suggest detailed time-frames for device updates.
The announcement gives some clarity on the upgrade path of devices, but it also means that some devices, which were released by handset manufacturers just about a year ago but have been purchased now, will get updates only for the next six months.
However, this time frame is temporary as Google is working with a team of industry leaders, including many from the Open Handset Alliance, to adopt guidelines to determine how quickly devices can be updated after a new platform release, and also how long they will continue to be updated.
The founding partners of the team are Verizon, HTC, Samsung, Sprint, Sony Ericsson, LG, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Motorola and AT&T. Google has welcomed others who might want to join the team.
Even the existing timeframe is not all that short as most handset makers regularly update their handsets with the latest Android and announce it as a new version, qualifying it to receive updates for longer.
For example, LG Optimus One is already based on version 2.2 of Android so you will not be deprived of much on the upgrades front.
This move by Google, to form a clear-cut time line for upgrades, is welcome as it will relieve users of anxiety about upgrades.
We just hope that it doesn’t take the team set up by Google much time to come up with guidelines.