Friday, 27 April 2012

Five months for updating to ICS: 'very reasonable,' says Android lead developer

Five months for updating to ICS: 'very reasonable,' says Android lead developer
You might have not heard about Jean-Baptiste Queru earlier, but he’s the technical lead of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and when he talks about Android updates, you’d better listen. One of the interesting things he had to share is his praise for how quickly Sony was able to update its Tablet S to Ice Cream Sandwich.

Now, the most controversial quote to take out is that five months for updating to ICS is a “very reasonable” time frame given the fundamental novelties introduced to the platform with 4.0. Queru gives some much needed context for that, clarifying that it’s not just the phone maker, but it’s also about getting carrier approval, a process that can take quite a while.

To prove its point, the engineer stressed that devices under Google’s direct control got Android 4.0 almost in a flash. The US Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi version for once took only two months to get the update. It’s getting more complicated with carriers involved and the carrier-branded Nexus S was brought up as an example.

“It took Sony only about 5 months to ship this [Android 4.0 for the Sony Tablet S] after I released the code in the Android Open Source Project at the very end of last year. This is actually a very reasonable time, since under the hood Ice Cream Sandwich is quite different from Honeycomb (and upgrades from Gingerbread are likely to take longer as those differences are huge).

Since Sony has been contributing a lot to the Android Open Source Project, they have fewer changes that they need to maintain on their own: those changes of theirs are already there when the source code is first released. That's probably one of the reasons why they could get done faster: the work they did preparing those contributions gave them a head start. I don't think that any other manufacturer has been contributing nearly as much as Sony did, so everyone else is now going to have to play catch-up.”

Sony also deserves credit for promising  to bring its 2011 Xperia family to ICS within a reasonable amount of time. The company is also one of the few that contribute back to AOSP. 

As for Google itself, the company has taken a step towards ensuring that devices where it has direct input like the Galaxy Nexus are sold directly on Google Play. That will definitely help, and also will the sliced price of the last Nexus phone that costs a mere $399 off contract on the Play store. Hit the source link below to follow the discussion and you can also jump in with your question if you feel like you need more clarity.