Blog Post

This is how Android phones get updated (infographic)

Ever wonder why it seems to take most phones forever to receive a new version of Android(s goog)? It turns out the update process is a lot more complicated than you’d imagine. HTC has created a fantastic infographic, detailing the anatomy of an Android update, tracing the steps from a pre-announcement PDK all the way to your phone.

According to HTC, there are no fewer than 12 steps necessary to bring an Android update to a carrier-based device. And though it isn’t mentioned in the graphic, a number of those steps involve waiting for approval from the carrier, which makes a lengthy process even longer. You can get your software faster with a Google Play edition device, or an unlocked or developer phone, but even those updates require seven or eight steps respectively.

Seeing this doesn’t take any of the frustration of waiting months for an update, but it does help to put things into perspective. And kudos to HTC for being relatively transparent about the update process, at least as far as its HTC One Series of phones are concerned. The OEM shows which phone are currently running Android 4.4 KitKat, and where other phones are in the update process. It won’t make those updates come any faster, but at least you’ll know you’re not waiting in vain.


7 Responses to “This is how Android phones get updated (infographic)”

      • Mike Davis

        Not forgetting at all. With Apple beta is beta, no quotes required. The software is not available to the public but if you have a developer account and want to follow along as all the bugs are ironed out of new software I suppose you can. As far as the process of an iOS release is concerned – Apple develops, tests, and certifies an update, then it gets released to all compatible iOS devices. All. At. Once.

        What doesn’t happen is this:
        – New version of iOS is announced and “released”
        – Various carriers take their sweet time certifying the new version for various iOS devices and load in all their special add-ons.
        – Devices receive the update whenever it is ready for them… some faster some slower… and some maybe not at all… Meanwhile users get tired of hearing about a new release that they can’t have and decide to forget the whole thing.

        From a development perspective the first scenario is far better as it leads to a more stable platform… updates happen all at once, and you can plan around them with much more certainty.