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Android 5: If you make it, they won’t push the update

Android 4 was released in October 2011. Three months later we have just few devices running it. Today Android 5 is rumored to be launching in Q2 2012. We all know how this will end up: wireless carriers and device manufacturers will be late or will simply refuse to push the software update to existing hardware. It seems they do not care about sold inventory, but sure enough they will offer you new devices with the new Android OS.

The first problem is your Android device is destined to become an unsupported brick 6 months after you buy it, and to be fair I have to say that a lot of people are actually fine with that.

The second problem, the bigger problem is that software developers cannot keep up with this mess of hardware vendor customization, carrier customization, multiple versions, and just about everybody doing what they want and when the want it with Android. Android used to be a decent and promising iOS alternative. Recently it has become the nightmare of mobile development.

… but …

There is a light in the tunnel. Google is buying Motorola. Hopefully they are doing it, so they can make better hardware + software integrated devices, just like Apple does. However, it will take time to swallow Motorola, so in the meantime Google should take a page from Microsoft’s book and implement a more controlled Android licensing. Google should start demanding minimum hardware specs and swift software updates from device manufacturers and wireless carriers. That is what Microsoft has done with Windows Phone 7 and is doing with Windows 8.