“Fragmentation”, This has been the main characteristic of Android devices’ security patches over the years. Google has had a problem of Fragmentation as far as the distribution of Android devices’ updates is concerned. Almost every month a dedicated security team at Google release a new set of patches for Android devices’. However, as OEMs say, it’s a hurdle to get these security patches to the actual phones or tablets, the process is meandering.
According to the contract obtained by The Verge, Google provides that OEMs will now be required to provide at least 4 security patches in the first 2 years of launching Android phone or tablet, starting from 31 January 2019. This will include all Android phones and tablets released after 31 January 2018. However, this contract may not affect all OEMs as Google will be mainly focusing on popular phones, termed as “security mandatory models“.
The contract also says the 4 patches will only apply to popular brands that would have been activated by at least 100 000 users.
This will mean popular brands will have to provide an update every three calendar months minimal.
This contract has since been applied to about 75% of Android phones, as of 31 July 2018. However, as from 31 January 2019, all Android Phones will have to comply with the direction. Any OEM that is going to work against the contract, then Google will not take it lightly, the search giant will not approve their phones and that will simply mean they will not be able to manufacture phones powered with the Android OS.
Google in recent years has tried it’s best to correct the problem of fragmentation by introducing things like Project Treble. The introduction of Project Treble was to curb the problem of slow distribution of Android security patches to Android phones. It came as part of Android Oreo (8.0) The introduction of Project Treble was not felt by many as its impact cannot immediately be felt by the end user, it works behind the scenes.
Early this year, May 2018, to be precise, Google revealed it would start requiring OEMs of popular brands of Android phones to provide regular Android security patches. This comes at the back of growing concern in the security of Android phones. As the importance of data and privacy continue to be a priority to many, Google has noticed that and is trying to do what it takes in order to address the issue.
These terms, according to The Verge, appeared in the latest Google’s licensing agreement for all Android phones and tablets to be distributed in Europe from early 2019. It is however not confirmed if the same terms will apply to other regions of the world, but as far as Google’s public comments indicate, the same may apply or with minor adjustments
Talking about how Android phones have been receiving updates in the past, the distribution has been pathetic especially in old phones and non-Google phones. The consumer would rarely receive updates as the device ages or when its use dwindles. If this newly contract address this issue, then, it will be a big plus to Android phones users especially when internet privacy controversy continues to unfold, like the one at Facebook recently
What do you think of Google’s move to improve the distribution of Android security patches? Will this prosper and how Android users may receive the news. We would like to hear your opinion on the topic, just hit the comment box below and share your mind.
Android phones are nowadays used to store very important data, photos, videos, which as an Android user, you may not prepared to lose. Read this article on how you can secure your Android phone.
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