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Why Google pushing OEMs to release regular security updates is best for you.
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Why Google pushing OEMs to release regular security updates is best for you.

by Samuel OnyikeOctober 25, 2018

Andriod phones are powered by an open source Android OS owned by Google.

Open source, meaning OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) can use Andriod OS in devices anyway fit. The free nature of Android OS allows OEMs to make customisation which makes an application standout in the Android market space, giving rise to Android Fragmentation.

Meanwhile, a different story is being told in the closed source iOS device space.

Andriod Fragmentation is refered to the reducded interoperability across devices of application. The major cause of Android Fragmentation is due to number of Android OS versions.
Google introduced project treble in Android 8.0, to tackle this rising calamity.

Normally, Google releases security patches monthly for the Andriod OS. But, it’s a herculean task for OEMs to incorporate these updates into their varying devices. Thanks to Android One, devices running Android One give lesser hassle.

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OEMs are now expected to seal a written deal with Google to frequently release Security patches to devices according to a contract document received by The Verge. It requires Andriod OEMs to push updates to popular phones.

It states that OEMs are mandated to roll out regularly updates for two years to popular device manufactured from 31st January 2018. According to Google, it classifies a popular device as a device that 100,000 and above users have activated.

In addition, from 31st January, 2019, devices labelled as “security mandatory device” must receive frequent updates within 90 days interval.

Clearly, Google doesn’t make it compulsory for OEMs to release Andriod updates to devices, instead security patches.

The Consequences

If an OEM doesn’t comply with Google’s terms, “Google says it could withhold approval of future phones, which could prevent them from being released”, according to The Verge.

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There’re still chances that the new contract won’t reduce Android Fragmentation in the nearest future. But in years to come, there’s a possibility of a kind of sync across varying devices. Security patches are highly important because they cover up loop holes which Google itself spots. Leaving out device in the market without paying attention to the possible room for attack is a bad habit.

In Nigeria, Android phones which I’ve come across receive security patches. The challenge is the cost of data to download the patch. It gets more serious when multiple updates which come at different times are ignored. It increases the internet data size required. Most users therefore do not mind the security updates.

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About The Author
Samuel Onyike
Epigrammatic tech-savvy writer. He loves to write on the ever changing technology topics and sees the human mind as the first virtual reality. Samuel doesn't need a manual to use a device even for the first time. He'll beat you in football games.

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