Updating phone software

Professional-grade web hosting service providers continually upgrade their hosting infrastructure, and an outdated CMS or website code may not operate properly with the patches implemented by the host.As such, maintaining the health of your website code is crucial, and one easy step is updating your underlying CMS as soon as updates are made available.This is especially important when there is a new release available for software you use, because most change logs and update notes reveal previously-known exploits that have already been patched.

Yet over the past year we’ve seen new endeavors by Google and some leading Android manufacturers to tackle this seemingly impossible problem.

There have been efforts on multiple fronts: Firstly, the introduction of new features and APIs through Google Play Services, and the spinning of major Google apps out into the Play Store, allowing them to be updated independently from the OS.

Whereas Apple rolls out i OS updates instantaneously across much of its product line — the platform absolutely was designed with that in mind — Google’s lack of direct control over the firmware running on most of the world's billion or so Android devices means it’s impossible for it to do the same.

In an article published in late 2012 we discussed exactly why this is the case.

First pushed out in September 2012 with an update to the Play Store app, Google Play Services lets developers interact with Google’s services and your device through a set of APIs that live outside of the OS layer.

The genius of this is that Google can update Play Services in the background, without a firmware update, and in most cases without users even knowing it.Google has put future Android code into the hands of OEMs earlier than before, through the “Google Play edition” program.There’s also evidence that manufacturers are seeing the competitive value in being first (or at least quick) with new OS versions.And as we move from Jelly Bean into the Kit Kat era, it’s enough to give us some hope for the future of Android updates. Conventional wisdom states that if you want to get new APIs (application programming interfaces), features and security improvements pushed out onto a mobile device you need to prepare an OS update, with all the waiting and hoop-jumping associated with that.Yet for the past year Google has been bypassing that whole process through Google Play Services, a development platform that sits on top of Android on version 2.2 (Froyo) and above.And OEMs, particularly HTC and Motorola, are getting better at communicating details of these updates to end-users.