Google Could Force Device Makers To Ship KitKat With New Releases [Rumor]


Isn’t it frustrating when Android device manufacturers ship new releases with older versions of Google’s operating system? Well the search giant may be about to put an end to it. According to a leaked Google memo, it could soon start forcing manufacturers to ship new devices with the latest KitKat firmware.

“According to one online source, Google would like smartphone makers like Samsung, HTC, LG, ZTE, Motorola and others to abide by a simple rule; if you develop a smartphone that has access to the Google Services Framework and Google Play Store, it must be running the most recent version of Android,” reports MobileBloom, without actually naming that “online source.”

It certainly seems like a plausible move. Google receives lots of criticism for its “fragmented” Android operating system, and for not doing more to force manufacturers to update their devices. Even the most successful device makers will make customers wait months for the latest Android updates — and many will ship new smartphones and tablets with older versions of the platform pre-installed.

Google’s new policy could vastly improve this situation, and help its latest Android updates roll out faster on third-party devices. Three months after the company released KitKat, less than 2% of devices were running it — while almost 61% of devices are still running Jelly Bean.

Of course, in some cases the latest version of Android isn’t always best. Older and entry-level devices may be better off with previous versions of the software that require less processing power and RAM, and therefore deliver a better experience. But there’s no reason why manufacturers — particularly those as big as Samsung and LG — can’t do more to ensure their latest offerings ship with the latest software.

MobileBloom claims Google’s memo was sent to “at least one major Android OEM partner from the Android Team.” Until it’s confirmed, however, it’s best to take it with a pinch of salt.