Not updating phones after consumers have bought them is not just a hot issue for the Consumers’ Association: Google also has enough of it. The maker of Android announced this week sideways during the I / O conference that the company is busy making security updates part of the agreements that Google enters with phone makers such as Samsung, Xiaomi, LG and OnePlus. Android security chief Dave Kleidermacher told this during a presentation at the conference.
Making security updates for phone makers mandatory should ensure that many more phones still receive updates after the release. Google was already working to make updating easier and faster for third-party developers at phone makers with Project Treble that started last year. There are already monthly security updates available for manufacturers, but there are still far from enough that also make use of that offer.
We already knew that, but the fact that Google now makes it mandatory already says a little about how necessary the phone-makers find it all to keep devices where they do not have the first prize to have caught. The top phones usually get updates, but older and especially cheaper models are often badly off.
However, it is not all bad news, because the need for better Android updates has already gone down with some phone manufacturers. For example LG recently announced that they have set up an entire division, purely to keep their devices up-to-date. That is separate from the security updates, but also has to do with the latest versions of Android that the devices could get. Google does not want to make that step with the new agreements (yet), but the mandatory security updates are in any case a start. It is not known how long the obligation will take, but since Google guarantees at least three years with their own phones, it would be crazy if they did not ask other manufacturers.