No wonder it takes so long to get Android released

Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) is ready! No, not really.

Google is done with Ice Cream Sandwich, but the process of getting it to customers is far from over. Having Google release the source code is just the first step in the process — now the real work for handset makers begins.

Motorola and Sony have outlined the process still left before it hits customer’s phones. As Motorola says, “Once source code is released from Google, it doesn’t automatically update to your device.”

So what are these steps?

  1. Merge and adapt the new release for different device hardware architecture(s) and carrier customizations.
  2. Stabilize and ‘bake’ the result to drive out bugs.
  3. Submit the upgrade to the carriers for certification.
  4. Perform a Customer pre-release.
  5. Release the upgrade

Interesting, I don’t see anything about protecting phones from the massive amount of malware on the Android Market. Maybe that comes later.

Can you imagine if Apple did something like this? People would lose their minds.

  • They forgot to mention: add carrier crapware

    • What exactly “carrier crapware” is? (I’m a Japanese/European GSM user and I buy my handsets at full retail without carrier branding or locking.)

      • belton braces

        The complaints seem to bee commonplace on Android forums, so try:

      • I believe @twitter-106788150:disqus is referring to the “Carrier IQ” software with this particular comment. But in general Android phones distributed through cell phone carriers are loaded with bloatware. You might remember—or not—the time when mobile phones came with carrier branding and disabled features. It’s this, only the 21st century version.

  • I thought THE major benefit of Android was “openness”?  Why does it take this long and this many steps to get the update if Android is so open?

    • Neel Deshpande

      because open software doesn’t install itself on all available phones. It needs to be tested for performance on each device

    • Steven Fisher

      Because “open” in this context mostly means that the device makers and carriers get a chance to urinate in the pool. That urination takes time, but it improves everyone’s swimming experience!

    • Because they’re talking about Motoblur.

      Take a look at free AOSP-based firmware like Cyanogenmod; CM9 (based on ICS) might get to beta stage for most of the devices in a month or so because, duh, they need to perform refactoring on a whole lot of code (4.0 added a lot of enhancements that already were present in CM7, plus there were lots of code optimisations which make direct patching impossible), and then test it on different hardware.

      It’s the same with most commercial “skins” like Motorola’s Motoblur, Samsung’s TouchWiz, and HTC Sense. On the other hand, porting the Android Open Source Platform itself takes a whole lot less time, since you only need to iron out hardware-specific issues.

  • Haggersnash

    “Can you imagine if Apple did something like this? People would lose their minds.”

    You know full well that many people have already lost their minds regarding Apple over something imaginary.

    • iCow

      Sir, your comment made my day.

    • Jacob

      ha ha spot on my friend. 

  • Reason I got a Mac: Hardware and software from one vendor, who understands and cares about its products.

    Reason I love my iOS devices: See above.

  • Anonymous

    There is no fragmentation in the Android market

    Even Windows doesn’t have this problem that bad. Sometimes there is a wait for updated drivers but not just to install the whole OS.