Sony surprised a lot of its more hardcore smartphone owners when it announced an Android Marshmallow Beta program earlier this year. Extending it as far back as the Xperia Z2 flagship, it offered interested parties the chance to load Android 6.0 onto their flagship before the formal roll-out.
Over the weekend, said roll out began, though only to select models, namely the three part numbers which corresponded to the Beta program.
Today, Sony Mobile has released a formal statement clarifying that, although Marshmallow is now officially making its way to devices, the Beta itself is not going to be ending for the time being. On the contrary, it has been extended to at least the summer, and along the way users can expect more updates and bug fixes along the way.
The official statement is as follows:
WE STILL HAVE SEVERAL BETA RELEASES FOR YOU
The Xperia Beta Program will continue until at least the middle of the year. In other words, as member of the program, you will always receive the best software available—before anyone else—with constant fixes and updates based on your feedback.
Just to be clear, the current release, 23.5.A.0.570, is not the final Beta software for members of the program. Although this version is being released now in a few markets, for members of the trade (operators), it is not the final version for you.
This new turn of events is no doubt a surprise to all given that the completion of official builds are typically the exact point when a beta product ceases development. Still, with even Microsoft offering ongoing “Beta” builds of its Windows 10 OS, that Sony is seeking to prolong theirs is not entirely unprecedented.
While nothing has been suggested, it is worth raising the possibility that the Beta program may even evolve into an opportunity to test out Android N on the devices as well. Just last week a report surfaced indicating that Google itself may be planning to expand the Android N Developer Preview to OEM partner devices.
While it may be quite a stretch to assume Sony would ever offer such an option, at this point anything might be possible given the company’s clear commitment to its customers.
Sony arguably has pleased a number of its loyal fans with this news, and possibly some customers on the fence as well. If this kind of attention to OS consistency and dedication continues, it will serve to add many plus points to the vocal Android users who want OEMs to pay more attention to the lifetime of a product’s update cycle.
What do you think? Has Sony made a good call here? Would you consider getting an Xperia in the future as a result of this announcement? Leave your comments below!