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Google’s JB Queru calls out carriers for slowing down update rollouts

April 28, 2012
Verizon Samsung Galaxy Nexus

To tackle the problem of the sluggish Android rollouts that cause so much grief to users from around the world, Google came with the idea of “Google Experience” devices – the Nexus series. But like most things, theory doesn’t always translate well into real life.  The release of Ice Cream Sandwich put the spotlight on Google’s inability to bring the latest version of Android to its own flagship tablets and phones in a timely manner. But does the blame lie solely on Google?

Understanding the frustration felt by some owners of pure Google devices, (including the Nexus S, Motorola Xoom, or the Galaxy Nexus), Google’s Jean-Baptiste Queru took to Google Plus to explain the situation.

“Writing the software doesn’t mean that Google can deploy it immediately, there are operator approvals for devices that are sold and/or supported by operators. Look at the US WiFi Xoom: obviously no operator approval, upgraded to 4.0.3 back in December (the first version of ICS that ran on anything other than Galaxy Nexus) and now running 4.0.4.”

In other words, Queru (the head of the AOSP program) laments the fact that it takes so long for carriers to approve new versions of Android OS, which ultimately delays the rollout of the upgrade.

If you pointed fingers at Google for its apparent inability to quickly update its own devices, you should know that the reality is a bit more complicated than that. This was made clear by another of Queru’s statement:

“The part that blows my mind is that some variants of the Google-engineered flagship devices still haven’t received Ice Cream Sandwich (or are stuck with older versions of Ice Cream Sandwich) because of delays introduced by operator approvals.”

Queru’s explanation shatters any illusion that Google has real full control over the “Google Experience” devices they sell through carriers. This lack of control is one of the motives behind Google’s decision to open its hardware selling channel once more. Since last Tuesday, customers can buy phones (and in the future, tablets) directly from the Play Store. It’s something that Queru can get on board with as well, since he stated that

“I’m very glad that Google is back in the business of selling phones directly without any middlemen to interfere, and I’ll be even happier when I see that program expanded to more countries.”

We’re not sure that this will be a wake-up call for carriers, pushing them to speed up rollouts. Ok, we know that it’s like talking to walls. But at least now you know who’s to blame.