Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 18th Jan 2014 20:00 UTC

To be sure, it's no magic solution to the gargantuan task of moving the entire Android ecosystem forward. And the update situation for non-flagship devices remains something of a crapshoot. But it's a start, and a big step in the right direction. And as we move from Jelly Bean into the KitKat era, it's enough to give us some hope for the future of Android updates.

Read on to find out why.

Still Android's biggest weakness. Baby steps are made, but a solution there is not.

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Android is pretty modular, the problem is called diferentiation.

OEMs want to make their offering feel distinct, as they have been doing since the dawn of computing.

Carriers prefer to offer you a new handset against a contract renewal than free OS updates.

Any other OS will suffer from the same issues. Carriers won't let anyone else play an Apple move on them.

I disagree..

Simply put, the idea that carrier/OEM differentiation prevents updating ignores that Google states the terms of what can and cannot be done in the terms of an Android license with Play services. They would only have to state that certain libraries/modules would have to remain untouchable (just like Play applications). It's entirely possible to have a skinnable UI, custom applications/launchers, custom backgrounded services, unique windowing display system, and device specific kernel modules/drivers and STILL allow the core OS to be updated modularly directly from Google.

In short, there's no good reason why an Android device cannot be significantly differentiated (in all of the ways that matter: look, feel, function), and still get fast updates. It simply comes down to the design of the system.

The problem of carrier differentiation is, in the larger scheme, a trivial problem.

And planned obsolescence is still entirely possible, with a timed support window (eg. 2 years) at which time a device will no longer be eligible for updates.

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