Why Updates for Your Android Phone Take So Long

Many of us point to custom UI skins as one of the main reasons Android updates take so long to reach certain phones. But according a Motorola exec, that's not really the case. It's the hardware itself.

PC Mag's Sascha Segan spoke with Moto Senior Vice President Christy Wyatt, who launched a full scale explanation.

"When Google does a release of the software ... they do a version of the software for whatever phone they just shipped," she said. "The rest of the ecosystem doesn't see it until you see it. Hardware is by far the long pole in the tent, with multiple chipsets and multiple radio bands for multiple countries. It's a big machine to churn."

Motorola understands that consumers want their Android upgrades sooner, but the process is complicated, she said. First there's hardware support, then the layering in of custom software from manufacturers like Motorola, and finally, phones must be re-certified by carriers, taking more time.

Long story short, handset manufacturers struggle have to code the drivers for all the different components themselves, and because there are very few hardware limitations on Android once it's gone public, there is a ridiculous amount of variation in devices, even if made by the same company.

Another interesting little aside from the piece is that from the sounds of it, it's possible that Motorola's future webtops (the ones which use phones like the Atrix to power them), will run straight-up Android instead of some other version of Linux. That could be interesting. [PC Mag]