Predicting Google Android Updates & Upgrades

posted in: Google | 0

nexus-7I’ve been a Google user for more years than I care to count. I’ve used their online services (Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, Docs, etc.) for a very long time. When Google got into the mobile business with Android, I was one of its first adopters. Since its inception, my wife and I have owned ten Android devices, starting with the humble T-Mobile “MyTouch 3G,” and then the Samsung Galaxy S1, followed-by the Galaxy S3, and most recently, the Galaxy S5. And we have a couple of matching tablets — Nexus 7 2013 WiFi. Every single time, we’ve bought exactly the same device, at exactly the same moment, from exactly the same retailer. We even use them with back-to-back Google (Gmail) accounts we created together years ago. I guess my wife trusts me 🙂 But, I digress.

What About the OTA Updates to Android on Nexus Devices?

Google has adopted “rolling updates” for apps, and “rolling upgrades” for Android, and honestly, it appears to be a completely random “lottery,” with no way of predicting when your number will come-up.

Of course, there are ways to speed things up a bit… You can download images for new Android releases, or grab the APKs for new apps you’d like.

But, if you’re waiting for “official,” here’s what we know (from our somewhat “controlled” experiment):

  • It has nothing to do with geography. We’re (almost literally) in Google’s backyard in California. More times than not, we read about people getting updates in Estonia, or Saipan before we see them, and one of us almost always gets any update/upgrade days before the other, while people in East Africa post screenshots of the update while the other one waits. It has nothing to do with where you live.
  • It has nothing to do with device serial numbers. Our Nexus 7s have sequential serial numbers, yet sometimes, I get an update days before she does, and other times, it’s the opposite, always with someone in the UK getting it in-between.
  • It’s not alphabetical. My account is just as likely to be the first to get an update/upgrade as hers, and it’s just as likely those will be separated by days, or even weeks.

Case-in-point, I got the Android L upgrade on my Nexus 7 one day, a week later, some kid in the Philippines got his, and two weeks later, my wife got hers, sitting not more than two feet from me, on the same WiFi, with a sequentially adjacent (S/N) device.

It’s just a crap shoot… Google is (over?) relying on data nobody else understands, or can interpret.

Best advice…. Just sit tight, and wait.