Ever since Android’s launch nine years ago, Google has been locked in a battle of wills with mobile-manufacturers over software updates.
Now, it looks as if the tech giant is going to raise the stakes by naming and shaming the handset brands that take too long to offer the latest version of Android to users.
A source speaking with business site Bloomberg says that Google has a list of the worst offenders, which it shared privately with its partners earlier this year.
However things are set to ramp up a notch soon, with the search giant planning to release the list to the public.
Manufacturers’ failure to launch the latest Android software has caused Google serious headaches for years.
Devices that don’t have the newest version of its mobile phone operating system are more susceptible to security breaches, as seen with last year’s Stagefright bug, which had the potential to affect more than a billion smartphone globally.
The problem, known as fragmentation, has seen Google struggle to convince even big- name partners such as Samsung and LG to adopt the newest version of Android when it launches.
The current version, Android Marshmallow, is only used on 7.5% of all Android phones despite launching last autumn. By comparison, Apple’s iOS 9 is installed on 84% of compatible iPhones.
Because mobile-makers struggle to make money from Android, they are unlikely to be phased by this latest development. We predict they'll simply continue to launch new phones with the new software, rather than updating old ones.
Google is looking to get around this issue by launching apps which work with older editions of Android, such as its new Allo messaging service.