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This is an incredibly annoying thing about Android



Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Everything to love about Android, there is still a deeply annoying problem. One that can be so annoying it can make you swear OS entirely. It takes forever that Google's OS updates settle on products produced by companies such as Samsung, OnePlus and Huawei. So while Samsung S9 and OnePlus 5 owners can now enjoy Android 9 Pie by the end of the year (depending on where they live), other Android users, including owners of old Samsung devices, will be waiting for well into next year. And it's really stupid!

Android 9 Pie has been slow to roll out so far. When Google released the latest numbers of the Android version's adoption back in October, Pie was left out despite being out for nearly two months. Which means that Pie was omitted or that it had a lousy adoption rate of 0.1 percent (least required for Google to include a version on the chart).

So it's not surprising that it has taken Samsung so long. As many in America settled to enjoy a few days of work this week, Samsung began rolling out the update from Android 8 Oreo to Android 9 Pie to a selection of Samsung Galaxy S9 phones. So far, the update only updates in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands and Turkey. Tech Radar notes that the rest of the S9 family will have the update next month, but it remains five months after Pie first became available in August 2018. Note 9 owners must wait until February 2019, while Note 8 and S8 owners will have to wait until March 2019 early.

That's right, the older the handset, the longer the waiting time. Android 9 Pie, known as Android P before its launch, is not exactly the biggest update to the operating system, but it includes cool features like a Digital Wellbeing app that helps you manage how much you stare at the phone, as well as more refined control of countless messages. These are great features that anyone with a Pixel can already enjoy and has been able to since Google released the update in August.

The gigantic gap between Android Pies release and expected global availability for the Samsung S9, which launched back in March, feels scary disgusting at this point. But this has also been the curse of Android from get-go. Vanilla's operating system may have been available in August, but Samsung runs a custom skin over it, and it takes time to update and test the customized version of the operating system. There is no clear and easy way to speed up that timeline, except that Samsung is vanilla or hires more software engineers.

Samsung is not the only manufacturer that has plagued this problem. Nvidia has suffered its own updating problems this year. The 4K set-top box, Shield, was finally updated to Android 8 Oreo back in June, months late and almost a year after Google released Oreo. Meanwhile, OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T get the cake at the end of this month (5 launched June 2017, 5T launched November 2017). Their successor, OnePlus 6, got Pie a few months ago.

It is difficult to produce these updates, but one cannot deny that these companies also look like absolute clown compared to Google or Apple. Google goes with a vanilla version of Android that can be updated very quickly after a new release because nothing really needs to be tweaked, while Apple's closed ecosystem enables building the operating system to work perfectly with a handful of devices designed in-house. Thus, Google and Apple can quickly roll out updates.

Sure, companies like Samsung tweak and modify Android to add their own innovative features, but dang, it's annoying that it comes at the expense of being six months to a year behind Pixel devices on the core OS.


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