Google has quietly updated its Android update policy for both Nexus and Google Play edition devices. In short, if you bought either type of smartphone or tablet from a carrier, you may have to wait more than two weeks to get the latest version.
For context, Nexus devices receive the latest Android release directly from Google. Google Play edition devices are managed by the device manufacturers, but Google still works closely with them to provide system updates in a timely manner. One of the biggest selling points of buying either type of device is that Android updates take only “up to two weeks” to reach your device.
Well, that was the pitch when Nexus and Google Play edition were first announced, but carriers are once again getting in the way of updates. Google has tweaked the “Android updates: Nexus & Google Play edition devices” support page, as first spotted by Android Police:
For the sake of comparison, here is the original:
In case you missed it, the sentence “Based on your carrier, it may take longer than two weeks after release to get an update” has been added to both sections. Sadly, carriers still have way too much power.
It’s worth emphasizing that this won’t stop you from downloading a given Android update directly from Google or your device’s manufacturer and installing it on your device yourself. This is mainly for over-the-air updates, which carriers can choose to delay on their own networks.
So, what’s the lesson here? Buy your Nexus or Google Play edition device from Google Play, not from a carrier. You may have to pay extra for shipping, but it’s worth it as you’re guaranteed not only an unlocked device, but one that gets Android software updates in two weeks or less.
We have contacted Google for more information and will update this article if we hear back.