Android 14 Will Change Updates Forever – Here’s Why…



Usually, the latest build of Android takes centre stage during Google’s I/O keynote. But this year it was barely mentioned. So what gives?


KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • New Approach to Android Updates: Google’s Android 14 will introduce a significant shift in how Android devices receive updates. This change was a central point of discussion at Google I/O 2023.
  • App-by-App Updates: All Android phones will start receiving updates directly from Google on an app-by-app basis, regardless of the version they’re running. This applies to all of Google’s applications, including Google Photos, Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, and Chrome.
  • Continuous Updates: While some features will launch with Android 14, many will arrive through continuous updates, meaning users won’t have to wait for a new Android version to access the latest features.
  • Addressing Fragmentation: The current state of Android fragmentation is concerning, with only 12% of Android phones running the latest build (Android 13), compared to 72% of iPhone users running iOS 16. This new update strategy is aimed at addressing this issue.
  • Bypassing Hardware Partners: Google is now taking measures out of its hardware partners’ hands, presumably to improve update rollout times and ensure all users have access to the latest features and security patches.
  • Extended Phone Lifespan: This change comes in response to consumers holding onto their phones for longer due to their increasing power and cost.

Android 14, the next big instalment to Google’s globe-dominating mobile OS, is due to get a release later this year. Google has already dropped some beta builds of Android 14 but the new update, unlike previous builds, didn’t get much attention at Google I/O 2023.

And it wasn’t just because of Google’s new focus on AI in search either. No, the reason, according to The Verge, is actually far more nuanced than that and revolves around Google’s new approach to updating “aspects” of Android systematically throughout the year.

Google is “Rethinking” Updates With Android 14

With the big picture here being that ALL Android phones will start getting updates direct from Google on an app-by-app basis. For instance, a big update to Google Photos can be pushed out by Google to ALL Android phones regardless of the version they’re running via the Play Store.

Ditto apps like Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Chrome, and all of Google’s other applications and tools.

This year, we thought it’s important to show people what’s new in Android from a user experience standpoint, regardless of the OS version. While some features that we announced will launch with Android 14, many will arrive in people’s hands through these continuous updates.

Sameer Samat, VP of Android ecosystem

And this is great news too because, whether you’re a fan of Android or not, the current state of phones actually running the current latest build (Android 13) is shockingly bad (just 12% of Android phones run it) when compared to Apple’s iPhone, where 72% of ALL users are running iOS 16.

The fact that Google is now taking measures out of its hardware partners’ hands is very telling. This is partly down to the fact that more and more consumers are holding onto their phones for longer and longer, a trend created by phones now being both exceptionally powerful and very expensive.

No one likes spending $1000 on a new phone every 12 months.

Frankly, I don’t know why Google didn’t implement something like this sooner – it makes total sense. And with phones like the OnePlus 11 getting five years’ worth of updates, this move could go a long ways to solving Google’s fragmentation issue.

You Won’t Need Android 14 To Access Android’s Latest Features

Prior to Android 14, all the big changes to any build of Android are done when a new version drops. Google and its hardware partners push out patches and security updates, but all the big stuff is usually reserved for official new builds.

With Android 14, Google will do something completely different and this is great news for Android users across the board.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.
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