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Google has significantly changed how it rolls out updates. Thanks to a Google Play Services update, the “check for update” button on Android will now yield the latest software available, whether or not the user is on a rollout group.
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Android users know this all too well: repeatedly tapping “check for update” will eventually yield a software update to arrive. Just keep at it and it will come. Except usually, nothing ever comes, causing that button to become pretty much useless.
That’s changing now. According to Google software engineer Elliott Hughes, as long as users have the latest version of Google Play Services installed, tapping the check for update button will finally reveal an update, suppose there is one.
‘Check For Update’ Now Works As Intended
Hughes confirmed the change via Google+, posted Sept 23:
“If you’re running a current Google Play Services, you shouldn’t need to sideload an OTA or flash a system image just because you’re impatient,” he wrote. In other words, it doesn’t matter if a certain user is part of Google’s current rollout group or not — they will still get the update if they keep hammering away the check for update button.
Does This Mean Every Android Phone Will Get Updated Immediately?
Don’t get excited yet.
There might be certain caveats. First, as mentioned above, users still need to have the latest Google Play Services update installed, and this could be parsed into stages, meaning not everyone will get it simultaneously.
Second, it’s highly likely that this change will only benefit Pixel and Nexus devices, or anything directly from Google, really, such as Android One handsets. This is probably because OEMs such as Huawei, Samsung, and many others each have their custom Android skins, meaning they mostly handle updates themselves. Google’s devices, meanwhile, run pure and stock Android, which makes the updating process easier.
Digital Trends has already tested the new check for update button on the Google Nexus Player and can confirm that an update for Android 8.0 Oreo did appear. But again, they used a Google Nexus Player to test if the button is indeed working. It’s likely that non-Google devices will yield different results.
Those who have Pixel or Nexus handsets should treat this as good news, since it only means that they’ll get updates much faster than before, instead of biting their nails as they wait for the rollout to reach them.
What about other devices, though? When will other companies start expediting the update process and ensure everyone gets it immediately? Well, that is still largely a problem with Android’s inherently fragmented update ecosystem. Since Android is open-source, manufacturers are allowed to use the operating system as they please, meaning they’re the ones responsible for offering updates as they see fit. Until that’s solved, Android fragmentation will persist.
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