As any Android user will tell you, getting timely updates with whatever device you own is a pretty big deal. Ever since the inception of Android, there have been problems with manufacturers pushing the latest software version to their devices. Even now, many of the large Android manufacturers don’t get updates out to their devices in a timely manner, or even don’t get them updated at all. In the past, Google has tried a couple of things to solve this problem (and I’ve yelled at manufacturers about it), but so far nothing has worked quite right. However, at this year’s Google I/O, G0ogle detailed their new Platform Development Kit, or PDK, which could finally be a working solution for the problem of delayed Android updates.
What is the PDK, exactly? Well, no one really knows much about it, other than the fact that it is made specifically to aid manufacturers in porting the latest version of Android to their hardware. According to Google, beginning with Jelly Bean it will be made available to manufacturers two to three months before the new Android version is released. Ideally, this would allow manufacturers and component makers to port the new version of Android to their hardware before the announcement, and even work out the pesky software and UI customizations that are often blamed for delayed updates.
Of course, fixing Android updates may not be quite this easy, as I’m sure many of you remember the failed “Android Update Alliance,” promising long-term updates that seem to have dissolved. However, this new PDK strategy seems like one of the best ideas for fixing Android updates yet, and is one step closer to releasing the Android source code during its development as I suggested back when Google bought Motorola. There’s no guarantee that it will work, but the Android Platform Development Kit seems like a great move, and I know I’m hoping it will work out to the benefit of both Google and consumers.[Google I/O keynote]