Google is tired of hearing about Android fragmentation and is finally starting to enforce a policy intended to ensure that new customers will get the latest operating system available, or at least the one below it.
The documents were released by Android Police, who received them from an anonymous tipster. While the documents themselves aren’t verified, Android Police says they have double checked with their sources and the policy alleged in the document, or something close to it, is correct.
The documents state that any new device trying to gain Google GSM certification, which is required for access to Google services like GPlay, must have a relatively new version of Android running on the device.
Under the new policy, phones submitted for the GSM certification will have to ship with a version of Android no more than nine months old at the time the device is submitted to Google. Google has also retroactively instituted restrictions on OSes. Since the start of this month, all devices sent to Google for certification have to run on Android 4.2 or above. Starting April 24th that will jump up to 4.3 and July 31st every new phone submitted will have to be running Android 4.4 (or higher if a new version comes out).
While the new policy won’t affect phones already released, and it won’t force OEMs to update their phones as Android updates, this should still go a long way to minimizing the OS fracturing that currently plagues Android.
Of course, this won’t affect phones and tablets from companies, like many Chinese manufacturers, that don’t submit their products to Google at all.
Thanks to “Simon” for the tip.