Sony are one of those Android manufacturers that sit in the background, but for the most part they lead by example when it comes to software.
Yesterday, we reported that Sony have taken to their official developer blog to announce the availability of Android ’N’ developer preview for Z3 users to try out before its full release in the fall. Sony aren’t strangers to offering stock Android on their popular devices, with their most recent efforts being put into the Concept ROM that is officially supported by their development team.
Just in case you aren’t aware of the Concept ROM, Sony’s philosophy behind it is offering stock Android as the foundation. With some beloved Sony features such as their camera, added on top. The best thing is it gets updated every other day with fixes, features and anything highly requested in their Google+ community. The community has heavily involvement from Sony employees and moderated by many of them.
Going against the norm
If you follow Sony closely, you will also know that they released a stock Lollipop build for the Xperia Z3 back in November 2014. At the time, this news was huge for Sony fans and technology enthusiasts alike. Not least because almost all third-party Android manufacturers don’t tend to deviate too far from their ‘norm’. Which in this case is their own heavily modified skins.
Sony’s motives behind offering stock versions of Android on their flagship devices is widely unknown, but it’s safe to assume that they saw that many of their customers wanted the latest software as quick as they can get it.
Due to the usual complications with software updates, this becomes almost an impossibility with carriers and a plethora of testing that comes with it. Sony decided to go through the back channels and just build straight from AOSP, add Google Apps and let it roam free for anybody wanting to try the latest version of Android. Not only that, but Sony’s own software is a close to stock, unadulterated version of Android with next to no bloatware (unless they bow to carriers).
Why are they leading by example?
Because the fundamental issue with all Android manufacturers nowadays is the speed of major software updates. Sure, the addition of mandatory monthly security updates forces the manufacturers to update their devices more frequently. However this doesn’t actually fix the overall flaw the latest major release of Android that is provided by Google.
I skimmed over the subject slightly in the first section, but the main issue is to do with the rigorous testing process that goes into pushing a software update. It’s not just a matter of getting the code from Google, working some magic and pushing the update the next day . Development time goes into making the radios reliable, camera modules optimised and an almost endless list of things you’d expect a phone to have.
So how can manufacturers keep consumers half-happy until the full version intended for public use is released? In my opinion others should lead by Sony’s example. Give the user an option to use the latest version of Android in its purest form. Make the process fairly simple to do, and you’re in a win-win situation.
The best thing that Sony did is make it a simple process to make that choice. If you can follow instructions you it is an easy process to actually install these versions of Android to try. Sony posted a very easy to follow guide on their blog.