A few summers ago, I went to a party hosted by my mom’s best friend. It was a busy, casual dose where people show up at various places in the afternoon to drink some coffee, say hi and leave.
The age between the toddler and the octogenarian is different. So they like any party, the kids were running around when parents were talking about their children. And when it was 2017, a year after Pokémon Go debuted, most kids were bugging their parents for their phones – the host’s house was close to a gym, and they wanted to band together to take it.
One of the kids was new to the game, so his dad, who used an old Android phone – some mid-range LG that looked like 2011 or 2012 – hadn’t downloaded it yet. Being a tech expert in the room, he asked me for help, and after waiting too long for the Play Store to load, I quickly decided that his phone simply wouldn’t play the game. He was running a phone with Android 2.3 Gingerbread (which was impressive on its own). I had a confused, sad baby and a father who was facing the possibility of dealing with that situation for the rest of the afternoon.
I recalled this sad story after reading on Nintick’s tweet “Encouraging operating systems to update Android 5 or higher for progress and Pokémon GO Endless.” The company is cutting the ultra’s cutting edge, according to the latest Android distribution numbers released in early May – popular games for about 7% of the Android user base. It may not seem like a large part of the population, but with over 2.5 billion, it is quite significant.
People who regularly read this site know that Nintendo states that “updating operating systems in Android 5” is not so easy. The obvious response is that Android 5, called Lollipop, was released in 2014 and has long been supported by Marshmallow, Nougat, Oreo, Pie. Whatever the weird treat Q has been named delicious. If the phone you are using has not received an update for Android 4.4 KitKat by June 2019, it will never go away. No “probability” is needed.
On the other hand, like a frustrated father who just wanted to let his kid play Pokémon Go. So why didn’t he understand that his phone, which “still worked perfectly for me” as he told me, could open the game? No, Android versions and minimum system requirements are still a widespread problem.
Google has spent the past few years trying to overcome this issue by backporting Android libraries. So developers do not have to cut back on the required features. It is so encouraging phone manufacturers to provide at least one, if not all, platform updates throughout the device’s life cycle by exploring solutions like Treble. While most Android phones, Google’s Pixel lineup, are still place in comparison to the iPhone’s software. The iPhone 5 received six-year platform updates – the iPhone 5s, released in 2013, received five years of iOS updates before it was released. With iOS 13 – Two to three years of support.
One of the critical ads that Google made at I / O this May was Project Mainline. A development of Treble that brings the system updates necessary to the Play Store ecosystem by completely bypassing the carrier/manufacturer cycle. And while Treble is already making a meaningful impact on platform updates, Mainline automates a process that, for many, is still clumsy and manual.
Like everything else to do with Android updates, the process is never easy, nor clean. But, about our tweet and the impact, it has on Android users around the world. It would be fun to know that most of them, reading it, would know if their phone was updated on Lollipop and what Lollipop does. And why, by purchasing a phone they did, they will never see another update again.
Nintendo should know better; It should, as a company, understand that Android updates don’t just grow on trees. But it can also be forgiven for not fully assuming the deeprooted inaction of the Android update. And how by issuing that innocent suggestion