HTC Updates

Android updates are a series of tubes ...

Android version updates are a pretty big deal for a lot of end-users. Enough that a few have climbed aboard the Nexus train to keep things timely, even though they enjoy the features an OEM might add to Android. We aren't going to question — we like Android updates, too.

What we like even more is transparency from the people who are delivering these updates. That's why we're really digging HTC's new infographic detailing the process from their end. It confirms a lot of what we assumed was going on, without passing the buck along to anyone else when things don't work the way we want them to work. The image itself is after the break — and it's really worth a good long look — but here is the process in a nutshell:

  • Google delivers the PDK (Platform Development Kit) before they announce the update for HTC to evaluate
  • After announcement, Google delivers source code to HTC and the folks making the chipset
  • Chip makers evaluate, and if the board will support the new version, they deliver updated software packages for it to HTC
  • HTC then evaluates if the device can support the new software with HTC Sense
  • If they can, the carriers get involved for carrier branded phones at this stage
  • Software gets built, and GPe devices and unlocked devices get tested by HTC, carrier devices by the carriers
  • Things go back and forth until it seems to be bug free, then it gets tested and certified by carriers, Google and any other regulatory bodies that need to certify it
  • After all this is done and approved, it can then go out over-the-air

There are no real surprises here, but it's nice to see the entire process broken down into a way that's easy to understand. We assume the process is the same for other OHA phone manufacturers, too. A little bit of that inside baseball Android fans love to peek at. Hit the break for the big picture.

Source: HTC

HTC updates


Reader comments

HTC details the Android OEM update process with a fancy infographic


This is very informative. I knew some of the process, but I didn't know it went that in-depth.

+2 to HTC for transparency.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

Motorola is owned by Google, but that gives them no advantage at all. /s

Posted via HTC One on Android Central App

Guidance sure, assistance sure, a headstart on the next version of Android no.

Every oem gets guidance and assistance

Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

Even some Nexus devices miss the boat - notably the Galaxy Nexus, which would otherwise still be quite viable. The problem is the chipset drivers. Google should contract with various chipset manufacturers to commit to providing driver updates for their hardware for several years. They should then recommend those parts to their OEM's. Sure, OEM's can build an Android device using any old hardware they want, but some kind of 'Google Housekeeping seal of Approval' would go a long way toward preventing consumers from buying such hardware - at least with any expectation of dependable upgrades.

As it stands, even Google has been burned. It shouldn't be that way.

Because in some of the steps the OEM has to go to Google 2-3 times. Motorola is closer to Google so I guess it doesn't take long for approval.

Posted from the Google Nexus 7 2012 via Android Central App

You're welcome to go work for HTC, tell them they are too slow and fix things. Don't complain to us here on the Internet, that is so useless.

Posted via Android Central App

I like the three different phone types (Carrier, Unlocked/dev ed.,Play ed.) and seeing the different numbered steps involved. The Play edition have the least amount of steps.

I would have liked to have seen average times associated with each steps ie. (2-4 months). Then we could compare each phone types complete time frame from, Google's release of PDK to Htc's OTA.

Well I guess that we can stop truly blaming the carriers. I was under the impression that they had their own coders adding in their junk to the system, but they just give it to the OEMs to do. So the flow really goes:


Kinda takes the heat off Verizon and the like.

Yeah, I mean it took forever for Veizon's Moto X to get Kit Kat when the other carriers got it right away...

And we all know that one update on one device completely negates every single other untimely update on every other device on Verizon. /s

A one time thing does not disrupt a trend. Evidence and proof most assuredly says Verizon takes forever to update devices, even not updating devices that others still are.

But hey! One device updated on time! Yay! /lack of logic FTW

This graphic does show a back and forth conversation type thing going on with thee carriers, so Verizon might be gumming it up with moar demands. and compatibility issues with their crapware

True, but it depends on the complexity and difficulty of implementation of the carrier's requirements. The graphic doesn't give any information about the steps beyond whose responsibility each one is.

What I mostly got out of this is a new appreciation for companies who are able to get through this nightmarish process in just a month or two.

This isn't the case at all. Whether they add the bloat themselves or have the OEM's do it, they're still the ones requiring the bloatware. Whether a carrier does it themselves, has the OEM do it or has a third party do it is irrelevant, the requirement for the bloatware, and the responsibility for the delay, comes from the carrier.

The fact that there are few steps involved with the carriers doesn't take away from the fact that they're responsible for much of the delay. The fact remains that most phones' unlocked versions get updates long before carrier versions.

Transparency makes things look much better for HTC. I hope they continue.

This also explains to the more ignorant why normal devices cannot be updated like Nexus devices. Oems have to get the code after it is announced(possibly excluding gpe devices) then possibly wait on chip manufacturers. It is not a simple process.

Posted via Android Central App

I imagine that the process is the same for all the OEMs, but yeah kudos for HTC putting it out there

Now all Google needs to do is invert the process and do all of this BEFORE announcing the next version of Android and it would seem like we all get very timely updates.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

But it would leak far quicker that way. And what about the small manufacturers, they'd need a ruling on what manufacturers find out early.

Posted via Android Central App on my Custom ROMd nexus 4

Why wouldn't all OEMs find out early?
And, TBH, I don't care if it leaks early.

The trouble would be worth it to stop having to hear all the whining about how long it takes to update a phone. :)

It'd be easier if they just went stock like Motorola. I know the value of making your product stand out from the rest of the pack, but it sure would make the update process faster.

Sent via my Verizon Moto X

no, not stock. That would suck.

Modular, all the different apps are updated independently from the OS.

+1, though some apps might not work with this (since they work with the core of the OS, needing it to be modified). It would still be nice for the apps that would work.

Then you just replace the core app with the same app only modified to accommodate the changes.

Essentially you temp root, make sys read/write, install, put the permissions back and unroot. It pretty much is exactly what they do now

Happy Holiday's from my phone to yours...

No, it would be pretty awful if all the companies went stock. If you like stock, you can always buy a Nexus (or a Moto from here on out, it seems), but we don't want OEMs competing against each other solely on hardware. The different OEMs competing against each other with software features drives feature innovation and works out to be a net positive for all of us.

"we don't want OEMs competing against each other solely on hardware."
And why not?
You get just as much feature development coming from app developers (if not more) as you do coming from the OEMs.

hardware has plateau'd, and I much prefer TW features to Sense or LG.

If I want barebones, I have that option.

On top of that, the camera hardware guys do not want to give the SDK to every tom, dick and harry to make an app for the camera.

There is a lot to be said for unification of apps.

Am I missing the "integration" step all the carriers are currently on?

Posted via Android Central App

HTC should send that flowchart to LG... While I'm in no rush to dork my phone with an updated OS, the option would be nice...

Posted via Android Central App

In other words if you want a device that will be supported, don't buy HTC. This is coming from a long time HTC advocate. If they really wanted to show change they would give developers access to source code for older devices.

Posted via Android Central App

I am sure that the code is still in use in one form or another, and why would you put your trade secrets out there?

very nice. this settles the confusion regarding whether carriers delayed updates to unlocked editions as some people claimed in the past.

I've never had the luxury of a developer edition phone of any model. Looking at the flow chart, is it true that there is no carrier bloat or the like? Just an unlocked bootloader? Makes me wonder if it's almost nexus like being second in the update wheel. Anybody with a dev edition clear that up for me, or anyone else wondering?

If true, I will hold out for dev editions from now on me thinks.....just a head start on making it the way I want. And Kanye free! Lol

Posted via Android Central App

the dev edition, just like the unlocked version, has no carrier bloatware but does come with Sense (and in this case, 64GB insted of 32GB). only the GP edition ships with pure android.

Perfect, thanks. Wish I knew that before.... same $ spent on bloat as a dev or unlocked.

Posted via Android Central App

Really, really like this. I've been asking for something like this for a long time. I think it helps with an understanding of just how complex the process is when you have the complexity of manufacturers adding skins, carriers adding bloat, and the diversity of chipsets to support.

If HTC really wants to be transparent and gain support of people they should show exactly where in this process each of their devices it's worth each version of Android and Sense.

Posted via Android Central App

Sweet! 2013 is the year of the infographic!

Posted from my "CrackDroid" Nexus 4 via the Android Central App

Nice infographic, hopefully this will shut up the complaining and bitching of owners of carrier branded skinned phones why they get their updates so much later than a Nexus or GPe device, since it's a flowchart easy enough for a child to understand.

Posted via Android Central App

The carrier part of this graphic is still underestimated. The carriers do create some of their bloatware but when updates come out it rarely works seamlessly with the new software so there is a lot of back and forth with the OEM and the OEM ends up doing much of the work but there is a lot of time wasted back and forth.

Having spent many years with a carrier and part of the testing group I can tell you this process is arduous at best which is one of the reasons I no longer buy carrier branded devices. I only buy GE or DevEd devices now...


Bravo to HTC to release this hidden process. I like manufacturer to be more transparent like this although it would be much better if the diagram comes with timeline as well.

Now I hope htc does survives and rise back to the position they should be!

Bravo to HTC to release this hidden process. I like manufacturer to be more transparent like this although it would be much better if the diagram comes with timeline as well.

Now I hope htc does survives and rise back to the position they should be!

Well, I'm still expecting KitKat on my device by the end of January, but it's great to learn more about the OTA process from HTC.

Posted via AC App on HTC One

This is just to try to ease pressure from lack of workforce on HTC's part with the delays in updating their devices, nothing more.

Most people that see this diagram already know that the carrier is the main enemy as far as getting timely updates unless the carrier has no updates to actually approve therefore prolonging the update process. Aint that right HTC.