Nothing pleases Android fans more than a notice that they have an update. Millions of words have been spent on countless blogs and forums discussing OTAs (or the lack of them) and we get a little giddy when we see the notice that one is available. The folks at the OTA Update Center have worked out the supporting infrastructure and methods to offer a free OTA service to any ROM developer, so that hackers and modders can enjoy that fuzzy feeling an update brings as well.

It' not really anything new -- hackers and ROM devs have been doing custom ROM OTAs since the days of the HTC Hero, and we see similar services offered from ROM Manager and Goo.im Manager. The OTA Update Center will work in a similar fashion, where an app will be installed into the system that communicates with the servers to pass out OTA updates to anyone using the ROM. For the end-user, it's a simple and impressive way to keep the OS on your phone up-to-date.

The real difference here is to the developers. They no longer need to host files or insert framework for an FOTA system into their ROM, and instead can use the supplied tool with a few edits. This will get everything up and running with  minimum of extra code, and provide a sort of standard that all developers can follow. We like standards. Developers like standards. Users like things that "just work", and standards allow that to happen easier.

If you're an end user, you'll have to wait and see if your ROM development team decides to use the OTA Update Center. If you're a developer, you should check out the source links and think about giving it a try. Be sure to give us a shout if you incorporate this into your ROM, we'd love to give it a look!

Source: OTA Update Center, via XDA-Developers


Reader comments

OTA Update Center brings over-the-air updates to any ROM developer


I read about this earlier today. I will definitely be looking into adding this into a future update.

I hope they end up charging the user some nominal membership fee, because without some money to pay the bills (and maybe some beer money) this will fall to wreckage and ruin just as soon as it gets popular.

This is exactly the type of infrastructure needed to allow 3rd party roms to go mainstream. They could succeed themselves to death. I've seen this happen with many free server situations. My friends and I mirrored suse linux back around version 6 days, and finally had to yank the plug when our company couldn't even get a kilobyte edgewise thru our own pipe.

kinda running apples and oranges there. With an android rom your looking at about 200mb of data. With suse your looking at a couple gigs of data. Also majority of these rom designs dont have the following that suse does.

The majority of the people who would be using this would already be hitting the servers for updates to their android devices. Now they would just be downloading them and installing them via 3g rather then download and transferring through a computer.

Im hoping that this becomes a standard so i can stop stalking XDA forums lol

Actually, back in that time, Suse fit comfortably on one CD rom, or worst case two. This was 1998-ish, so we might have started with suse 5.x back when Hubert Mantel and and his buddies were still running the place.

But still, think of the potential here. If this catches on, and running a rom becomes easy, less risky, it becomes a major game changer for Android.

When that happens, just keeping enough of a server infrastructure on line could become a problem when a new rom ships. Unless deep pockets step up, it all comes crashing down.

even at one cd-rom your looking at 600mb.

my main point is i dont see the bandwith changing because the people who flash tend to check back with the rom developers anyways. This will just be a new method of delivery

What I never understood is why they didn't take advantage of the built in check for updates in settings that's on Android already. I figured they could change where the bottun directs to see if and download and update if one is available. Also some ROMs don't even see this option in settings-about phone-system updates so maybe it's a programming thing but I knownothing about ROM devolping I'm just happy they do it. :-)