We're drawing a line in the sand on devices launching with Lollipop

Things that make sense to those of us who pound keyboards for a living — as well as you on the real-world side of things — don't always make sense to the folks in charge of actually getting new phones and tablets out the door. So let us be clear with our language here:

It is not acceptable for a manufacturer to release a new device running anything less than Android 6.0 Marshmallow from this point forward.

Ideally we shouldn't have to say this out loud. Google releases a new version of Android — a major new version — and we all should expect new devices to launch with it. There's got to be a grace period, of course. And nailing down a specific time period for that isn't exactly easy or objective. But Marshmallow was added to the Android Open Source Project — the public repository from which anyone can pull code — on October 5. We saw the first non-Nexus phone ship with Marshmallow (the HTC One A9) just a month later, but the LG V10 launched at the same time on Android 5.1, as did the BlackBerry Priv. So this isn't an exact science. But we're now a month beyond that, and so we're drawing a line in the sand. No more Lollipop.

So what does that mean for us editorially?

If a new device ships with Lollipop and is otherwise worthy of a review from us, we'll still review it. But on principle it'll have no chance at earning a Choice Award, and in all likelihood it'll not fare well in the "should you buy it?" section of the review. That last part will remain at the discretion of the editors, of course. (For a rough example of that, we'll point you to the Huawei P8 lite, which shipped in mid-2015 with Android 4.4 KitKat.)

That this isn't just about having the latest shiny thing. Security has never been more important on smartphones, and Marshmallow makes it easiest to keep an eye on where your phone stands in the mix — to say nothing of the new features.

This won't stop Lollipop launches from happening, of course. We're a month away from the CES show in Las Vegas, and we'll undoubtedly see any number of devices running Android 5.x. Some might even be worth looking at. (Samsung just announced three mid-rangers on Lollipop, actually.)

But from today on, any new Android device that doesn't have Marshmallow when it hits our hands almost certainly will fail to receive a recommendation from us.

Phil Nickinson
  • This is fair! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree. The Marshmallow previews started months and months ago, so new phones shouldn't have anything to do with Lollipop.
  • Hey Samsung, where's Marshmallow on the Galaxy S6? Geez. Friggin slow ass companies.
  • come to Windows Phones where all the updates come directly from Microsoft (instead of the manufacturers)
  • In all seriousness I totally would. Batterylife is superior to IOS and Android. Fluid UI that operates buttery smooth on 1 GB of Ram. However, I love my appstore, My customization options, and the fact that the apps and system UI of Android is more refined.
  • #FragmentationForever Posted via the Android Central App
  • #Youreadouchebagforever
  • But he has a point. THIS is a key component contributing to fragmentation. I'd love my new app to natively support Marshmallow or even Lolliop without the added complexity of support libraries, but with only 0.3 percent of users on Marshmallow and only 30% on 5.0 or higher, it makes it impossible. To support 80% of the market you need to target *no higher* than Jelly Bean 4.2.x which was released in October **2012**!! We're now a month away from 2016!! Posted via the Android Central App
  • You sound like myself, a developer. It's so nice to target iOS 8.0 and up, and know that 92% of the users run that version. It pains me when I have to create the Android version of the apps I create. My cutoff is API 17, which as you know we are now on 23. Sure, support libraries are great but I literally spend more time testing than coding because of all there different Android versions out there. Posted via the Android Central App
  • How dare you, sir! There is no fragmentation. Android is flawless.
  • Hear, Hear Phil! I know exactly why they do it, and it's because a bunch of stuffed shirts in a boardroom with no tech background want to "play it safe" with a slightly older version. That's a cop out. I'm glad you guys decided to do this.
  • What the hell is wrong with stable software over the latest software??? Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I get your point, but the second and third previews were stable :)
  • Come on...this is Android, not Windows Phone! If you posted from a Nexus 6, you should know that Marshmallow is stable!
  • How was lollipop when it arrived? Kitkat? Jellybean? All those versions sucked until the .1 upgrade came out, and in the case of jellybean, it wasn't until .1.1, so let's actually be real. Pants
  • But Marshmallow, as in use today, has no consistent issues that would not be the fault of OEM added software.
  • Really? You don't think if all past versions were buggy, why would you not bank on M being buggy? I think the OEMS are sick of debugging software, and sticking with an older stable version makes more sense to them. It's not like any of them but Samsung are making any money. Pants
  • Another reason why they should work more closely with Google, and the builds they release months in advance, while following the Android path of making their bloatware available to those who actually want and use it. It is the OEM's fault why Android is so fragmented anyway.
  • Well, I remember lollipop when it was released. Plenty of bugs and overall not good. Marshmallow on the other hand is solid and no major bugs at all. In fact I've been using it since preview 3 and must little bugs for preview are also gone. It is by far one of my favorite Android os's. Posted via the Android Central App
  • What about washed out colors and other similar complaints??
  • Lollipop 5.0 was fine for me, and showed it's performance improvements right out of the box. I kept an identical device on Kitkat for a week for testing purposes, but after that I eagerly upgraded. But, I DO agree that I'd rather have a stable OS than the latest and greatest IF it's buggy. That's also the reason I don't mind if HTC takes a little longer to push out their updates, as they seem to nail the software when others are stumbling. I just ran tests this past weekend using the new HTC service updates, and the test unit did stellar in the battery department. It hung onto the last few percent like the death grip of a chimpanzee, and did not hit the test termination point of 2% until 90 hours later. That's with moderate use and 40 phone calls, not in sleep or extreme mode, and it speaks volumes to getting things right instead of rushing.
  • Actually when Microsoft only released "Previews for developers" the OS was stable. The new Insider previews are a completely different matter...
  • I'm using the latest insider preview on my Nokia Lumia930 and it works flawlessly. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Flawlessly" sounds a bit like and overstatement.
  • Yes 6.0 is stable but it's am example perhaps I should have elaborated better Posted
  • I have a nexus 6 and have yet to receive Marshmallow. So no, I don't yet know that it is stable.
  • Do you have an unlocked version or one you bought with att or Verizon logo on it? Posted via the Android Central App
  • You have a Nexus and don't know about factory images? 0_o Posted via the Android Central App
  • Are you crazy? Have you ever used windows phone? By the comments you haven't. Windows Phone and Windows Mobile 10 are stable and work very well. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ehh, Windows 10 Mobile Build 10586 is mostly stable, but it still really needs some spit and polish. Still can't attach .gif's to the messaging app (Seriously, it crashes if you try...), it can be frequently quirky, enabling Auto Brightness on the Lumia 950 XL makes it so using the Action Center toggle freezes the whole device and requiring a soft-reset, the keyboard sometimes doesn't appear when it should, Groove spazes out on occasion, etc. etc. Performance is overall decent on my Lumia 1020, often even faster than Windows Phone 8.1 (I did a fresh install/hard reset, so your mileage may vary), and it obviously flies on the Lumia 950 XL. Performance isn't the issue, at least not in the latest builds, it's just still kind of quirky and unstable. Overall solid, about 80-90% of the way there, but it doesn't feel very RTM (Much like the launch build for Windows 10, build 10240). Hopefully (Just like the desktop version) they quickly release some patches and updates to iron out the kinks and work out the quirks.
  • How exactly is 6.0 not stable?
  • I'm pretty sure your assumption is on the right track. However, I see it as a corporate greed situation. If you "hamper" a device by not putting forth the man power to update it, the typical customer will attribute it to the device and its components as being outdated. Thus, ensuring another purchase as soon as the new model is released to said customer because it has the shiny "new" software their old device won't get.
    Simple corporate greed to give bigger returns to the shareholders. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You do know how little money OEMS make on android phone right? Pants
  • Slightly more than they make working to upgrade the software on phones they've already sold?
  • Are they being forced to manufacture phones? If there's no $ in it, why are there more manufacturers competing for market share than a few years ago? Why are OEMs like Huawei trying to expand market share if they're on the verge of losing their shirts over the cost of devices? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Concern about the stability of new software that hasn't been tested extensively would actually be a thoughtful consideration on behalf of consumers. That doesn't mean they shouldn't leverage the new version, but weighing the impact of potentially buggy software on the user experience is not a bad thing. However, the more likely reason for devices launching with older software is that these devices have already been in development for months. Do you guys really think that a phone launching this month was just whipped up after October 5? These devices take months to design, manufacture, and test. Switching OSes mid-development could add months to the development cycle and invalidate any carrier approvals already in place. Furthermore, the manufacturer likely already set launch expectations with carriers and retails outlets, who may have promotions and advertising campaigns relying on a timely launch. In other words, there are downstream impacts. So while I can understand taking this Marshmallow-or-nothing stand from a technical perspective, it's likely unrealistic from a business perspective. Instead, why doesn't AC investigate this issue with OEMs and report on the reasons cited for shipping new devices with older software? Why doesn't AC ask Google how it can help OEMs avoid the new-device-with-old-software discrepancy as well as the overall fragmentation issues that persist with Android?
  • I agree with your comment and the new stance AC is taking. IMHO, the largest factor(s) preventing a consistent parity between new hardware and software is the OEMs and carriers insistence on adding their particular "bloat" to the mix. These guys don't seem to understand just how much "pull" they would have with current and future customers if they made their little add-ons in the form of downloadable apps. Stock Android would take far less time to test on the devices and would immediately appeal to those who prefer it...not to mention the quick turn around for future updates. We all know there are almost endless options already available for those who feel "vanilla" Android is somehow too bland for their tastes(Gotta love choices...)! Also, by leaving the choice to install them to the end user, they would have immediate feedback relative to which of their apps we actually use and/or want. It's practically a "win-win-win" for consumers, OEMs, and carriers.
  • I agree, though am curious to see what Motorola actually does with its Moto Display/Assist features on the Marshmallow release. I see keeping the Moto X Pure Edition on Lollipop as akin to running a PC on Windows 7 these days (more of an old school performance choice than settling for a lesser OS, if that makes sense).
  • ? Not understanding your comment Posted via the Android Central App
  • That question has been answered. The MXPE on 6.0 is great. It has never been faster or smoother, the Moto features are just as good as they alwayswere, and the ones removed aren't a loss at all, as they were replaced by superior OS features or 3rd party apps. DND is so much better than Moto Assist it is hard to believe. And the loss of Migrate and Connect for 3rd party apps is a big improvement as well.
    Overall, it is keeping up Motorola's goal: make Android better, and leave everything else alone. If Google Now always-on gains the Moto Voice commands and customizable lauch phrases, then even Moto Voice could be removed; there simply isn't a need to keep developing it. Move your resources elsewhere.
  • That's a very bold stand and I strongly agree with you. What's the point of having the latest and greatest hardware powered by an outdated software? I think that it's laziness or just greed.. I bit the bullet and and purchased the Nexus 6p and couldn't be happier! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes, because if every new phone in late 2014 shipped with Lollipop 5.0-5.0.1 that would've been great for users... Except Lollipop 5.0-5.0.1 stunk! Perhaps Manufacturers are rightfully gun shy of "#.0" releases from Google as they are generally craptastic until "#.1". Hmmm...
  • I respect your comment.. But if that's the case then what's Microsoft's explanation? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not sure I get your question. Though looking at Microsoft, perhaps we should also be rightfully gun shy... See: Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows 8.
  • That was exactly my point.. No OS is going to be the perfect solution. But if it's an obvious enhancement over the previous versions (security and stability, etc.) then why wouldn't it be included in the new hardwares that's being released? Being "gun shy" just doesn't cut it, especially when people are spending their money.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • But if I spend good money on a phone that runs like crap, on beta software (can we all admit Google's .0 releases are essentially beta software) what's the point. Initial releases don't tend to work well in even on Nexus devices. Posted via the Android Central App
  • ....and Windows 10, Windows Phone, Xbox One, Surface RT....the list goes on and on.
  • Windows 10 is great. Nothing else you listed is related to this train of thought.
  • Xbox one doesn't deserve to be on the list either.
  • There was nothing wrong with vista. Almost all problems people faced were because driver manufacture's didn't release proper updates for the OS which caused all sorts of issues. It wasn't down to the operating system. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Windows Vista is good, but it was horrible at the time. The reason being is that it was a resource hog, and PCs at the time couldn't handle it. There was also the manufacturers being extremely lazy about the drivers. Windows 7 to Vista is like Windows 98SE was to 98 and 8.1 was to 8. It made it much lighter and more stable. To put it into perspective, try running Google Chrome on a Windows XP PC from around 2002. Windows 10 is still not as stable as Windows 8.1, but it'll get there. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly. Just because its new doesn't mean its great. It takes months to work out the bugs. As long as a device gets the marshmallow update then who cares if it ships with it out of the box? I would rather have something tested and true.
  • For sure at hindsight not caring about features I'd choose 5.1.1 Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Case in point... Samsung Galaxy Note 4 on Kit Kat 4.4.4 ran quite smoothly, decent battery etc. Update to 5.0.1 and the device battery life tanks, lag increases and stability is out the window. And in case you're wondering if this was just an OEM TouchWiz issue see: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Google-acknowledges-leaky-memory-fix-comi...
  • Stable over latest I say Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Agreed. Posted via the Android Central App
  • True, it was running nicely on 4.4.4, 5.0.1 was a disaster. I'm getting better battery life on 5.1.1 but i don't know what exactly is wrong with the version but sometimes (twice a day or so) the whole phone's interface reloads. I don't know if that is due to bad ram management or something else. But it is really annoying, so annoying that i want to trow my Note 4 at the nearest wall sometimes. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This would be why I ditched my Note 4 and went with an LG V10. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same with the oneplus one. It ran much better on KitKat better battery life, no issues with Wi-Fi or data connections! I don't know where Google heading with all these pastel colors, I'd rather have manly bold colors! Why couldn't they just put security code in KitKat? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I can get behind this. I always hate having a really late model phone and having older phones with higher OS versions. I do love my devices, and thus am here often, can't do anything but agree with this.
  • Soooo, you drew a inaccurate and blurry line. That is really what you drew, AC. Posted via the Android Central App
  • What you see as "inaccurate and blurry" I see as "intelligently flexible." I don't think the two-month span between code drop and this revelation is set in stone. (As in maybe next year we'll — hopefully — need to set it closer to the code drop. Or later.) And I fully expect to see a new device on L that tests this somewhat in the coming weeks. But by and large it's a good starting point.
  • Great shout guys! Gave up on Samsung as no Note 5 in Europe and the passing of an age waiting on Samsung software updates. Got my Nexus 6P a week ago and loving every Marshmallowy minute! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like the idea of the market demanding timely software, but I lean towards thinking December 2nd is a bit early. The official release of M was only two months ago, and these devices have extensive development timelines (then again, as a counterpoint, developer previews were out since the spring). On the whole, glad you're doing this, but I'd have waited at least another month and make this a 2016-forward thing.
  • The industry needs to be held to a standard by somebody. I couldn't agree more with this stance. Other review sites should adopt something similar. Wish it would do some good. Posted via the Android Central App from my LG G4
  • And meanwhile Verizon yawns and counts the money they're making from the latest Droid line.
  • Well then there's that they have no incentive to care. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • You're going to want to quantify this "But from today on, any new Android device that doesn't have Marshmallow when it hits our hands almost certainly will fail to receive a recommendation from us." Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Agree. It's December as already! Oct 5 is long gone Posted via the Android Central App
  • If you take the day the Marshmallow code base dropped do you think in 3 months they could have a STABLE release ready? Surely I'm not the only one that would prefer "stable over latest". Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I whole heartedly agree... lollipoop 5.0 sucked I don't want anything not stable on my phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Couldn't agree more with every point. Manufacturers should also see the good in this which is if they release a phone witb the newest OS, people will most likely buy it.
    I honestly dont know any sane person, if given the chance, would pick a phone with an outdated version of the OS if a current one was offered instead. The only exception should be a bug riddled rollout or glaring security issues. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Go for it! It does not make any sense to release anything other than M going forward. In fact, Google released DEV version more than 6 months ago - enough time to test/re-test and prepare for the final version.
  • Meh, not really a big deal to me. Especially since I only buy budget phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • So then you don't mind if hackers take over your phone? The big point here is security. Budget phones rarely get updates and that means security updates too. I hope you don't do any banking on your phone. I don't think these companies should be allowed to sell these phones to consumers with no plan to keep them secure. Some of the fault of course goes to Google as well.
  • Aw cmon... Define secure...oh yeah...the overblown stagefright thing you read on multiple tech sites stating (and some outright fabricating BS [cough CNET...cough How-To-Geek]) how android is soooooooooooooooo insecure. You bought into all that didn't you? And now you're special because you ALWAYS get the latest and greatest. I may as well go back to a flip phone then...because the chance of me receiving and downloading a specially crafted lab-modified .mp4 over MMS from someone and gaining system level access on my device is better than 1 in 50 million. Sad thing is...much more damage can be done through sideloading a rogue app and/or rooting as a result of user error...either on a budget phone or on a flagship. Get off your high horse.
  • I agree with you. Ok, we're all about security, all super nervous about that pic or that video that could be stolen.
    Yeah right.
    I'm unlocked, rooted, I sideload apps all the time, and I'm still capable of keeping my phone out of hackers way. Not that those hackers would ever want to hack my phone: they won't find anything interesting, no wikileaks material here I'm afraid.
    I too prefer to have the latest model and obviously the latest software to go with it, but come on, I always read comments about security as if we're all working on secret projects or have billions in the bank or buy/sell stocks for several thousands $$ and so on.
    Let's face it, if you do need a higher level of security, you most certainly have a phone from your company, encrypted and all that.
    You work for the government and use a Galaxy S3 with Android 4.3? Do you review important documents on it? Do you send passwords and user IDs via whatsapp? Yeah, maybe security is not your first priority, and that's YOUR fault. Not the OEM's.
    Same thing about the freaking MMS. "Holy crap MMS are screwed! We all need stagefright patched!". As if, in the WhatsApp/Telegram/Hangouts era anybody ever uses MMS. I simply disabled MMS reception, deleted MMS access point and that's it, no stagefright vulnerability for me.
  • I agree with some of the others here. I'd rather have a stable software than the latest, so long as the Marshmallow update is confirmed for said phone. That way, I would know the manufacturer gives somewhat of a damn. Posted via the Android Central App
  • But it's not like Marshmallow was just shot out of a cannon all of a sudden. Developers have had it to test, etc., for at least six months. The problem is that the service providers have to take all the extra time to figure out how to make all their gloatware work without breaking their phones. Why can't they release this stuff after launch and give us a choice to load it or not? That's a question they won't answer.
  • Newest doesn't mean greatest. This isn't hard to understand guys. Grow up. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree with you guys! I also understand the "stable over new" fraction, but i honestly don't see any stability in older touchwiz versions and most of all i wouldn't want to pay a fortune for a device running old software. High end devices just simply HAVE to be stable and using newest software. Since when should a customer pay for bad development of high profile industry products! Samsung is a good example of announcing millions of devices and still running old software. No idea why anyone would agree with this crap. How the hell are hundreds of similar devices with old software more important than less devices but carefully developed? I know why, because they care about profit, so i am not giving them a cent for that!
  • You must have posted that from you Verizon note 3. Wild guess... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wrong, I'm neither American on American networks nor using any high end smartphone because of the reasons mentioned. Plus this doesn't apply to US only. My Moto G 2nd gen is soon getting 6.0 and i do not accept any excuses, why higher end smartphones shouldn't get it as welll that quick.
  • Actually, the earliest someone should draw the line is, by asking the question, is version 6 stable yet? Version 5 wasn't stable arguably until 5.1. Broken bluetooth, no calling, the worst memory leak ever. Downgraded to Kitkat because of that.
  • This is android and we all know people who are making these phones and tablets don't care of its lollipop or marshmallow. There isn't anything stopping them from using lollipop. Look at android phones with skins it takes them months to get the new OS out why isn't anybody trying to change that? I'd rather have a tablet or phone run lollipop and know it isn't gonna get the new OS then have a galaxy s6 edge and have to wait a year to get the update by the time a new OS is out and its out dated. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This declaration makes me happy
  • This makes complete sense. I hate the sight of outdated software. Not that lollipop was a bad version - it is still a masterpiece - but marshmallow definitely wins hands down. Posted via the Android Central App
  • So, are you saying you're going to stop recommending all 2015 flagships because they have older software. According to this logic, no one should buy anything note or galaxy, no htc m series, and no lg g series. I think December is a little premature.
  • That's not at all what I wrote here. Please read it again. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I totally understand what you wrote, I was just taking it to the next step. For example, if the note 5 were to be released today, it would be ineligible for a choice award. Yet, it currently sits number two on your *best phone list." They've had marshmallow just as long, yet there is no update. To hold up one phone whole another is condemned, while they both have the same problem, seems a little odd. Now, it's your site and I'll keep reading, I'm just voicing my opinion.
  • But your complaint doesn't fall within what's being said here. We're talking about new phones being released after Jan 1 that don't have Marshmallow. The Note 5 was announced at the end of August 2015, before Marshmallow was even available to be released on phones.
  • First off, January 1st wasn't mentioned in the article at all. It was implied that the line was drawn on December 2nd (today). I'd agree that January 1st is a good line, as it is a good 3 months after the final build was dropped. ALL phones that are still getting updates should be updated within a quarter of the code being dropped. I guess the problem with my argument is that I'm comparing apples to oranges, new phones to current phones that still get updates. I'm just trying to argue that if you hold one standard to one group, you should hold it to another group.
  • I hear what you're saying and agree. If a phone drops with LP tmrw but gets 6.0 in January, isn't that better than a phone that launched with LP yesterday and doesn't get M til March?! I get Phil's point, but it's flawed IMO.
  • "I'm just trying to argue that if you hold one standard to one group, you should hold it to another group." I agree. I do commend AC for being more vocal about security. It is important that manufacturers and service providers release new devices with the latest stable OS. However, since most of us don't move to the next new thing every few months, I'd find AC's move more useful if historical data on a manufacturer's AND cell provider's patch releases and OS updates for devices from the past year or so was stated. I'd love to see a chart showing this year's flagship and mid-level releases, split by cell provider, indicating how far along they are in security patches and OS updates.
  • I second such a chart. It'd be fairly simple to put together, and would share a wealth of info. It'd be similar to what T-Mobile has put together for their phones. https://support.t-mobile.com/community/phones-tablets-devices/software-u...
  • Thanks zach, I didn't know they had that information online. Good to see. If AC, or someone, would put that type of info in a chart and include security patches/updates and I'd be thrilled, even likely to purchase items from that site or go mad clicking on Ad's to help support them. ;-)
  • There was no date mentioned in the article. Only "from this point forward" Having said that, I agree that Jan 1st would be good for a *stable* release. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I totally agree, Phil! Who the hell wants to buy a new device, then wait months for it to upgrade to the latest OS? I know I won't. I would refuse to pay out all that money for a "newest" device without the newest software. That just makes no sense, especially when "older" devices have updates to the newest software. Stupid.
  • This is good but why not just completely ignore those phones that launch with anything less than 6.0? I'm sure there will be plenty of other devices that deserve your attention.
  • There are plenty of other sites that do a bad job covering devices. We're not one of them. I'm just laying out some ground rules here.
  • Wish all the sites would band together and refuse to review devices that aren't up to date. Wish all the site would band together and kick Google in the arse until they fix the situation. (Yeah, I blame Google more than the OEMs).
  • Note that I didn't say we were going to refuse to review anything. I think it's still important to do that. I just want to set some expectations.
  • Oh I know. I was just saying I wish AC and other sites would stop reviewing them. Send OEMs and Google a message. Someone needs to.
  • Software is important, but it isn't the only thing that makes a phone. There will still be devices that are worth looking at, or even buying, with 5.1 on them. They're just going to be harder to recommend.
  • I'm trying to understand what specifically is so earth shatteringly good on Marshmallow that we discount devices running 5.1.1? Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind having Marshmallow on my V10 right now, but at the same time there isn't anything in Marshmallow that has me chomping at the bit to get it. Let's see...
    1. Google Now on Tap (All reports are that it's pretty useless at this point in time)
    2. App permissions (only useful on those apps updated for it)
    3. Fingerprint Support (again only useful in those apps updated for it and those phones with the hardware to support it)
    4. USB Type C (Hardware, not applicable to 90% of Android phones)
    5. Better Cut, Copy, and Paste (not even going to dignify this one, sure it's nice but this is the stuff Apple gets made fun of for)
    6. Doze (one of two features remotely interesting to me; the other is adoptable storage... but not worth me being worked up over because my phone doesn't have them yet).
    7. But the increased security??? As though security patches can't be applied short of an OS update... They can and do right now. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Security. No Marshmallow or an old patch version means I'll flat out tell you not to waste your money on empty promises from vendors who will say anything to get your money. Hate me for saying this, but I care. If you don't care, I'm caring for you. Posted via the Android Central App using The Nexus 6P.
  • So Jerry the real stance is if it isn't a Nexus, don't bother as none of the OEM's have agreed to Google's support schedule in any legally binding way. But Nexus devices only work if you want to pay full price for a phone or go with Google's Project Fi. Again why does security have to be an OS level thing? We've all heard (from AC in particular) that OS on Android is not nearly as important due to Google Play services and the ability to make updates that way irregardless of the Carrier/OEM, so which is it? Security this isn't that big of an issue anymore right... http://www.wired.com/2015/08/google-samsung-lg-roll-regular-android-secu... ; Except that we all know it's an issue but it's one Google has caused. So what does one do, they buy the phone that best meets their needs and wants in a device. As an example the HTC A9 would meet the OS criteria for a recommendation from AC, but I'm pretty sure the LG G4 and V10, not to mention the Note 5/S6 Plus are better phones by a mile even on 5.1.1. I guess you could say I've finally come to the realization that I don't care as much about what version I'm running as long as my phone does what I want/need it to. I care about stability and speed and function. Nexus are out of the conversation for me for 2 reasons, expandable storage and removable batteries. At this point it's LG for me as they seem to be the only OEM that hasn't put form over function.
  • Neither the G4 nor the V10, nor the Note 5 or GS6, were released after yesterday. So the argument that we wouldn't recommend any of them is moot. This isn't that complicated. We're talking new releases. Folks are trying to shove theoreticals where they don't belong.
  • Phil, I wasn't saying the G4/V10 etc. wouldn't have been recommended as obviously this is a "new policy". What I was trying to say is all of those phones are better than the HTC A9, even though it is running Marshmallow, and I'd have no problem putting each one up against the 5x or 6P. OS is but one part of the equation when we are talking point upgrades. I've been burned (lot's of folks have) by Google OS upgrades that killed or at the very least maimed otherwise healthy and functioning devices (Nexus 7 2013, Nexus 4, Galaxy Note 4). I'd rather wait for a .1 update that fixes all of the bugs first. Let's not forget the Nexus 9 launch and the funhouse that was Android 5.0 on that device.
  • The problem is not android 5.1.1 or any version before - android 6 won't be perfect either. It's the fact that manufacturers are still announcing phones which aren't out yet (so not produced / manufactured) and offering them with a lower version of an OS. This is pure laziness and shouldn't be rewarded!
  • I'm just saying review the phone based on how the software performs and functions and not those double decimal numbers in the about screen, and I understand security is important but I just don't see it as a maker or breaker of a phone, just don't click on random links and shady app stores. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I want a new tablet and the offering of Tablets is Lollipop or even Kit Kat they really suck at updating a tablet you paid 500 for, I have an LG G Pad that was ruined by upgrading to 5.02. It has never seen another update and is not that old.
  • Get a Nexus 9 or even a Nexus 7 2013 model, I have it and it runs good on Marshmallow Posted via either my Nexus 5X or Nexus 7 2013
  • Hopefully AC carries weight with Mountain View's OEM partners. Posted using SwiftKey on my LG G4 via the Android Central App
  • Fragmentation, Fragmentation, Fragmentation... Why don't you just die?!
  • This is fine this year for marshmallow. Releasing a new phone running lollipop at this point in its development last year would have been a disaster. Next year, who knows. I hope this editorial policy is flexible. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Releasing a smartphone with the latest software version does allow a customer to buy and get a head start to obtain the latest security updates and software features versus another user buying a smartphone released with an older version . In addition, it can give one competitor a marketing advantage over another competitor because people are generally more likely to buy a newer version of software because they think it's better (I could be wrong on that but that's my impression). On the other hand, releasing a smartphone with an older version can be a good thing if it has been proven to be stable and the newer version has proven to be riddled with "user-experience breaking" bugs or basically a disaster. As for my overall opinion on this issue, as much as I want to prefer long-term stability over new software features, I have to agree with you guys but your editorial policy is flexible to a reasonable extent. I think there should be an industry standard to be followed and it basically states something like this..."For all future mobile devices, please ensure you are releasing with the latest AND most stable software version from Google or whoever. Support your mobile devices for around 2-3 years by releasing very thoroughly tested software updates to your mobile devices with zero carrier interference in a timely manner."
  • OK, Phil, here's a hypothetical: a manufacturer releases a device running Lollipop, promising a Marshmallow update, and then they make good on that promise after you review it. Do you intend to revise said review once the Android version becomes current? Also, as another supporting point to your line in the sand, I remember Google announcing some hardware dev kit or something (sorry, I can't recall the exact name) that they'd release to manufacturers a couple months before the Android version became current AOSP. I'm not sure if they still do this, or if this mechanism has been replaced by the way Google releases preview versions now during the summer and fall leading up to the official release. My point: hardware manufactures' first view of Marshmallow was well before October 5. Posted from my Moto X (2013) via the Android Central App
  • You're thinking about the NDK, I think. And as for your hypothetical, sure. We've done that before. (And we're about to do it again, I think — Alex has M on the G4.) Kinda depends on just how crazy things have gotten, but we've made revisiting devices a bigger priority. Maybe it'll be a revision of the official review, maybe it'll be a new look.
  • He's not talking about the NDK. I think he was referring the the Platform Development Kit (http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/06/27/google-releasing-patform-develop... ), where OEMs would get early access to the source code before the official launch, supposedly allowing them to release phones with newer versions, and updates, faster than before.
  • Yes! That was it. Here's an actual link to it. https://android.googlesource.com/platform/pdk/ Posted via the Android Central App
  • Time is needed to see if there are bugs and to see they can be eliminated. But, I agree...I want Marshmallow on my Verizon G4.
  • I don't really care one way or another,now if I was still on KitKat without the material theme and color tinted status bar,I'd be pretty sad but as long as my phone isn't constantly screaming "last gen" I'm okay on 5.1. That being said,there better be a good 6.0 promise. I haven't lost all hope in my moto E just yet. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No recommendation.... Rightly so!!! Problem is majority people buying on carriers can't tell you what marshmallow or Android central is so this will continue.
  • Can't disagree with your view. Any new devices coming out should always run the latest firmware available. To release a new device let alone a flagship device with a year old firmware is a joke. Unfortunately oems, carriers use the latest updates as a means to differentiate. Look how carriers are only now willing to update to lollipop because it's no longer the latest and hottest android version. Example Samsung just announced there now A series which will all launch with lollipop. I bet they could easily launch with Marshmallow but no they will hold off on marshmallow and will release there flagship s7 with marshmallow first. I would love it if all android sites just had this stance that if a device isn't getting released with the the latest available os then it won't get any coverage at all. I bet oems and carriers will notice then. Imagine if the likes of Android Central/police /authority and all the other big sites did this. Then just maybe they will think twice. It's pathetic that updates is an issue even after all these years but what's worse is having new devices not even running the latest version. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Except Samsung did not hold off releasing l until the s6. Your wrong __________________________________________________________________________________-_________________________-____________________
  • What do you mean? I'm a s6(had s4 s3 and s2)user so not a Samsung hater or a pure android super fan. I know s5 and s4 got lollipop before s6 was released but if I remember it was a old version of lollipop rather Than the latest 5.1.1 at that time and also at that time Samsung was coming out with a whole new leaner and faster tw so I think that had a part to do with. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You said that Samsung won't put marshmallow on until after the s7 comes out. I countered with the s5 had lollipop before the s6 came out. Meaning they are not going to hold up a major release until a new phone. That was my only quibble __________________________________________________________________________________-_________________________-____________________
  • Oh right, I might have jumped the gun their due to sheer frustration of still waiting for M on my s6 lol. Your right s5 did get l before s6 but it was a older buggy version of lollipop. I'm sure s6 will get M before the s7 but I have a feeling it will be like close to the s7 launch and M itself and I bet by that time there will be like a 6.1 version android and then I will be behind all over again. I love the s6, I enjoy tw and the benefits it brings like the theme engine but it is really frustrating that even with a flagship device I can't always be up to date. I understand Samsung can't update all there devices but would be nice if there premium devices was given the premium treatment in terms of updates. 1 thing for sure though no new released phone ie the new a3,a5 and a7 will never see M before the s7. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Depending on what carrier you had...the initial Lollipop release for the S5 was buggy. ATT's build was outstanding. But then again...there is that carrier problem again. As another poster stated, "it's not like Marshmallow was just shot out of a cannon all of a sudden. Developers have had it to test, etc., for at least six months. The problem is that the service providers have to take all the extra time to figure out how to make all their bloatware work without breaking their phones." So in reality...I don't understand what the "line in the sand" comment is all about. Its been stated that new devices coming out with Lollipop will be reviewed by this site. So what is the "line" signifying?...that the review will include a severe "downvote" because it has Lollipop and we have a green light to incessantly bitch and complain about that very fact in community comments of that review? Is THAT really going to change business practices and diligence of vendors and carriers in regards to firmware releases to non-Nexus devices??? I think, for the most part...NOT.
  • Well, you can look at Xiaomi. Their latest phones run Android 5.0.1. POINT ONE! Not only is it Lollipop, but an old, bug ridden build of it. Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • Yeah that's why I am buying a nexus! Yeah like the bug riddled 5x is a much better choice! __________________________________________________________________________________-_________________________-____________________
  • Well, it can't be that bad... You know what. Screw it. I'm not buying any phone that launches after Marshmallow that runs Lollipop. I mean, my G4 is running Marshmallow and there is no excuse why newer phones shouldn't come with it. Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • Did you root and side load a non carrier optimized version of Marshmallow 6.0 on your G4? Is your warranty negated? Can you still update with manufacturer / carrier OTA's?
  • Nope. It's the official OTA Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • While the 5x sucks, the 6p is pretty good, I was really just pulling your leg a bit. Side note, I actually bought a 6 today (old version) because it was a great deal... It will be a good backup phone since I destroyed my old note __________________________________________________________________________________-_________________________-____________________
  • It's pretty odd that the 5X has all these performance issues. My G4 runs Marshmallow as well and has pretty much the same hardware minus 1 more GB of RAM and it runs like a champ.
  • You just hit the core of the issue. The 5X is having performance issues, just take a look at the forum. As I have said multiple times in these comments about the 5X, 2GB is not enough and some people will out run it. This is exactly why your G4 doesn't suffer the same problems. To the AC people who slammed me and even brought up the comments of people concerned with only 2GB in the 5X and quickly dismissed it (even the podcast), you were wrong AC. HA! It is unacceptable for a Phone launched today to not have 3GB, just like you have said for Marchmallow.
  • I don't think the 2GB of RAM is the main cause. Stock Android is very light. I tried it on an HTC One M7 (has 2GB of RAM) and RAM usage wasn't as high as my G4, also running Marshmallow. I think the issue lies in Google's decision to force encryption on for Nexus devices when it's turned on. Encryption requires a lot of horsepower. The 6P, despite the controversial SD810, handles it very well but the 5X couldn't.
  • Wait. How did you destroy your Note??? Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • D13H4RD
    That's awesome!
    When? Which country? Carrier?
  • I got the update on Sunday. My G4 is an international unlocked unit from Europe, more specifically, Romania. As such, it's not carrier-bound and updates come directly from LG. ;)
  • That's the way it should be. From your previous comments some time ago, I know camera was very important for you. The size was of concern. And you definitely dislike Samsung’s implementations. I'm with you on all three. What region do you use your G4 and do you get good LTE data speeds? Romania or wider? Do you know if performance is essentially the same throughout Europe?
    edit: see your response (below)
    Apparently good performance. What US carrier SIM do you use?
  • A mix of both the US and Asia. In the US, LTE speeds are decent. Around 20-30Mbps. Sometimes more or less. In Asia, my G4 has a new symbol called "4G+". When that shows up, data speeds go up to 50-70Mbps.
  • T-Mo. Doesn't work with all the bands but where I get them, it's good. But I assume 4G+ is LTE-A. Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • I guess the exception is that if it's buggy. So far, on my G4, MM wasn't as bad as LP was. In fact, it's better. Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • What's so bug-ridden about the 5X? I haven't heard of any major issues with it.
  • If you deal with Android as a Linux fork the going with an LTS release of an OS makes sense Posted via the Android Central App
  • Blackberry has a lot to prove. The first OTA yesterday was neat, but not good enough for me.
  • Damn straight! Posted via my HTC One M8
  • I'm a bit torn on this. Working in the hardware industry on one side I can see how long things take to go from development to release. On the consumer side of things I want the latest and greatest. 5.1.1 is hardly on the most recent phones still let alone 6.0. That in itself is a problem. As long as Google allows the OS to be built and tailored by the OEMs we will see no changes to this. Apple had it right to control it from the start.
  • This definitely isn't going to be a cut-and-dry thing from our end. I'm kinda excited to see how it goes.
  • Well-stated opinion in the editorial. I agree that there is no excuse. The changes are so profound in MM (imprint and doze, e.g.) that it is essential on every new device.
  • Oh, and the N6P is the finest phone on the planet, bar none. I shudder to think of that fine-ass hardware running - blecch - 5.1.
  • I switched from the note 4 on Verizon to the nexus 5x and pure marshmallow is the reason I'll never buy a phone with and that isn't a nexus. Quick updates and pure Android is great.
  • I'd like to point out that the Samsung Droid Charge released in Spring of 2011 with FROYO, half a year after Gingerbread was released, and it got glowing reviews from all websites, including Android Central, and it turned out to be a complete glitchy mess of a dud. It was my first Android device and I was still learning how important an OS was, what Samsung did was crap, just a couple weeks before Ice Cream Sandwich came out, Droid Charge got the update to Gingerbread, then it only got small security updates and was EOL'd. Lame-o! I wish Android Central had this stance back in 2011.
  • Those were very different times. And that's not the only dud that didn't immediately show its stripes. That's a big reason why we're doing second- and third-opinion reviews now.
  • Yeah I actually like reviews 3 to 6 months after launch. It really puts the device into perspective. Anyway, good on ya Phil to push these OEMs to get their act together. Keep it up.
  • Yawn............ Whatever...... 5.1.1. FTW!!!!!! Dam It Feels Good To Be A Google Gangster
  • I've got to think the AC writers have such a strong opinion about launch OS because of the horrible history of Android OEM OS updates. Honestly 2 months isn't very much time to modify and test code of a major new version and then ship a new smartphone that's been in the pipeline for some time. Who knows what's been optimized in the software to match the hardware. I get that Marshmallow offers much better app permission handling over previous versions of Android, but that's what you chose when you jumped on the Android bandwagon long ago. BB10 launched with granular app permissions nearly three years ago and Android is just now getting to it - if it was such a big deal for Android users we would've heard them complaining loudly about it for years, and I haven't heard that (yes I heard complaints about confusing permission definitions).
  • So - I shouldn't plunk down my hard earned money on that snazzy Samsung Galaxy S3 that I saw on sale at the local big box? </sarcasm>
  • I agree with ac. Security is a big thing now, and rightfully so. These platform updates provide a lot of security updates. Most oems provided the lip service answer saying that they would provide monthly security updates to out phones, and have failed to do so. So with that in mind why would I want a new phone released on a less secure version of Android that won't see a monthly security update. No thank you give me the most secure up to date version available. The android ndk is released to oems well ahead of platform updates. So manufacturers can prep their phone. But realistically these oems would rather develop and sale a new phone then update an older one. I don't like that and can no longer stand behind it. Hopefully after the new year the g4 will be sold and I'll get a nexus 6p. Because I want timely updates and I want to know that my phone will be patched for vonerablities quickly. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm done with this topic of Android. I have a Galaxy S6 and just don't care anymore of any android upgrade. This is ridiculous, stupid and lame. OEMS don't care, neither I anymore. Google needs to stop advertising new features and close the development to developer and OEMS. And ship it when is ready in the background. Making keynotes (boring ones) of features nobody is gonna use in the near future/don't care at all is plain stupid. I'm done.
  • Can't just Google FORCE its partners within the Open Handset Alliance to release new phones with the latest publicly available Android version and submit to them a written in stone, concrete update period (to at least one significant version, e.g 6 to 7, NOT 6.0 to 6.0.1?) before getting approved for using Google services? I know Google can because in the OHA OEMs HAVE TO say yes to the Google in what needs to be done before getting Google Services (Powered by Android tramp stamp, specific icon placement, NOT preloading a service or utility that directly competes with Google's) This phone with the AC App is "Broke."
  • No
    Google has some very good controls. Google does not want to overly restrict manufacturers.
    Hence, Android dominates with 83% global market share.
  • Except when you look at the general progression of Android versions, Google IS overtly restricting manufacturers. Between Google refusing Droid X certification because it did not use Google's location service, to rendering ALL MicroSD useless on Android 4.4 and gimping its functionality in future versions, to the hodgepodge of security updates and it becoming the carriers b----, to the inner workings of the Open Handset Alliance, it's clear Google is calling the shots more and more now. Heck, it even got what it wanted when Sony and HTC released Marshmallow builds that were Nexus doppelgangers! May as well require all manufacturers to use Google's Nexus software while we're at it...!
  • Thank goodness! This article pretty much sums up what the mobile phone community is thinking. Why does OEM manufacturers think its fine to cop out on the newest version of an OS. There are reports ever week that show the adoption rate of all OSs and its very disappointing where Android is. Google releases preview source codes way in advance. Maybe if OEMs didn't put their own crapware/bloatware maybe they could release new OSs in a timely manner. Giving a month of grace period is very gracious IMHO, no reason why OEMs shouldn't release the new OS with new hardware as soon as Google's announcement.
  • Yep don't buy crap phones without Marshmallow... Shame on OEMs if launching with lollipop. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good luck with that philosophy!
  • I agree. Marshmallow isn't completely different from Lollipop and these companies have the resources to get their devices updated. Marshmallow or bust indeed. Also, I wish Google would really really do something about carriers violating and screwing up the purity and awesomeness that is Android. Just throw your apps and themes in the market and let people install them if they want them. We are already paying you for your services, don't force your apps on us as well. Thanks.
  • What's the grace period? 1 month? 2 months? Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
  • Dunno. It wouldn't be wise to set some arbitrary number. Might change next year. Or not. Should be interesting to see.
  • People who think manufacturers haven't had enough time should consider that any device launching now or January has been in development for several months with plenty of time to prepare for Marshmallow. And Google isn't secretive about giving them what they need to make it happen. There is no good excuse for a manufacturer not to be launching with M. They are just not making it a priority (or enough of financial reward) and maybe if a few reviewers took the same stance as AC and it impacted the reviews. it might prod them.
  • Basically I'm just putting in writing what we'd probably end up saying in a review anyway.
  • True, but this method highlights it and makes AC's position clear. It may impact a lot of reviewers, but if it was made obvious like you have done, it would impact the manufacturers a lot more. Trust me, there are many people who work at the phone manufacturers who feel the same way and I guarantee you that they have forwarded a link to their boss of your article. They need ammunition like this to get things done. No executive wants to be the one who costs the company good product reviews or some person below them saying I told you so. This helps.
  • Google should just make it mandatory that to use GAPPS all phones unless abandoned must be on Android x.x within 120 days of official launch. Will cut a lot of the bullshit out and make manufacturers pull the fingers out somewhat. Skins are falling to the way side, more and more close to Google's vision. Once you get uniformity the easier it will be Posted via the Android Central App
  • That would stifle innovation. For example, many innovative HTC UI features have been incorporated into Google's Android. Also some Motorola UI features and probably others. Everyone doesn’t want to live in a 'same as' vanilla world of uniformity.
  • But the manufacturer's apps should be designed to scale to new operating systems, not be locked into just one specific version. That's the way it is and has been with Windows, for example. I'm still using 16 year old applications that work perfectly fine in Windows 10.
  • Thank you guys! We think you will still make mistakes, because we still think you are human. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Manufacturers should put lollipop behind them and start Building Marshmallow especially MTK phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Or just not worry about this shit and buy an iPhone. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • The only time I will ever upvote a 'buy and iPhone' comment. If this is picked up by other sites/reviewers, it will only serve to push people towards iPhones.
  • Seems like a pretty bold stance, one that I can't really say I'd agree with. While I own a Nexus 6P and think it's a fantastic device and am glad I'll be getting all the latest software and security updates, many times the latest version of Android has been littered with bugs and issues which have had to be rectified in an X.0.1 or X.0.2 update. Lollipop being a recent example and KitKat being another which had significant issues. 5.0 on release....was terrible. So if an OEM released a phone with all the problems the base 5.0 had and then was expected to release .1 and then .2 quickly to fix the issues, I don't think that's fair. You're just going to have people upset because their phones have bugs and are waiting for fixes to roll out. Yet, if they release a more stable, bug free previous release which will end up better experience for the end user, Android Central won't be recommending the phone... I'd rather OEM's not jump the gun with the latest software just for the sake of putting in the latest software. I'd rather they put in the most recent stable version of software and they can add the latest security patches in when required. I think taking a hard stance on a phone just because it doesn't have the latest version of software (which might even be beneficial to the end user) isn't a good stance to take. It negates all the work an OEM has put in to make a phone the best they can as AC is going to cut it down on literally one aspect of the phone. That's just unfair imo. If you were absolutely serious about having a secure phone, you wouldn't be using Android. Simple as that. But it's your site, you can review phones as you see fit.
  • Fortunately for everyone, or reviews are more comprehensive than "Has Marshmallow" or "Doesn't have Marshmallow."
  • Which is why your line in the sand is mostly meaningless. If in a review you find a phone to be excellent, apart from the lack of Marshmallow, not including a recommendation to buy on the bottom line won't make any difference. If you really want to draw a line that has effect, don't review anything pre-MM, period. Not that I'm advocating that. This whole thing smacks of huffing and puffing, and seems quite ridiculous. No OEM cares enough about what AC thinks of their versioning choices to alter marketing decisions that were made months ago. Get real guys. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well stated, completely agree!
  • Harshly put but true. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Nobody's huffing. And certainly nobody's puffing. We wanted to state in writing our stance on this at this point in time. Next year may be wildly different. Maybe this will blow up in our face and we'll see a ton of really interesting stuff in a few weeks at CES running L. I hope not, but that also wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But we've said any number of times that updates are more important than ever. And we wanted to put our cards on the table.
  • this line in the sand just doesn't seem to have much meaning. If you review a phone, or any other AC writer, and at the end of the article it says "if you're comfortable buying a phone with a previous OS ...." Instead of recommending it, is that really gonna make a big difference? Also, Andrew and you already seem to have some conflicting stances on this line (Andrew doesn't seem as rigid based on his comments) so I just don't see how this will have an affect on anything. And as previous posters mentioned, most would prefer a stable OS to the latest IF that latter is bug ridden, which for Android isn't out of the question. Also, with all do respect, I don't think after a review, whether or not you give it a recommendation to purchase or not really has much of an affect on that many people. Most people that read the reviews on AC visit all the other sites and just cause your personal stamp of approval isn't there, just isn't going to have a impact IMO. Just seems like a silly idea and I don't see the support behind this that you might have envisioned you'd receive when you posted the article.
  • I think it means exactly what I said it'll mean. Whether it means more or less to you or someone else isn't within my control.
  • With respect, Did you read his WHOLE comment? Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Yep, I did. I think maybe folks are confusing this with some sort of permanent thing. It'll mean less and less as time goes on and more new phones come out.
  • So you would take this same stance when Android 7 or whatever it's called when it comes out? Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I hope I don't have to. ;) But, yes, I think we probably will. Timing may be different. Will just have to see how it goes.
  • H_Worsmythe..... Some of what you say is true. But I disagree with your statement about OEM's not caring about AC's versioning choices. AC has enough of a member base that without question this article has already been forwarded to some executives and it does matter. By it self, it won't sway them, but it does have impact. I work in marketing and AC opinion matters to these companies. More then anything, it isn't a loss of sales specifically from one AC review that they fear. It is AC starting a trend of many reviewers taking the same stance that they fear.
  • But your recommendations will arbitrarily based on 'does this phone have Marshmallow? Yes/No'. Has Marshmallow - eligible for recommendation
    Doesn't have Marshmallow - not eligible for recommendation Oh but that's not entirely correct, is it? Because there's a clause at the bottom of the article which states "But from today on, any new Android device that doesn't have Marshmallow when it hits our hands almost certainly will fail to receive a recommendation from us." So despite this 'line in the sand' you're still willing to give a phone a recommendation despite not having Marshmallow.... so then what's the point of this 'line in the sand' stuff? You're willing to break your own 'line in the sand' mantra when it suits Android Central. This whole thing just sounds bad. And as I mentioned before, if Marshmallow was a buggy mess (as Lollipop was on release), I'd rather a phone on an earlier release which was more stable and has had a few bug patches for it. I'm sure a lot of end users would feel the same. The latest isn't always the greatest.
  • That's the exact opposite of arbitrary, actually. And I'd like to think that if MM was a buggy mess like Lollipop says, we'd have the smarts to not take this stance. But that sort of hypothetical is, as my grandma would say, "borrowing trouble" when there's yet to be any. Would I "break my own line" as you say? Sure! And I'd damned well hope I'd be able to defend that decision if and when the time comes. This might well be a difference scenario this time next year.
  • It's arbitrary because you picked one thing out of many. In your opinion, no modern phone should have anything less than 6.0. No modern phone should come without wireless charging, a fingerprint sensor, etc,, either. Of course you wouldn't stake your "recommendations" on those, because that would eliminate the phones you like.
  • Nope. That's still not what arbitrary means. We have reasons for this decision, which we laid out here. It's cool if you don't agree with them. (And, again, I'm saying that this sort of thing likely will be a little different next time around.) But there's nothing arbitrary about any of this.
  • Meh. Yes, we disagree, and I'm cool with that, too. And it's not like it's going to matter. I'm certain nobody is ever going to say (honestly, anyway), "Well, I was going to buy Phone X with the features I wanted and needed, but Android Central wouldn't recommend it because it didn't have Marshmallow. So I guess I'll have to sacrifice those features and buy Phone Y because AC recommended it."
  • It is arbitrary because unless there was a process in selecting which metric you'd recommend not recommend a phone on and that metric was justifed over the other options, it was just based off a whim of not wanting new phones to be released on older software, and you've tried to justified it with bogus reasons like security. If AC were serious about mobile phone security, you wouldn't be recommending Android phones. That's all there is to it.
  • Your'e right. It is arbitrary. It's "we always want Nexus to win", so they pick a requirement that only Nexus can fulfill consistently. It makes me wonder what money is behind this push.
  • Yeah, but buying anything new launched with Marshmallow now, doesn't ensure it will ever get past that. Would you recommend those? :)
  • In October I went to Best Buy and purchased the Moto G3 and a Sony Xperia C4 to replace my broken Moto X (Dev) and a prepaid Moto G LTE from Cricket Wireless. The Sony, while having more power, a better screen, more internal storage and RAM over the Moto G3 failed me in the first week as a primary device due to it running Android 5.0 versus the Moto G3 running 5.1.1 out of the box. The Moto was faster and had way less hiccups verus that Sony Xperia C4. I promptly returned the Sony and kept the Moto G3. I'm using the Moto G3 as my daily driver until I can afford a Nexus or a customized Moto X Pure. Point being that in my recent experience, quick updates or launching with the newest updated software tends to make a device function better for the end user. Even if the most current OS has bugs, most reputable companies will offer updates at some point. Even Motorola with its sketchy update cycle, I'm very confident the Moto G3 will have Marshmallow in the next month or two while the Sony is probably sitting in a box somewhere on the horrid 5.0 release. Sony says it's Xperia C4 is on the upgrade list for 6.0 but they also said that about my old Xperia Z3v (given it was a Verizon device), which was scheduled for 5.0 a YEAR ago and I don't know if it ever got that. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good, always prefer the latest & hopefully the greatest ! Posted via my LG4 Droid
  • This kind of stance is required. I have written to several tech sites asking them to refuse reviewing laptops with less than 1600x900 screen resolution. If you don't kick back they will just push junk out there.
  • That's just silly. Do you understand that not everyone needs or wants a 1080p screen? IF that's what you want, then go for it. But the rest of us like to have a choice.
  • Soooo when will the v10 get the new update?? Posted via Android Central App
  • Ooooh... I'm sure all the OEMs are shaking in their boots at AA's line in the sand. Who will dare to disobey such powerful threats? Hahahahaha!!!
  • Glad you're doing this. Manufacturers, carriers, whoever makes these updates take so long to come out are CRAP! Google started the previews for a reason. We shouldn't still be waiting for updates on phones months and MONTHS after the previews came out.
  • To be fair, the previews are more for the developers to get familiar with new features.  OEM's can certainly use them, too, but they are less likely to invest significant time to start work on the new version for 20+ different device models when the final, underlying code could easily be different resulting in them having to redo large parts of that work.  The code that Google puts out as "Android" (AOSP) is not the code that runs on any device.  Even Nexus device still have to have a bit of optimization and (at the very least) have a Kernel built for each unique device to support the specific hardware. And I assume your last line means since Google started doing preview releases.  I mention that because I have seen people comment as early as October (even last year) "the new version of Android has been out for 5 months already", even though the final release had just come out a few weeks prior. Many people do not understand how Android software works (because they don't have any concept of software development, and that's fine) and even fewer seem to really understand what a preview build of software is.
  • I certainly 'get' from a journalistic (an most especially from a fanboy / beholden to the manufacturers) point-of-view this decision, but I also recognize that Google has often alienated its user base (and device manufacturers) with 'improvements' to the OS - most especially with OTA upgrades and patches. Rule of thumb seems to be buy and use a device that gets a favourable review as stock as long as you can - an 'upgrade' may completely negate that review.
    In my case, that included a well-reviewed Nexus 7 who, through upgrades pushed to it, became almost useless.
    Tossed it, recently bought a Samsung 7 Lite, running their version of 4.2 at a little over $CDN100 and have regained the functionality and speed I had lost.
  • *applause* ballsee move! Posted via the Android Central App
  • reviewing a phone and at the end of the article saying "we'd recommend this phone if ... " just doesn't seem very ballsee to me. if they skipped the review then yeah, but this will have 0 impact
  • I agree with everything said in the article. Releasing a phone with Lollipop at this point is not something that should be allowed to pass uncriticised. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Even if its a solid device though??? Should we "make" average users care about security updates that in turn will just say "ahh I don't care about security updates I'll get an iPhone". The latter would be right. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • A solid device with one obvious flaw, I.e old software - Yes, that should be criticised. As should an otherwise solid device with a subpar camera, or poor battery life. Software matters. AC aren't saying they'll write off any device released running 5.x, but that they will look negatively on that. And so they should. As for average users, most won't be reading AC anyway, but part of AC's job (at least in my view) is to inform and maybe even educate it's readers. To look out for us. Getting people to care about updates is part of that.
  • It would be nice to know when the Moto G 3rd gen phone will get the update.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I understand where both camps are coming from especially if you have say, a Galaxy Note 3 that Samsung abandoned on buggy 5.0 and no longer seems interested in supporting anymore.
    Makes one wonder if they will update the Note 5 when Android N eventually does come around.
    Maybe, stable on launch, with a chance of the latest in a couple of months may be the right response. For now help is probably a root and custom ROM away... Posted via the Android Central App
  • My Note 3 runs beautifully on the official 5.0 release.
  • Well you're wrong. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Amen it doesn't make sense... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Amen to this!
  • ROFL!!! "We're going to set some rules to make sure the phones we don't like never get recommended, no matter how good they actually are." That would be like a site that doesn't like Nexus making a rule that they refuse to recommend a phone without wireless charging, no matter how good it is.
  • I think you are reaching on that comparison. They never said they didn't like Lollipop. There are serious security concerns using an outdated OS and Chinese companies have gotten away with it for years. It is a cheaper way to bring a device to market. Why should they reward companies that cut corners? I think it is a standard they are setting more than anything and it is a reasonable one.
  • Not at all. It's a matter of opinion. In my opinion, no modern phone should lack NFC, fingerprint scanners, or wireless charging. Some people on here have stated very clearly that they would never buy a phone without a microSD slot or removable battery. But those things don't matter to me. So here's how I'd go about this, personally, to make it fair to everyone. Make a list of all the possible features phones can include. Each feature gets a score range (weighted according to importance). If you can make a rational, objective argument for Marshmallow being important, then it gets a higher weight. Then you score each feature for a phone based on how well it is implemented in that phone. The phone gets a final score calculated from all the individual feature scores. If the final score is above a threshhold, it gets an editor's choice, or a recommendation. The only exception would be any individual failure that prevents the phone from doing its job. If everything in a phone works great, but you can't make phone calls, that means the phone isn't doing what it's designed to do. So it gets a big F even though it browses the web exceptionally well. An analogous situation would be where a spreadsheet application is lightning fast, and amazingly easy to use, but calculates figures wrong. That's an automatic failure, because a spreadsheet is useless if it can't calculate numbers correctly.
  • Fair enough! :-)
  • I agree Posted from my Beast Galaxy Note 5 DEVICE HISTORY (since they got smart)
    PHONES: Galaxy Nexus, LG viper, Galaxy s3, HTC Evo 4g, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy s5, LG G-Flex, Galaxy Mega 6.3, Galaxy s6 edge, Galaxy Note 5. TABLETS: Galaxy Note 10.1 gt-n8013, Galaxy tab 3 7.0. Lenovo tab2 A8 50f WATCH: Galaxy gear
  • This is a great idea. Anyone planning on keeping a phone for at least two years should not consider anything less than Android 6.0 and not accept any promises of a future update to Marshmallow because it is not uncommon for those promises to fall through.
  • I think many here are missing the point. Why should manufacturers be rewarded for cutting corners on a new device. Not running the latest proven OS is cheaper. They don't have to spend money on development. So just like AC would not recommend a phone with a terrible camera, they have set a standard for the OS. When other companies have put money into doing the development of the latest OS, they should be rewarded for that. It really is that simple. I think you guys are splitting hairs on this. I think AC is setting a standard for their reviews and they felt it was important enough that they make a specific statement about it in this article. Clearly it was also putting manufacturers on notice, but it makes perfect sense. I don't get all the whining about it.
  • This is kinda silly. Review the devices the way you always do. If the latest 5.1.1 runs awesome on a Note 4/5, but the latest update to 6.0 runs like crap like X.0 updates sometimes do, will you still give the device running Marshmallow the higher score? Are you automatically going to give Nexus devices a bump in score over devices that aren't on the latest version? Come on. I'm also of the same mind as some of the other comments here. You guys act like the manufacturers get the latest version of Android and can then slap it onto a device and just play around with it to make sure it doesn't crash. They have individual carriers to deal with, including variations in hardware as well. Let's not turn into whiny babies about Android updates.
  • I totally agree. New phones should always have the latest OS.
    At worst they should have a link or an app on the home screen to download it upon purchase, when it is relatively new. In case it has new features or a GUI you are unfamiliar with and don't want it.
  • YOU want the latest OS. That doesn't mean it's the best. Early Lollipop was crap. If they had this policy then, they'd only recommend phones with the crappiest version of the OS.
  • I would rather have Lollipop on my phone until the bugs are worked out of Marshmallow than have the carrier rush right in and brick the phone because the brand-new OS isn't ready yet.
  • Being an advanced user and having tried out ICS, JB, Lollipop AND Marshmallow on multiple phones, my take is that the best glitch-free and stable Android yet was JB 4.3.
    As an advanced user I can add layers of security myself, but I found that JB lent itself the best to customisation of any sort and was the most stable no matter what you threw at it. Currently on Note4 with 4.4.4 having downgraded from Lollipop and with no way to downgrade further to 4.3 :(
    Marshmallow is certainly the most gorgeous looking out of the box, but suffers from backward compatibility with apps even with the libraries available. And since lots of imp apps have yet to come out with their updated version, jury is still out.
  • Well first and foremost, this article illustrates the key difference and inherent problems with manufactures that build devices and use 3rd party os's to run them, as opposed to manufacturers that have complete control on the device and the operating system. Secondly for AC to state that newly released devices here on in without Marshmallow will surely fail their review process is a very bold and presumptuous thing to commit to. I mean, using AC logic will the next generation of Android devices fail AC's review process if they're not preloaded with Nanaimo Bar?
    Manufacturers of Android devices, no matter how good their hardware is built, live or die by how well the operating system works and the unintended consequence could be that no manufacturer will release a device with a half baked OS to AC for review.
  • Amen to that! I'm to the point now which I don't think I can ever switch from a Nexus device which is still being updated. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nexus or GTFO at this point for me.
  • hello there , i m getting "your device have been modified , no updates are available" message when i try to update my samsung s3 neo i9301 phone..i m facing this problem since i try to manually update phone to lollipop . please help me out of this problem ,.. i want to upgrade my phone to lollipop from kitkat.
  • agree !
  • <delete>
  • At this point, given the abysmal nature of Samsung and their inability to get updates out on time and in a stable form along with HTC in a tail spin and LG with their horrid UI tweaks the best advice to go with what you're written is to go straight for Nexus devices (bought straight from Google) if you're looking for long term software software with regular updates without interference from the source rather than the mess that exists today. Google needs to also step up - they've tried to play nicely but they're at the stage now with the flag ship market in free fall and the mid range under threat by Apple that they need to step up and turn the Play Store global and push their Nexus devices as the public face of Android rather than letting Samsung be its representation because right now Samsung has done more damage having Android associated with their name than being a positive force.