Splash… The Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Edition phones, initially believed to receive official Android OS updates directly from Google, will in reality be getting updates from Samsung and HTC respectively… Bummer.
If you thought that the just released Google Edition phones, namely the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, will be kept updated with the latest Android OS by Google as soon as the update is ready (for Nexus phones)… You’ve been deeply mistaken my friend. HTC has uploaded the kernel source code for the Google Edition One flagship, which also revealed that all software updates will come from the manufacturer itself and not Google. Of course, the same applies for the Galaxy S4 GE as well.
The biggest advantage of having a Nexus device is that you’re the first to receive any new Android OS updates. However, the experience in these phones is that of pure Android, with no adulterations whatsoever. With the release of the new Google Edition phones, we are reminded that they are technically not ‘Nexus’ devices, and hence won’t be receiving updates directly from Google. And that might just be a good thing.
If HTC or Samsung were to push out all updates to these new phones, we can expect the addition of a lot of custom software that would take advantage of the special hardware on either phones. Beats audio, HTC Zoe, camera filters, multi-panel apps etc. are just some of the features that we hope to find in future updates. Thankfully, since the UI will largely remain unadulterated, these phones will still receive updates far faster than other Samsung or HTC phones, but will most certainly not be able to match the speed with which Nexus devices are updated. From where I see it, that’s not entirely a bad thing, given that more features will be packed into the ROMs by OEMs before pushing it out to their respective devices.
You can download the HTC One Google Edition kernel source from HTC Dev’s website here.