Android Circuit: Nobody Loves Lollipop 5.0, Sony’s Sad For Sale Sign, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Mistake
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Moto G (2014) 4G LTE version (image: Motorola Brazil)
Taking a look back at the week’s news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit highlights a number of stories including Google reducing security on Android 4.3 and older devices via WebView, almost nobody is using Lollipop 5.0, Four minutes to sell out the Nokia N1 tablet, Samsung upcoming Galaxy mistake, Xiaomi’s new phablet, Sony’s highs and lows, Adobe Lightroom for Android, and Project Ara goes on sale.
Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android over the last seven days (and you can read the weekly Apple news digest here).
Google Stops Vital Security Update To Android 4.3 And Below
Thomas Fox-Brewster highlights what could be the biggest Android story of the week. Google has stopped pushing security updates to the WebView tool if you are using Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (or any earlier flavour of Android).
Without openly warning any of the 939 million affected, Google has decided to stop pushing out security updates for the WebView tool within Android to those on Android 4.3, better known as Jelly Bean, or below, according to appalled security researchers. That means two-thirds of users won’t receive cover from Google, the researchers noted.
Over 60% of Android devices which connected to Google Play between Dec 30 2014 and Jan 5 2015 (via Google’s Android dashboard) ran the older version of Android. All of these devices will no longer receive the security updates
WebView allows an application to open up a web page as part of that application (as opposed to passing a URL to a web browser app). Tod Beardsley is an engineering manager for Rapid7: “WebView, for many, many attackers, is Android, just as Internet Explorer [Microsoft’s browser] is usually the best vector for attackers who want to compromise Windows client desktops.”
Google has declined to comment on the matter. Fox-Brewster goes into more depths on the issues here on Forbes.
Nobody Is Using Lollipop
One other interesting data point from the Android Dashboard is the non-appearance of Lollipop. Version 5 of Android OS has been released by Google (and is available on a number of Nexus devices) but the slow roll-out is even slower than last year’s KitKat. After a month, KitKat reached 1.1% of the Google Play traffic. Lollipop? Not even o.1%.
Whether it is taking time for manufacturers to update their firmwares, carriers taking longer to certify the new firmwares, coding issues, or reticence to push Lollipop onto older handsets when newer Lollipop handsets are on the way, this illustrates one of the systemic problems of Android.
Irrespective of the reasons, the rollout of Lollipop is not going smoothly. Google is spending a huge amount of time and momentum to push the message out of the new operating system. Meanwhile two bug-fix updates have already been announced, and at the current rate the fixes in Android 5.1 might not be available to consumers before the end of July 2015.