A report from Bloomberg claims that Google is going to take yet another swing at making manufacturers care about Android updates. This time the plan is apparently to "shame" OEMs into updating their devices.
Google has "drawn up lists that rank top phone makers by how up-to-date their handsets are, based on security patches and operating system versions," according to the report. Google has apparently shared this list with OEMs already and has "discussed making it public" in the hopes that OEMs will do better at updating their devices as a result.
This isn't the first time Google has tried to entice OEMs to update their devices. At Google I/O 2011, Google triumphantly announced the "Android Update Alliance," an agreement where Google and OEMs would work to ensure that devices got 18 months of updates. A year later everyone promptly forgot about it, and it hasn't been mentioned since.
In response to the Stagefright security vulnerability, Google started producing monthly Android security updates. Nexus devices and a handful of OEM flagships have started to get these updates, but for most Android users, this is just more code that never makes it to their devices.
The latest version of Android—6.0 Marshmallow—is seven months old, and only 7.5 percent of active devices have the update. That's a lot of devices that not only lack the latest features but are also missing out on security updates. With Google Play Services, Google has re-architected Android to make the underlying OS version more or less not matter for many feature implementations. We saw this at I/O 2016 with the launch of Android Instant Apps, which isn't just compatible with Marshmallow and Android N but goes all the way back to Android 4.2.