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Current Nexus devices won't get Android N's new seamless update feature

Derek Walter | May 23, 2016
It's likely that the Chrome OS-inspired update mechanism will need to wait for the next generation Android devices as well.

The silent update capability of Chrome OS is one of the operating system’s smartest features, as it does the behind-the-scenes work at grabbing the latest software update. One day you'll just fire up your laptop, and you're suddenly running the latest version.

But it turns out that such magic requires dual partitions, which is quite a technical feat to implement on the current generation of smartphones. In the case of the latest Nexus devices, Google representatives told the crowd at the Android team’s office hours event at I/O that the background update feature won’t be available for current-generation Nexus devices.

That means it’s likely that all currently-available Android phones and tablets won’t get the feature. Granted, it’s technically possible to implement, but according to the Android team it would require hooking up a phone to a computer and partitioning drives. Someone with the technical knowledge out there may make this happen, but that’s above the paygrade of most smartphone users.

Why this matters: This throws some cold water on one of the much-ballyhooed features announced at Google I/O. On the one hand, if you’re the type to keep tabs on the latest versions of Android this won’t be a major deal breaker, but this new updates scheme is an important tool against fragmentation as it would nudge more phones and tablets onto the latest Android builds.


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