It's no big secret that I'm a big fan of Android, and most of what Google does with it. From a usage standpoint, Android is about as stable as its ever been, and it seems as though Google is finally pushing out consistent updates. No longer does Android OS feel like an experiment, rather it feels like, for the most part, a stable OS fit for everyday use. And let's be honest, at it's 13th major release, it darn well should be stable and ready to go!
For me, though, there exists an underlying issue that is a constant nag, and may even be doom 'n gloom for Google's operating system, if Google doesn't get a handle on the situation. My daily driver is a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 on Verizon Wireless. For those of you without that device, it's currently running Android 5.1.1, effectively known as Lollipop. For those of you without further knowledge, that's an entire major release behind the current version of the OS, Marshmallow. To me, Google's biggest threat is the major carriers and their inability to functionally and efficiently release the latest updates to their devices.
My Note 4 is less than a year old. From a device release standpoint, it was released in October of 2014, which makes the phone roughly 15 months old. Far from old in terms of technology, until you factor in the troubles caused by major carriers. As previously stated, my device is less than a year old, yet it's running an operating system that was released in February of 2015, and it only recently got that actual update about two months ago. Because of this, there are times that my phone feels sluggish and outdated. As is the case of the Stagefright exploit, this delay even threatens the very security of the device that contains personal information, information about my friends and family, photos, games, and even financial information.
On the other hand, you have a device like the Apple iPhone. If your device is an Apple product, and falls within the standard 2 year lifecycle of most phones, you're nearly guaranteed to get an updated OS almost on the day it's announced, and your phone will continue to receive security updates.
This is Google's biggest problem. By spreading itself thin and allowing the carriers to dictate the terms of their agreements, they've effectively sailed themselves up a river, tossed the sails in the water, and lit their oars on fire. They continue to release devices that become borderline-obsolete in less than a year after release date, all in the name of pushing the next device, and frustrating their users to the point of driving them away.
I love Android to death. I love the customization, and the ability to make the device my own. But when I've got a small window of toilet time at work, and want to get in a quick game of Card Crawl, having the phone be so sluggish that I can't even launch the game without rebooting is incredibly frustrating and makes me question why I stick around.
Google needs to reign in their device agreements with carriers and stop the processes currently in place that allow carriers to slap bloatware on their devices and claim that there needs to be "approval methods" in place before updates can go out. It's nothing but garbage excuses, all in the name of selling more devices.
Get it together, Google.