Half of Android devices failed to get security updates last year

Android figurine

Half of Android devices weren't updated with Google's security patches over the past year, because operators and smartphone manufacturers didn't pass them on.

Following the revelation that the Stagefright vulnerability was jeopardising the security of millions of Android smartphones and tablets, Google promised to release monthly updates to the platform, which would fix bugs and security holes identified by its experts.

Manufacturers and mobile providers were supposed to roll them out to customers, but failed to, or issued them much later than Google did, meaning half of Android devices were exposed to attacks unnecessarily.

The news comes off the back of Google's Android Year in Review Report, which revealed "more than 735 million devices from 200+ manufacturers received a platform security update in 2016."

"Carrier and hardware partners helped expand deployment of these updates, releasing updates for over half of the top 50 devices worldwide in the last quarter of 2016," the company said.

Although manufacturers including Samsung promised to issue fast track security updates, it's taken three months for some to be applied as part of the company's quarterly security patch.

To try and improve the situation, Google has vowed to make it easier for manufacturers and mobile networks to roll out the update, ensuring everyone gets security patches applied faster than before.

"We're working to increase device security updates by streamlining our security update program to make it easier for manufacturers to deploy security patches and releasing A/B updates to make it easier for users to apply those patches," Google explained in the report.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.