Xperia owners: Here's when you'll get Android Pie, and why updates take so long

The new Android software update, Android Pie, will be available to Xperia users this fall. Here's why the software rollout takes so long.

How to install Android 9.0 on Android Pie-compatible devices Follow this video tutorial on how to install Google's Android Pie (Android 9.0) on compatible mobile devices.

Owners of Premium-range Xperia device models will be able to upgrade to Android 9 Pie in November, Sony announced in a Thursday blog post. These models include Xperia XZ2, XZ2 Premium, XZ2 Compact, Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1 and XZ1 Compact, while XA2, XA2 Ultra and XA2 Plus will have to wait until early 2019 to update, according to the post.

From the time Google announces updates to when they finally reach devices, Sony engineers work to make sure all the new upgrades will function correctly, said the post. However, the software rollout journey can feel like an eternity. Sony's post outlined the steps of a software rollout, allowing customers to see what the holdup is.

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

First, Google sends Sony a Platform Development Kit (PDK) a few weeks before the new Android version is released, said the post. A PDK consists of source files and materials that Sony uses to develop, optimize, and test the software. Sony then puts the software on devices to start testing.

The third step, known as the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL), is when Sony gets the different chips to work with the new software. Once the chips are working, Sony implements basic smartphone functions, like phone calls, messaging, and internet connection, outlined the post. After the basics come Sony's specific function additions, like its lockscreen, contacts, music, movies, album, camera, Xperia Assist, email, and more.

Sony is then responsible for testing the newly upgraded device. The company lets people within Sony work as testers for the new software, helping locate any major problems. Updates are tested in everyday life, as well as in the lab, according to the post.

Once tested, Sony must ensure that the device meets Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tech standards, said the post. Some of Sony's operator partners require specific versions of the new software, so Sony then connects operators with the specified version and waits on approval.

The new software is then finally able to launch. After the certifications and approvals, Sony releases Android to the public, said the post. Upon release, Sony employees monitor forums and social media to gain feedback from their audience an improve the software, explained the post.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Android 9 Pie can be downloaded on popular Sony devices starting in November, with the rest of the models following suit in early 2019.
  • The road to software release is long and arduous, requiring a slew of tests and approvals before users can download a new OS.

Also see

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Image: Sony

By Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.