Dear Google, Market Your Android Update Guarantee Intelligently and Give Customers Confidence in Their Smartphone Purchase

Posted on 18 July 2011, Last updated on 18 July 2011 by

Back during Google I/O 2011, Google announced a list of partners that it was working with to “create new guidelines for how quickly devices will get updated after new Android platform releases inch. Similarly, they wanted to ensure that devices are guaranteed a reasonable update lifespan so that they wouldn’t stop receiving updates 6 months or so after release.

So far Google and the founding partners, which includes a number of carriers and device manufacturers, have agreed stated that future devices will receive Android updates for 18 months after their launch. When this program will begin (and which devices will abide by it) has not yet been announced.

When it does launch, Google needs to be smart and really market it. Promising updates for 18 months after a device is launched is great for consumers, but it means nothing if consumers don’t know which device manufacturers or carriers are part of the program at the time of purchase

Google should come up with a simple name and an eye-catching logo that they can hand out to the partners of the program and those partners can slap it on the boxes of their products to show users that the phone will receive guaranteed updates for 18 months.

Something like the ‘Google Update Guarantee’ (GUG for short!), or ‘Android Update Alliance’, or even just ‘Update Guarantee’ with a cool logo would work wonders for consumers.

Imagine someone walking into a Best Buy or RadioShack and holding two phone boxes in their hands. Both are nearly identical in their specs, but only one has the Update Guarantee. The decision for the consumer is simple because one glance at the box tells them that only one of those phones is guaranteed to be updated for a reasonable amount of time.

Better yet, crowd-source the logo by starting a competition to design the logo and offer a cool prize. Let people online vote on which one they like best. Not only will this drum up interest and spread the word about the guarantee on the web, but it’ll also let the people, who will actually be purchasing the devices with the guarantee, feel like they got to be part of the selection process and this will make them feel even more connected to the logo and the devices that use it (which is good for the partners of the program).

Not only does this help the consumer in the store, but the same thing would apply online. The same way that I frequently filter Amazon product searches by what is available to be shipped with Amazon Prime, customers may begin filtering their Android phone/tablet searches to see only those with the Update Guarantee.

By allowing only partners on the list access to the logo for the program, other companies are going to want to jump on board to get access so that they too can market their products with the appealing guarantee logo. Every partner that joins the program means an overall increase in the quality of the Android-device market because it means more devices will be updated to the latest version of Android for a longer period of time.

I really hope Google takes a proactive approach similar to what I’ve suggested. Such a guarantee adds confidence to a customers purchase, which is currently something that’s completely absent from current smartphone purchases. Not even Apple has a guarantee in place for how long they’ll update a given iOS device.

6 Comments For This Post

  1. yoyoblog says:

    You want an update guarantee? Buy a Nexus S.
    Pure Android from Google, no waiting for updates.

  2. Yu says:

    @yoyoblog: Sure, that would work. But it is pretty much not the way to make customers confident about their purchases.
    (a) What part of customers actually knows that there ARE “pure Google” devices?
    (b) Even I, that I casually read tech blogs, can only tell that the updates for those devices are supposed to arrive fast, but not for how long.
    (c) Aren’t those “official Google” devices usually on the upper end of the pricing scale?

    @Ben: The idea of this form of marketing is great :D I really hope, they pick up the idea (or just come up with similiar themselves). And by

    As foor the “update guarantees” for iOS: I think the current iOS is 4.3.something, and 4.3 is available for the iphone 3gs, which, according to my Google lookup, is a summer-2009 device. Still beats the “18 month guarantee”.

    Btw, is there a risk that a manufacturer will end up giving a guarantee but then being confronted with a new Android version that is incompatible with the hardware?

  3. Ben says:

    Google says the guarantee is only good “if the hardware allows”, but I bet we’ll see some companies claiming that they aren’t updating for ‘performance considerations’ just so they don’t have to support hardware that they’d rather leave behind.

  4. Yu says:

    So essentially it will be worthless? I hope they won’t produce such a marketing failure.

  5. Guy says:

    Its a good idea Ben, one that would shame manufacturers and carriers into ensuring that updates are provided in a timely fashion.

    The logo reminds me of the Microsoft Windows logo program (

  6. Ben says:

    MS had the right idea, but the logos didn’t actually mean anything most of the time lol! I remember seeing ‘Certified for Windows Vista’ stickers on monitors at a Best Buy… instead of aiding the customer by informing them about something, they just confused them by making them think that monitors without those stickers wouldn’t work with Windows Vista which obviously isn’t the case.

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