Earlier this month, an Android 5.1.1 update mysteriously appeared alongside an update to Google’s Android SDK. Earlier this week, Google finally confirmed the Nexus Android 5.1.1 release with an update for the Nexus Player. With an Android 5.1.1 update now on the minds of Nexus users, particularly Nexus 7 users dealing with Android 5.0 Lollipop problems, we want to take a look at what we expect from the Nexus 7 Android 5.1 release going forward.
Last month, Google rolled out the red carpet for its Android 5.1 Lollipop update, a major bug fix update that delivered some feature tweaks and solutions for an array of Lollipop problems. Since then, the Android 5.1 update’s rolled out to most of Google’s Nexus smartphones and tablets including the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, and Nexus 7.
Since the Android 5.1 release, Nexus users have complained about a number of Android 5.1 Lollipop problems including a memory leak issue that’s a source of random reboots and app crashes on devices like the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7. With Android 5.1 problems swirling, Nexus users have been demanding a new Android 5.1 update from Google and earlier this week, Google delivered. Sort of.
On April Fools Day, an Android 5.1.1 update was spotted lurking in the company’s updated Android SDK. Then, a few days ago, the Android 5.1.1 update appeared in the company’s Developer Portal. Earlier this week, Google finally confirmed its Android 5.1.1 update though it didn’t make a big announcement on its website.
In typical Google fashion, the company quietly confirmed the release with a Nexus Player Android 5.1.1 update release into the Android Open Source Project. Since then, nothing.
We continue to get tons of Android 5.1.1 questions from friends, family and readers dealing with Android 5.1 problems. Google hasn’t pushed any official details but this isn’t our first Nexus Android update rodeo. We have a pretty good idea about how this will all play out.
Today, we want to help set expectations for Nexus 7 users. Here’s what we expect from the Nexus 7 Android 5.1.1 update and release.
No Announcements, Just Releases
Google didn’t sound the trumpets when it released its first Android 5.1.1 update. We don’t expect the company to do that for any of its upcoming Android 5.1.1 updates, including upgrades for the Nexus 7.
We expect Google to remain silent about the Nexus 7 Android 5.1.1 update and its release. Instead of blog posts and tweets, we expect the company to confirm its Android 5.1.1 updates by dumping files into AOSP and by releasing updates Over-the-Air (OTA). Nothing fancy.
This of course means that we expect all of you Nexus 7 users to be waiting in the dark while the company works to deliver its brand new update. We might see a few details emerge here and there but we rarely see rumors or leaks nail down specific release dates. Especially not for small bug fix updates like Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. You’ll need to remain patient.
Nexus 7 Android 5.1.1 Update Among the First
We do expect the Nexus 7 Android 5.1.1 update to be one of the first to roll out. After all, it’s one of three Nexus Android 5.1.1 updates confirmed for arrival.
Google’s Developer site lists the Nexus 7 2013 Android 5.1.1 update. That’s as official as it will get before the start of the roll out. While everything is extremely unpredictable, Google’s Nexus 7 has historically been near the front of the line in terms of timing. It was one of the first to get Android 5.1 and it was among the first to Android 5.0. You can go further back if you want but we’ll stop there. You probably get the point.
Widespread Android 5.1.1 Release
We expect the Android 5.1.1 update to hit all versions of the Nexus 7, not just the Nexus 7 2013. Android 5.1.1 comes with some crucial bug fixes on board and it’s expected to squash the memory leak issue once and for all. That makes it vital to older devices like the Nexus 7 2012 and popular devices like the Nexus 7 and Nexus 7 LTE. We’d be shocked if Google kept the Android 5.1.1 roll out to the Nexus Player and a few other devices.
Standard Roll Out Procedure
We expect the Nexus 7 Android 5.1.1 update to be subject to Google’s usual roll out protocol. If you’re not familiar, take note. This is how Google’s update process typically works:
Google releases factory images into AOSP.
Soon after, it starts rolling the update out Over-the-Air.
The file gets discovered on Google’s servers allowing Nexus 7 users to sideload the software ahead of the OTA.
Google’s OTA roll outs typically take one to two weeks though if the company encounters a problem, it goes back to the drawing board with another build. This prolongs the release process.
If Google does roll out the update to all versions of the Nexus 7, well, that could take weeks or maybe even months to complete depending on how testing goes.
Even if the Android 5.1.1 update is small for the Nexus 7, it will likely be a long drawn out process that frustrates many users. Android 5.1 was slower than usual. We’re hoping that Google picks up the pace with this update.
Do not expect Google’s Nexus 7 Android 5.1.1 updates to be much different from one another. For instance, we’d expect the Nexus 7 2013 updates to be similar to one another.
We wouldn’t be surprised if all of them featured the change log that appeared alongside the Nexus Player Android 5.1.1 release. Android 5.1.1 is a bug fix update, nothing more than that, so don’t expect anything special.
Nexus 7 Android 5.1.1 Problems
It’s coming with bug fixes but you should expect to see Android 5.1.1 problems plague the Nexus 7. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Nexus 7 2012 bore the brunt of those problems. It’s an aging device that’s nearly three years old and we’ve heard and see some horror stories in the weeks after the Android 5.0 Lollipop release. Google’s Nexus forums are full of complaints from Nexus 7 2012 users.
Finally, we expect the Nexus 7 2012 to be left behind on Lollipop. Android 5.1.1 could very well be its last update before Google finally decides to bring down the curtain. We would be shocked, shocked, if the company decided to outfit the device with Android 6 or whatever Android M is called.
This is a device that’s been around for nearly three years. That’s a whole lot longer than the 18 months of software support that Google used to hold over the heads of Nexus users. Its had a pretty impressive run.
Anything can happen but at this point, we’d expect this device to either get left behind on Android 5.1.1 or another bug fix update if Google decides to roll another one out before its next major update. Don’t expect to find out for sure until later in the year.