This past May Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced a partnership at the I/O conference that they have made a deal so that any new Android phone would receive OS updates for at least 18 months following the launch. The partnership is called the Google Update Alliance. Motorola, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sony Ericsson are a part of the Update Alliance. Sony Ericsson is the only company that has kept up with the partnership. In fact Sony Ericsson released new versions of Android to all phones that are less than 18 months.
The problem for users is that they are not getting the latest operating system updates. When Google updates their operating system, they add security patches and new features. When developers create apps that are based on the latest version of Android, they will not know how many people will be able to use them.
The problem with having an alliance like this is the bureaucracy of it all. Updating an operating system requires a lot of testing. Between these 7 companies, there are about 300,000 employees. There are analysts, project managers, directors, and executives to go through before an update is released. There is only so much Google can do to push everybody to get their jobs done.