Google Will Not Fix Bug In Nearly 1 Billion Android Phones

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The search giant and maker of the Android OS has determine it won’t fix a bug in an older version of its operating system.

Security analyst Tod Beardsley recently discovered a serious bug in WebView, which Android users require in order for webpages to render properly. The specific software problem affects Android’s rendering up until the 4.4 version of the operating system dubbed KitKat. As Beardsley points out, that means it affects nearly 1 billion devices, but after bringing it to Google’s attention he was told that Google will not be fixing the problem.

Google android bug: Too old to fix, but you can

Google has essentially said that the software is too old to fix and that the company will not be providing a patch. While that sounds bad, even arrogant, Google hopes that makers of these devices will instead fix the problem and stop the bug themselves.

“If the affected version [of WebView] is before 4.4, we generally do not develop the patches ourselves, but welcome patches with the report for consideration,” the Android security team told Beardsley. “Other than notifying OEMs, we will not be able to take action on any report that is affecting versions before 4.4 that are not accompanied with a patch.”

Sorry but not going to happen

In Google’s defense, Beardsley did point out that they are not alone in dropping support and patches for older software builds explaining that other companies do the same. He also points out that Google has developed to versions of Android that does not have this major page rendering flaw. The newest version of Android is Lollipop, but only around 0.1% of Android users are rocking the new operating system. In fact, 60% of users are affected by the bug but it must be said that the bulk of these users are outside of the United States and Europe.

For the most part, the gap between OS builds has over 35% of users running KitKat and thus unaffected by the problem that Google won’t fix. For many an upgrade to 4.4 (KitKat) is impractical given the amounts of RAM in the phone as well as processors that would struggle to keep up with KitKat.

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