(Cross-posted from 9to5Mac.com)

As if a bunch of Android operating system versions weren’t enough, the snail pace at which carriers roll out OS updates to existing devices is spoiling the joy for many Android fans. Apple on the other hand pushes out updates via iTunes, not through carriers, and it controls the user experience, meaning the can update all devices at once because no carrier is allowed to customize the code, which adds up to the OS fragmentation.

Google now says it will work with a handful of cherry-picked partners to ensure customers receive timely Android updates during a certain period of time. The list of partners includes carriers Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Vodafone and handset makers Samsung, HTC, Sprint, LG, T-Mobile, Motorola and ┬áSony Ericsson. Folks who buy new smartphones from any of these vendors will receive Android platform updates for eighteen months, or a year and half, after the first launch, “if hardware allows”, Google said.

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