July 11th 2012, 12:00 AM

How To Check For Android Updates

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Android is a revolutionary operating system produced in part by internet giant Google. It is most known for running the Nexus 1, Samsung Galaxy, LG Fender,and other mobile phones. While some refer to this phone as a standalone "Google Phone," Google has made efforts to increase awareness that there is no such thing.

The Open Handset Alliance (OHA), a consortium that includes technology companies like Google, Texas Instruments, Motorola, Qualcomm, Samsung, and others that has committed itself to creating unrestricted standards for cell phones and other mobile devices. The result of this is Android, a Linux-based mobile phone operating system, OHA's first product. This software was released with an open source license by Google in 2008. Since that time, virtually every major mobile phone manufacturer has ported Android to one of their phones.

Android is rapidly gaining traction in the cell phone marketplace, primarily due to the revolutionary open source development kit that has enabled a plethora of applications to become available to run on it. As of late 2009, Android is estimated to have 3.5% of the smartphone market. Current estimates suggest that Android will become the second most popular mobile operating system by 2012, ahead of Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and iPhone.

Automatic Android updates

One of the features of Android is its ability to receive updated software as it becomes available. This update feature runs in the background, ready to accept updates as they are "pushed" out to the phones. Because there are so many Android based phones in use, not all of them receive updates to the Android operating system at the same time. Users of Android phones have the option to wait until updates become available on their phone, or they can follow a simple procedure to manually check for Android updates. This functionality is a lot like the Windows Update feature found in Windows that downloads updates and asks you for permission when they are ready to install.

When left to itself, the Android-based phone will place a notification on the phone's home screen and prompt for confirmation to install. Once the updates are accepted, the user can go to device information to confirm that the latest version of Android is now on the phone.

Checking for Android updates

  • Power up the phone and press "Menu" to unlock it
  • Push the "Home" key
  • Push the "Menu" button.
  • Touch the screen or use the navigator wheel to select the "Settings" option.
  • Within the "Settings" menu, select the "About phone" option that is found towards the bottom of the list. This option displays the version number and build number of Android that is running on the phone.
  • Touch the "System updates" option. This causes the phone to look for any new Android updates. If an update is available, the phone will download and install it.

Creating a shortcut

  • There is an application available called AnyCut that can help simplify the update process by creating a shortcut to "Device info."
  • Install AnyCut by going to Android Market, and then touch "Search" and type in "AnyCut."
  • Create a shortcut on the phone's desktop.
  • Choose "AnyCut" from the list and choose "Device Info" as the "Activity."
  • Scroll to the end of the list and press "Check for updates."
  • Once the process has completed, exit to the home screen where you will be prompted to install the update.
One of the strongest features of the Android mobile phone operating system platform is found in its ability to receive updates as they become available. For those who can't wait their turn to get them, the manual update feature is a godsend. Also, the security advantage of Android updates should not be overlooked. As soon as vulnerabilities are discovered, developers are able to correct them and distribute them automatically to the phones to protect users from damage.

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