As security expert Cem Paya put it, that was a conscious decision Google made when it created Android. Paya called it a Faustian deal: “cede control over Android, get market-share against iPhone.” Basically, Google was happy to let carriers put their bloatware on their Android phones in exchange to having a chance to fight Apple for in the mobile market. The tradeoff was giving carriers and manufacturers control over their Android releases, leaving Google unable to centrally push out operating system updates.
I think that is giving Google far too big of a pass. Google could have still ceded this control to carriers, while still maintaining a way to push security updates, but they either didn’t think of it, or didn’t care to do that. That would infuriate me even more if I were an Android user.
Let me stress this out once more: the patches are ready to go. They were approved by Google months ago. But you won’t get them for another few weeks (if you’re lucky) or months (most likely) or never (a very solid possibility) depending how old your phone is—if it’s too old manufacturers just stop supporting them—and how lackadaisical your manufacturer and carrier are with regards to updates. Given the open nature of Android, pushing out updates, as Android Central put it, is a “messy, unpredictable business” that requires a lot of “moving parts.”