It took all of 2 minutes to announce the Platform Development Kit (PDK) at I/O this week, but going forward, it should change the way device manufacturers deliver updates to you. What exactly is it, you ask? The PDK is early access to the newest Android build for hardware and chipset makers. So companies like Motorola, HTC, Samsung, NVIDIA, and Texas Instruments will now be able to prep their current and future hardware for the newest version of Android before it ever goes public.
For example with Jelly Bean, Google gave a “few” of their hardware partners access to the PDK over the last couple of weeks to help them make it ready for more partners. After receiving feedback, it is now live for all partners to take advantage of. Going forward, PDK’s for new Android releases will be made available 2-3 months before the code ever drops to the public.
You can probably imagine how important this is going to be for future software updates. If OEMs have access to Android months before it is ever announced, they can attempt to have it ready for handset or tablet deployment at launch. This would give them the opportunity to launch new devices with the newest OS and hopefully turn around and update previously released phones faster, as well. They will essentially be able to watch Google develop new versions of Android and start working on porting it to their hardware along the way.
We aren’t exactly sure who the “few” partners were that helped them develop the PDK, but you have to assume that Asus is one. We wouldn’t be surprised if most of the Transformer line all received Jelly Bean within days of it going live, which just so happens to be mid-July.