When it comes to updates, Nexus and Google Play edition devices are always expected to get the latest version of Android first. Though Google Play edition devices may be a bit behind Nexus devices, they are both supposed to be up to date within a few weeks of the latest version of Android being pushed out. But Google has changed the wording of the software update policy for both types of devices that might worry some.
More specifically, this line was added to both the Nexus and Google Play edition sections:
Based on your carrier, it may take longer than two weeks after release to get an update.Google
Considering that Nexus devices are supposed to be entirely separate from the carrier, this line does indeed sound a bit scary. But it’s most likely just to cover Google’s behind in case anything happens, like Verizon holding back the update for the Nexus 7 LTE (and people were mad about that).
From the Nexus 7 LTE debacle, it’s easy to see that carriers have some minor power over stopping updates going out to Nexus/GPe devices over an issue that they have found. It isn’t very likely, as past updates have gone through without trouble, but it’s possible. And because of that, it looks like Google wants to make sure people understand it’s a possibility. That way Google won’t get the blame for it.
In the end, this probably won’t change a thing. However, it’s good for people to know that there is a risk for your carrier to mess up an update schedule if it really wants to.