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Why does the Nexus line not have these driver issues?

Cannot give a completely satisfying answer because I don't know. But running basically stock android and being Google helps a lot. One thing I forgot to mention but which usually adds a couple of weeks extra is the certification process you have to go through. Assuming Google can speed that up a bit for itself.

nVidia are also keeping up with their Shield hardware.

nVidia are using their own hardware so therefore they write their own drivers. Most OEMs outsource to Qualcomm or MediaTek.

It does as well.

IIRC the Galaxy Nexus for example was abandoned because TI left the mobile business and could not provide new drivers.

Google, at least in the past, wrote their own drivers when they had to. Most OEMs do not.

Of course it does. (Read last comment) https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=67113

Sure, but the question is whether dealing with more driver bugs is the price Nexus users are paying for faster updates. That's hard to conclude from one specific case.

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