Six months after the launch of Android 10, how did the device manufacturers manage to bring the software into the hands of users? The ratings are active – and they have a few surprises.
I’m not going to lie – this time of year is usually a little depressing here in the country of Android analysis.
I’ve been tracking the speed of device manufacturers to push Android operating system updates on their devices for some time, you see, since the early 1800’s. And, with rare exceptions, the results are almost always bad news.
Calling it «bad news» is probably generous: with almost every year in recent memory, we’ve seen the performance of delivering updates to most major Android device manufacturers gradually worsen, despite Google’s ongoing efforts to facilitate the process. Last year was a small exception, with some moderate improvements, but it was still a ridiculously depressing picture overall, with only two classes failing in a sea of cold nonchalance.
And this was the first true test of Google Project Treble, a massive effort to separate Android into multiple layers so that phone makers can make updates faster and more efficiently without having to mess with any code. lower level for each. New version of Android. It was the year when everything had to improve significantly. But it wasn’t like that, at least not by far, it should be.
Well, this year, for the first time in my memory, there are reasons for optimism. Just the slightest bit of optimism, you care, but hey – it’s something. And it is a stark contrast to the typical sense that these results provide.
So, without further ado, now that it’s been six full months since the launch of Android 10, it’s time to take a step back and see who makes updates a priority and who treats them as a thought. Get ready for some data-driven truths.
(Do you want detailed information on how these notes were calculated? A detailed breakdown of the formula and each item considered can be found at the end of this article.)
- Time to upgrade to the current flagship: 0 days (60/60 points)
- Time to upgrade to the previous generation: 0 days (30/30 points)
- Communication: Excellent (10/10 points)
The sight of Google at the top of the heap is probably not a huge surprise, but believe it or not, this is only the second year that Google has received a 100% score in this analysis. Until last year, the company always gave up, easily, with its previous generation pilot, or at least lost some points because it left some phone models suspended longer than others and then did not communicate anything about its progress. .
However, with Android 10, there is really nothing to complain about and there are no docking points. Google announced Android 10 and then started launching the software on its current generation Pixel 3 flagship model and on the previous generation Pixel 2 model on the same day. (For the purpose of this review, it is the beginning of a launch that counts for a flagship US phone model, as you can read in more detail here.) Google even distributed a small bonus and included in the mix its original Pixel 2016 phone, which is outside its guaranteed update window.
And, although the usual «launch» asterisk has been applied to some extent, Android 10 has reached all pixel owners in a reasonable amount of time, without the need for any additional communication beyond the company’s initial announcement.
Pixel updates may not always be immediate, given the step-by-step implementation process that Google often uses, but they are always fairly fast and consistent in their own league. Sure, we could argue that Google has a unique advantage in being both a device manufacturer and a software manufacturer, but guess what? This is part of the package.
And the results tell you everything you need to know: Google phones are without a doubt the most reliable way to receive continuous, timely updates on Android. It is the only company that openly offers a guarantee in this regard, let alone honoring it, and it is the only company that now offers such support for three years from the date of launch of a phone, compared to the typical window. Two years, giving your devices even greater value in the long run.
- Time to upgrade to the current flagship: 18 days (58/60 points)
- Time to upgrade to reach the flagship of the previous generation: 93 days (24/30 points)
- Communication: poor (3/10 points)
Coming in second place for the third year in a row, OnePlus has managed admirably to install Android 10 on all its recent devices. The company’s current pair, OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro, saw their updates at the same time in late September, an impressive 18 days after the software’s release. Meanwhile, the two flagship ships of the previous generation, OnePlus 6 and 6T, were initially upgraded in November, but were postponed until early December due to problems with the initial launch. That puts them just over 90 days from the launch date of Android 10, which is by no means exemplary, but neither is it terrible, from all points of view.
As was the case in the past, OnePlus has not done much in communicating with customers: no official estimates, no promises, no significant updates or ETAs along the way. The company’s communication is mostly limited to announcements on its forums when the launch begins. It’s more than what some companies offer, but it’s still not enough; If you have a OnePlus device, all you can do is wait blindly and hope that the update will appear on your phone soon.
However, it is a commendable overall performance and it is encouraging to see that OnePlus continues to improve steadily with each passing year. (Although surprisingly, it ranked second in the last two years, its scores for 2019 and 2018 were 74% C and 65% D, respectively – not exactly what you would expect to see in the silver medal.)
It would certainly be nice to see a few more A-level scores in the mix, but a solid B-rank performance is not bad at all. Unfortunately, things are getting much, much worse here.
- Update time to reach your current flagship: 106 days (47/60 points)
- Time to upgrade to the previous generation’s logo: 147 days (21/30 points)
- Communication: poor (0/10 points)
Samsung has received serious support to improve its update performance with the release of Android 10 this year and absolutely should! The company did better in this round than it has in recent years, with the first launch of Android 10 in the US reaching the current flagship Galaxy S10 of the current generation in mid-December and the flagship Note 10 of the current generation only a little later. in the moon. (Because Samsung treats its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones as co-flagships, I look at the delivery time to both devices and then the media to get a single score.)
However, we cannot evaluate Samsung only in relation to its own disappointments in the past. After all, when the bar has been embarrassingly put down for so long, «not entirely horrible» suddenly looks great. But in itself, delivering an Android update more than a hundred days after launch is nothing to celebrate. And even in the Samsung-specific overview, all the performance it does is bring the company back to the level of adequacy it reached five years ago, with the launch of Android 5.0 Lollipop in 2014.
The same can be said for the iconic performance of the previous generation of Samsung, which, again, is a massive improvement over last year’s embarrassing demo, but ultimately sends software only to a phone with an old price of one year five months late. And again, it basically brings Samsung back to where it was, with its disappointing 2014 level of Android update performance. To insult, Samsung never makes any effort to communicate with customers about the process or what to expect along the way.
I have said it before and I will say it again: Samsung can and should do better. Especially for a company of its size and with its huge financial and engineering resources, unable to provide updates to people after all those months (now with the benefits of Google Project Treble improvements, no less) It comes down to one thing and one thing: priorities .