I think I’ve been closely monitoring the way different Android device manufacturers do with aftermarket software support for about 97 years, I think, and every year, during this period, I’m preparing for a brutal discovery.
Here’s what happens: Six months after the launch of a major operating system, most phones should be running that current software. I feel it’s a pretty obvious and undisputed statement.
And yet, every year, during this period, I start doing math (and making some cookies, because all the numerical analysis can make a child starve) and you know what I find? Almost inevitably, a surprisingly large chunk of state-of-the-art, high-priced Android phones are still stuck on 18-month-old software or have just received the update that should they received six months earlier.
At least in the last two cycles I’ve seen some about relative progress Yes it gets better with the delivery time of Android updates, even if the overall results were still pretty bad. So, we hoped that this year will continue that general trajectory and show us at least a more modest change in the right direction.
Yes, a lot about that.
Now that it’s been six months since the launch Android 11 , it’s time to take a step back and see who makes updates a priority and who treats them as a later thought. Get ready for some data-based wake-up calls.
- Times for the update to reach the current flagship: 0 days (60/60 points)
- It’s time for the update to reach the flagship of the previous generation: 0 days (30/30 points)
- Communication: Excellent (10/10 points)
The only unequivocal news with this year’s Android update cycle is probably the least surprising. Google is constantly doing a commendable job, putting the current Android software in the hands of people who buy their own Pixel products, with almost instant deployments for all current devices and no real reason to complain.
Not that one forever that was not the case at all. In reality, this is only the third year that Google has received a 100% score in this analysis. Until the launch of Android 9 in 2018, the company always easily failed with its top launch of the previous generation or had some anchors to let certain phone models hang more than others and then not communicate anything about its progress.
However, with Android 11, it’s a completely clean slate and a shining example of how must handle Android updates . Google announced Android 11, after a seven-month development preview period, and then began launching the software on its current-generation Pixel 4 flagship and previous-generation Pixel 3, along with its three-generation model. years. The Pixel 2 phone and all its mid-range «to» devices, no less, on the same day.
(For the purposes of this analysis, by the way, what matters is start from a launch to a flagship phone model in the US, how can you read more in detail here ).
And, although Google’s usual «rolling wave» asterisk applies to some degree, some pixel owners don’t receive the software at that time. as On the first day, Android 11 went to all supported Pixel devices within a reasonable amount of time and without the need for any additional communication beyond the company’s initial announcement. And of course, we could say that Google has a unique advantage in that it is both the manufacturer of the devices and the manufacturer of the software, but guess what? This is part of the Pixel package. And as a person who buys a phone, the only thing that really matters is the experience you get.
As usual, the results tell you everything you need to know: Google Phones is without a doubt the most reliable way to receive continuous updates in a timely manner on Android. It is the only company that offers an open guarantee in this regard and is absolutely the only one that does.
- Time to update to reach current flagships: 91 days (47/60 points)
- It’s time for the update to reach the flagships of the previous generation: 136 days (21/30 points)
- Communication: Poor (0/10 points)
We hear a lot of rumors about how Samsung is doing killing with updates lately. And you know what? In the company’s credit, Ha he did better than usual in relation to his own past performance. Hell, it’s in second place this year, though that says more about the rest of the ecosystem than Samsung itself. But when assess the level of support from the company With a consistent, standard ladder, you see that Sammy doesn’t exactly take her out of the park.
This year, in fact, Samsung did about the same thing it did last year, with some slight improvements in delivery times, but not enough to move the needle in its overall score. (Given that Samsung has so far treated its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones as co-flagships, by the way, I look at the delivery time of both to get a single score.)
And when you look back at your Android update history , you realize that all that has happened in recent years is that Samsung has returned to the level of mediocrity it reached six years ago, with Android 5.0 Lollipop release enabled 2014 . The company had a horrible series of bad years after that, so yes, yes. Ha I did better than those really hard years until late. Yes Ha It has maintained more phones than ever before and has actually received updates even on its non-flagship phones during this initial six-month period. That’s definitely something.
But a company cannot be evaluated only in relation to its own disappointments in the past and the low bar it has set for itself. And the number of different phone models that Samsung has to make shouldn’t be an important factor US , as people who pay for and use the devices. Again, regardless of the circumstances within the company from which you buy a phone, the only thing that matters in the end is the experience you have. you , as a customer, you receive.
And on this note, as usual, Samsung has made no effort to communicate with its customers about its update process or what to expect in this Android update cycle.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Samsung can and should do better. In particular, for a company of its size and with its huge financial and engineering resources, offering updates to people three to five months late (even now, with the benefits of the recent Google The Treble Project Android update processing enhancements instead ) is reduced to one thing and one thing: priority .
- Update time to reach current flagships: 33 days (55/60 points)
- Times For the update to reach the top model of the previous generation: still waiting (0/30 points)
- Communication: Mediocre (5/10 points)
After a solid series of three years of holding second place and constantly increasing its performance with Android updates, OnePlus has dropped a lot with the launch of Android 11. In fact, the company did pretty well with its current flagship phones, the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, but dropped the ball entirely with generation pilot previous , OnePlus 7T, which yet You did not receive the update at the time of writing, and this was enough to reduce your score considerably.
It also doesn’t help that OnePlus never does much in terms of communicating with customers about their progress. The first official approval of the company came in January , when he posted a message on his forums stating that he had encountered a «data decryption problem» with the OnePlus 7T phone and, as a result, it was running later than intended for the Android 11 delivery of that device. The expected recognition of four months is better than nothing, of course, and that’s why the company got a five-point communication score instead of a flat zero, but it’s not even close enough.
I can only hope that this stumble was a real coincidence and that OnePlus is back on track with Android 12 later this year. After following the company, it went from a 65% D score with Android 8 to a 74% C score with Android 9 and then a 85% B good enough With Android 10, it would be a real shame to see lower scores become your norm again.