Updates are undoubtedly Google’s biggest problem with Android. While newer versions bring the features users want, it can be ages before major OEMs adopt that version, and well over a year before it becomes the market’s majority, if ever. Today, a “report card” for Android updates has hit the web, and the results are just pathetic…
Nomad case for Pixel 3
It’s been six months since Android Oreo hit the market, and even longer since the developer previews first went live. Despite that, Oreo updates from major manufacturers, even those that made promises of quick updates, are still not yet released. ComputerWorld took a closer look at who has put out updates and how long it took. The results are seriously just sad.
Of course, things start with Google, the one positive note. Since the company develops Android it, of course, earned an A with its Pixel lineup. Oreo was first released to the public on the Pixel, so this doesn’t come as any surprise at all. It wasn’t a perfect score at 94%, but at that point, we’re just talking days to get the update even on previous-gen devices. A lack of communication also took off some points as well.
The real issue with Google’s update performance — and it’s one we see pretty consistently over time — is that the company’s communication could stand to be better. Aside from its initial August 21 announcement that “carrier testing” was underway for all devices and rollouts would start “soon” — and then an equally vague August 31 tweet that rollouts had begun for “Nexus and Pixel” devices, in general — Google didn’t provide much else in terms of official info about its process. That means users who were waiting were essentially in the dark, sometimes for several weeks…
In second place, we’ve got OnePlus. Sound a little off? It might. Seeing that Oreo just finally rolled out to all OnePlus 5 owners two months ago. That 138-day gap caused the company to earn a D at 65%. Again, keep in mind this is our second place contestant. There’s a silver lining in that it took 91 days for the OnePlus 3/T to get Oreo, but that’s arguably a negative. The report card didn’t even consider the OnePlus 5T, which launched after Oreo’s release and only got the update last month.
So, first place gets an A, second place gets a D. You can see where this story is going, right? Every other Android manufacturer got a D when it comes to Oreo updates, and that’s because hardly any have actually started Oreo updates. HTC (49%) and Motorola (45%) took less than 125 days (99 for HTC U11) to update their current-gen flagships to Oreo, but have yet to do so for the previous generation. LG and Samsung have beta tested or started limited rollouts of their Oreo upgrades, but neither has done anything globally yet, earning both a big fat 0%.
It’s important to note that this “report card” primarily focuses on the US market and its biggest players, so a lot of smaller players who have adopted Oreo aren’t included.
As a footnote, ComputerWorld gives worthy shoutouts to Sony and Nokia, both of whom have performed better than any players aside from Google. Sony managed to get updates to current and previous generation devices within just a couple of months of Oreo’s release and would’ve earned a C. Nokia did even better, updating its flagship to Oreo three months after release, and then following up with Android 8.1 after that. There’s not enough of a track record to score them, but based on the Nokia 8 flagship and all the updates the company has been rolling out to its budget devices, it’s a good start for sure.
Where does that leave us? To be honest, it’s just sad. With Nougat, OEMs were much quicker to adopt, but Oreo has seen little traction so far. With Samsung and others preparing to launch more phones, this is a good reminder to consider the future of your phone before you drop your cash on it. If you really want updates, Google is clearly the right choice.