Timely updates have always been a pain since the beginning of the Android era. No matter how good of a device you have, if it is from a third-party OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) – the chances of you getting a timely android platform update is equally unpromising. I am talking specifically about the Android version updates and not the security patches and bug fixes. Apart from Pixel and a couple of other devices, an Android upgrade within months of its release is a distant dream and for most of us, it never actually comes true. This is Sad! Isn’t it? So why do companies like Xiaomi, Samsung fail to provide timely Android updates to its users?
1. Android Update Process Is Slow
I have explained the whole process in this article but to brief it down, the entire Android Update Process is dead slow. It involves serval steps starting from the chipset manufacturer testing the source code which is then passed on to the OEMs who further layer it with their skins and performs further testing. So one of the biggest reasons why companies like Samsung, Xiaomi fail to provide timely Android updates is the process itself.
But, Can this be improved? Well, it certainly can be improved. Companies like Samsung, Xiaomi, LG focuses too much on their own skins that it takes a little extra effort for each of them every time a new Android update is out in the market.
Take Nokia (by HMD Global) for example – Ever since Nokia made a comeback last year, they have stuck with the near Stock Android user interface which has certainly helped them boost their update process. All the Nokia devices which were launched in 2017 are already running Android 8.0 Oreo or above. In fact, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 have also received Android 8.1 update which is absolutely amazing. Not only this, Nokia has also managed to launch its devices with Android 8.0 Oreo or above this year.
On the other hand, companies like Samsung and Xiaomi have continued their miserable run when it comes to Android updates. Even in 2018, most of Xiaomi devices still run on Android Nougat which, believe it or not, was released in the year 2016. Out of all the Xiaomi devices launched this year, and trust there were a lot, only the Redmi Y2 comes with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. What’s even sad is that Xiaomi is extremely terrible in providing Android updates which just adds to the user’s miseries.
2. Too Many Devices
I don’t understand why this practice is still being followed especially in the budget segment. Smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi, Samsung and even Lenovo in the recent past have launched way too many devices in the same price segment.
This gives birth to two problems – 1) It confuses the potential customers as to which is the better device. 2) The manufacturer eventually ends up dropping the support for most of these devices.
Lenovo is one of the prime examples who crowded its budget segment lineup and eventually delayed and even refused to provide any updates to some of its devices. Samsung, meanwhile, has never been applauded for its quick update schedule. Instead, the South Korean giant is so bad at updates that it actually takes about 15-18 months for it to roll out an update to its mid-range smartphones. The situation in the upper segment is relatively better.
Xiaomi, following the footsteps of Samsung, has landed itself in the same position at least when we talk about platform updates. I mean look at the number of devices in the 10-15K price segment, we have Redmi Note 5, Redmi Note 5 Pro, Redmi Y2 and hopefully the Mi A2 soon. I have not even considered Redmi 5 here which just touches the Rs 10K mark.
This is where companies like OnePlus plays smart. They know that they have limited resources so they stick to a maximum of 2 devices per year. My OnePlus 3 which is now more than 2 years old have had the Android Oreo 8.0 update for almost a year now (Oneplus 3/3T got Android Oreo in October last year via its Open Beta program).
So to conclude this debate, the state of Android updates can definitely be improved if companies like Samsung, Xiaomi etc. streamline their skins. However, these companies sell their skins as a feature and some if not all surely do like the added functionality they provide. What do you think? Do you prefer a skinned version of Android or Stock Android does the job for you?
Feature Image Credits: Tim Stuff (Flickr)