They are considered to be extremely important. Nay, make that essential, for the wellbeing of your smartphone, keeping it speedy and secure. And yet they are got given the sort of importance they merit. We are talking about software updates in general and Android updates in particular. Counterpoint just came out with a report on software updates and trends, titled “Software and Security Updates: The Missing Link for Smartphones.” And well, its revelations about global software and security updates will surprise quite a few people, especially in the geek brigade.
The report is available online, but here are some of the striking points in it: (the data is based on global cumulative sales in the Q3’18 – Q2’19 period)
Nokia is the boss of software updates
It might still be on the road back to sales supremacy, but when it comes to software updates, Nokia is in a zone of its own. A staggering 96 percent of its phones run on Android Pie, with only 4 percent on the previous version, Android 8.1. It is a stunning statistic by any standards. Add to that the fact that the brand was able to deliver software updates to 94 percent of its portfolio within a year of the launch of the latest version of Android (Pie) and you can see why we are calling Nokia the boss of software updates.
Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei are not too bad either
Nokia’s being the top dog in software updates did not really surprise us. After all, the brand has been championing stock Android on its journey back, and it is part of the Android One initiative, which generally assures quick software updates. It is, however, the identity of the next three in the list that surprised us. We do tend to take potshots at Samsung, Xiaomi, and Huawei for not being quick with software updates. Well, turns out that these folks are pretty good at it. Samsung has 89 percent phones on Pie; Xiaomi has 84 percent and Huawei has 82 percent.
Not Pie country beyond the top four, not even for Moto
But if the big four have done well in Android updates, what is really shocking is how badly the others are doing. After Huawei at 82 percent, none of the other brands in the research have Pie on even fifty percent of their phones. The biggest surprise here is Lenovo, which has Motorola under its wing. Motorola, now, had been instrumental in making stock Android a mainstream thing in 2014 and has always championed a clean Android experience. Even Lenovo moved to it later. However, only 43 percent of Lenovo phones have been updated to Android Pie. Oppo has 35 percent, Vivo only 18 percent and LG a measly 16 percent. Mind you, anything is better than Tecno at 5 percent.
Vivo, Oppo and the Oreo affection
Huawei and Xiaomi proved the theory about Chinese brands not being quick with Android updates wrong, but Vivo and Oppo pretty much prove it right. The latter two brands clearly ova e Oreo as their Android biscuit of choice – Vivo has a staggering 73 percent phones on Oreo and Oppo 51 percent, making the OS the cream on most of their phone-y biscuits! That’s not really the greatest news.
Marshmallow is still around…and some still suck Lollipop!
You would have thought that in this day and age, devices with Android Marshmallow (Android 5, 2015) and Android Lollipop (5.0 and 5.1, 2014) would have more or less disappeared. Nothing of the sort. They are alive and kicking, though not in massive numbers. Samsung, LG, Tecno, Alcatel, and Huawei sold devices on Marshmallow in the period of the report and Samsung and LG even sold devices running Lollipop!
Want updates? Get a high-end device to improve your chances
When it comes to the regularity of updates, the report states that high-end devices get updates first generally, as evidently having the latest software is important when it comes to the flagship and mid-segment devices. Not surprisingly, Nokia was found to be the brand that updated its portfolio the fastest. Xiaomi came second and surprisingly, Lenovo came in third. As per the reports, brands that mostly had devices at low price points tended to be “laggards” when it came to updates.
Software updates? We are not bothered, say consumers
Perhaps one of the most stunning facts revealed by the report is that consumers do not really consider software updates to be an important factor. In fact, operating systems and security updates did not appear among the ten features consumers say they care about most. The report says that this could be because very few brands and manufacturers are talking about it.