Well, it took a while for the cue to arrive, but the smartphone industry now appears to have started following Samsung’s lead with Android updates. The first rival to do so is Chinese Vivo, which just mirrored Samsung’s blockbuster pledge from the summer of 2020. There’s a tiny catch here, though: the Vivo smartphones that will be receiving three generations’ worth of Android OS upgrades are… to be announced.
The guarantee only goes into effect from July onward. Presumably, Vivo will release a bunch of devices just beforehand, then try to make a connection between the two. Without, you know, actually investing in a better user experience. Oh, and the promise only applies to its flagship smartphone family, the Vivo X series. Also, some countries might not be included because stuff like money and money.
Who, besides Samsung can afford after-sales support?
A couple of days earlier, Vivo’s sister company OPPO looked toward Android updates as well. Its gesture was a bit more concrete in the sense that it at least promised three generations of operating system updates for its entire Find X3 lineup. Which is better than promising a promise, but still pretty weak when Samsung’s three-year-old entry-level phones continue to receive regular security patches.
This course of events isn’t really surprising, we’ve been anticipating it for a while, because Xiaomi and co. simply cannot afford to blindly follow Samsung. They’re already operating on razor-thin margins with little wiggle room for optimization. “Optimization” and “after-sales” support can’t even be in the same sentence, as far as their business strategy is concerned. Which might have made sense during rabid growth, but now, the time has come to run a sustainable business. And no one bar Samsung seems to have a clue as to what that means in the context of the Android ecosystem.