We’ve long held that Samsung is the undisputed king of Android updates. This has been a considerable achievement for a company that didn’t have a great track record with updates. It went from being an example of how not to create a software policy to basically out-Androiding Google.
This massive achievement was several years in the making. Over the past few years, Samsung has improved the pace at which it sends out software updates. The company also ensured that reliability wasn’t sacrificed at the altar of speed, as confirmed recently in an exclusive interview with us by Samsung VP Sally Jeong.
The company then made a major announcement early last year. It confirmed that Galaxy flagships and most mid-range devices will receive three major Android OS upgrades as well as security updates for four years. With almost every other Android OEM offering just two Android OS upgrades, Galaxy devices were already ahead of the pack.
Barely a year later, Samsung announced that eligible devices will now receive four Android OS upgrades and security updates for five years. At that time, even Google didn’t provide the same level of software support as Samsung was offering, no other Android OEM did. Samsung had clearly raised the bar for Android updates, leaving others with no choice but to follow in its footsteps.
OnePlus has done just that. The company has announced today that starting next year, select OnePlus phones will receive four Android OS upgrades and security patches for five years, matching Samsung’s commitment. The company hasn’t specified as yet which of its phones will be covered under this policy.
It’s also important to note here that OnePlus doesn’t offer any tablets. Samsung is the only Android tablet manufacturer that promises four Android upgrades for flagship models. That’s one of the many reasons why Samsung makes the only Android tablets worth buying.
Google’s current software policy for its Pixel devices promises three Android OS upgrades and four years of security patches. It has lagged behind Samsung since earlier this year and now also lags behind OnePlus. One would expect Google to be setting the bar high in this department, considering that it owns Android after all, but evidently it’s happy to let Samsung take the lead on this.
There’s no denying that Samsung rules Android. It sells the most Android-powered devices of any OEM every single year. The company also offers the best software update policy of any manufacturer. While OnePlus may only just start matching it, OnePlus phones don’t have the truly global reach and outstanding brand equity of Samsung’s Galaxy devices. This means that Samsung’s update policy provides its benefit to a lot more people across the globe compared to OnePlus.
It’s great to see that Samsung’s sheer dominance is inspiring others to step out and make similar commitments to their customers. Ultimately, it’s the customers that benefit from this. They’ll no longer feel the need to replace their phones as frequently as they did before, hopefully leading to reduced e-waste and more sustainability across the entire value chain.