HTC U11 May Receive Three Major Android Updates, Exec Says

HTC U11 Promo Screenshot

The HTC U11 may receive three major Android updates over the course of its product lifecycle, the Taiwanese tech giant revealed after the announcement of its latest flagship. Chailin Chang, President of Smartphones and Connected Devices at HTC, said that the Taoyuan-based company is considering supporting its new high-end smartphone for more than two years, which is how long premium Android handsets are usually updated by their manufacturers. Chang confirmed that the HTC U11 will receive software packages containing “the next two versions of Android,” specifically referring to Android O and its successor that Google is expected to launch in 2018. While speaking at a press conference held earlier this week in Taipei, Chang said that HTC will extend the product lifecycle of the HTC U11 depending on whether it can meet “the hardware and software demands” of future Android versions, adding that the company is also considering potential value it can create for end users by committing resources to supporting its upcoming flagship for three years or even longer.

The HTC U11 is set to launch with Android 7.1 Nougat and HTC’s proprietary Sense software suite running out of the box and will likely be upgraded to Android O in the second half of the year once the Mountain View-based tech giant releases the first stable build of the latest iteration of its operating system. The Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer has yet to reveal details regarding the frequency of Android Security Updates for its new flagship, though the device is expected to be patched on a relatively regular basis. While Chang didn’t explicitly say that, it stands to reason that software support for the HTC U11 will only be extended past the standard two-year period provided that the company’s new smartphone sells reasonably well.

Following several years of disappointing market performance, HTC’s mobile division opted to change its handset design philosophy in an effort to bounce back from its recent issues. This conscious shift in design philosophy is why the HTC U11 boasts pressure-sensitive case edges, 3D audio recording, and a number of other unconventional features that the firm is hoping will help the device differentiate from its competitors. Time will tell whether HTC succeeds in that endeavor but an update on the commercial performance of the U11 should follow soon given how the smartphone is set to be released worldwide next month.