LG's G5 and V20 have officially reached their end of life based on a recent change to the company's LG Security Bulletins page reported by XDA Developers. After the most recent update to that site, neither the LG G5 or V20 handsets are listed on the page alongside other devices that will be receiving updates moving forward. LG had initially indicated that it would offer a minimum of two years of updates for the phones and has mostly upheld its end of the bargain on that front. The LG G5 landed in March of 2016 while the larger V20 hit the market in September of that same year. That placed both in a bad position with regard to receiving an update to Android 9 Pie so both will stop receiving updates with Android Oreo, having last been included in the security update bulletin in December 2018.
Abandoning the old to make way for the new
Mobile manufacturers rarely manage more than one OS update per device for a number of reasons but there was some expectation that meant the larger flagship, the LG V20, would receive an update to Android 9 Pie. That's chiefly because it launched in September of 2016, placing the end of the LG V20's two-year lifespan months past the new software version's announcement in May. Conversely, there wasn't much hope for the LG G5 since its own two-year period ended in March. That both handsets were left on the above-mentioned security bulletin for so long did lead to some speculation that the update would eventually arrive. It shouldn't be too surprising that didn't happen but the history of updates over the life of the two devices was typical for the industry. Regardless, the OEM has been called out before for its slow update cycle and the decision will understandably disappoint at least some users.
The fact that LG has made the end of life for the LG G5 and V20 official, essentially abandoning those older devices, will ultimately be beneficial for newer devices. With the two-year mark now passed, the company's focus needs to be on its future devices and more recent handsets. Maintaining older devices can easily become a logistical problem for even the most careful companies and can slow down the development of software on newer smartphones. Given the increasing number and complexity of security risks on Android over the past twelve months, lagging behind on updates not only puts users at risk but is a liability for the company. That's setting aside the relatively big advancements made in mobile technology after more than two years in the case of the LG G5.
Newer devices don't just include 2017's LG G6 family of flagships, the G7 ThinQ, V30, V35, and V40 or the other more affordable devices still listed on LG's Security Bulletin either. The company has traditionally launched new devices in spring, usually between the start of March and end of May. That means keeping support for the G5 and V20 would also get in the way of maintaining at least one upcoming LG flagship — tentatively the LG G8 ThinQ –that could launch in just a couple of months. Maintaining support for old phones becomes even more of a problem if any unforeseen issues crop up after the initial launch. Since LG has not been performing as well in the market as many of its rivals such as Samsung, Huawei, and others, it needs its focus to be on making that device as consistently good as it can be.
Time to upgrade
Both of the two handsets that are no longer supported will continue working beyond their end of life. It also won't necessarily be impossible for users to continue getting updates from the wider Android development community by unlocking and rooting their phone before flashing aftermarket firmware. That can be a lengthy and somewhat strenuous process that isn't at all intended for the average user. For those users who aren't comfortable with that, it's probably time to consider an upgrade. For those in need of a flagship, it may be worth the wait to hold off for a bit. The LG G8 is likely to be announced closer to May and Samsung's in-house flagship event typically takes place around MWC 2019 at the end of February.