Counterpoint Research's latest report sheds light at the speed with which Android updates are issued by vendors to different devices. Despite having a considerably lower market share than industry bigwigs, Nokia is the most efficient one when it comes to timely updates.
Nokia's Android Updates Game Is Strong At All Levels
Of all the Nokia devices that have come out since Q3 2018, a staggering 96 percent are running Android Pie. Comparatively, 89 percent of Samsung's handsets sold cumulatively during the same period are on the latest version of Android. Huawei and Xiaomi trail closely with 84 percent and 82 percent of their phones respectively running or having access to Android 9 Pie via an update. Counterpoint also praised Xiaomi for launching midrangers with the latest version of Android, something few vendors do.
The report also highlights the time it takes manufacturers to roll out the latest Android updates after their release. Underdog Nokia comes at the top once again. The HMD Global led brand issued the latest updates to more than 90 percent of its devices within a year of their launch. Interestingly, Nokia has a huge lead over other manufacturers in this regard.
Xiaomi Is Faster At Issuing Updates Than Samsung And Huawei
Xiaomi is the second-fastest vendor, sending out the latest software updates to more than 60 percent of its smartphones within a year of their launch. Lenovo also does a pretty good job, shipping updates to more than half of its phones during the same period. It took Huawei about a year to update 40 percent of its portfolio to the latest software version, while Samsung only managed to roll out updates to just over 20 percent of its handsets during the same time.
It's worth mentioning that Google, OnePlus, and Essential haven't been listed because they don't come under the top ten smartphones. Otherwise, we would have surely found them on the higher echelons. It's a little surprising that despite being the largest vendor, Samsung is relatively slow when it comes to updates. OPPO and LG also need to step up their game.
Alcatel and Tecno are the worst performers, but Counterpoint attributes that to the fact that bulk of their sales are made of entry-level handsets. These retail at price points below $200 and their lifecycle is as little as six months. Thus, it wouldn't make much sense to push out swift updates.
As Counterpoint notes, software is nearly as important as hardware. Software impacts battery life, device performance, and camera results heavily. And most importantly, timely security updates are necessary for keeping devices safe.
With Upgrade Cycles Getting Longer, Timely Updates Are More Important Than Ever
Most vendors aren't as efficient with updates as perhaps they should be. Per the report, a good many consumers in the U.S., Europe, and China stick to their flagships for as long as 30 months, and this makes regular updates all the more important. Otherwise, aged hardware with older versions of software will not make for a very pleasing experience.
Another observation made by Counterpoint Research is that manufacturers prioritize premium devices over mid and low tier smartphones when issuing updates. However, as the analytics firm points out, timely updates are as important for lower-cost phones as high priced ones. Surprisingly, consumers do not seem to care about this. Per Counterpoint, the reason behind this is low awareness.