Android Upgrade Report Card: Grading the manufacturers on Oreo

I will pass forward and finish the suspense for you presently: Android upgrades are a large, scorching mess — and the location with Oreo is the worst now we have noticed to this point.

It is more or less embarrassing, in fact. However it will be important. And that’s the reason why I take some time to trace manufactuers’ efficiency on this space so intently yr after yr — as a result of tool issues. It impacts your enjoy extra considerably on a day by day foundation over the lifetime of a contemporary cell system than every other function or component. And but, it has a tendency to get the least quantity of consideration.

To wit: Over the approaching days, Samsung and different Android device-makers will take the degree to sing their own praises their newest and largest wares. Their new telephone fashions be masses spectacular, unquestionably — gorgeously designed works of machine artwork. We will pay attention about each and every ever-shrinking bezel, each and every contemporary feat of engineering, each and every new “sensible” function that sounds wildly spectacular (however is sure to most commonly fall flat if truth be told).

You understand what we would possibly not pay attention a peep about, regardless that? The producers’ commitments — or lack thereof — to supporting and updating all the ones smartphones after you plunk down your hard earned money to shop for ’em. Maximum Android device-makers do not like to attract consideration to that space, and for just right explanation why.

Bet what, regardless that? Smartphones are pricey merchandise that almost all folks personal for 2 and even 3 years. And if you are going to buy a telephone from a producer that does not make upgrades a concern, your system goes to be endlessly outdated and in the back of the curve when it comes to each technological progressions and platform safety.

You won’t be capable of pressure a producer to make well timed and dependable ongoing upgrades a concern, however you can arm your self with wisdom about how other producers generally tend to means post-sales tool fortify — after which make an informed choice about what kind of improve enjoy you wish to have (or are keen to just accept) forward of your subsequent telephone acquire.

Now that we are six complete months previous the release of the newest primary Android unlock, Android 8.0 Oreo, it’s time to step back and look at who’s making upgrades a priority and who’s treating them as an afterthought.

Brace yourselves, gang. This one’s rough.

(Want the full nitty-gritty on how these grades were calculated? You can find a detailed breakdown of the formula and every element taken into account at the very end of this article.)


Android Oreo Upgrade: GoogleJR
  • Length of time for upgrade to reach current flagship: 9 days (60/60 points)
  • Length of time for upgrade to reach previous-gen flagship: 18 days (29/30 points)
  • Communication: Mediocre (5/10 points)

With its Pixel line, Google officially became a full-fledged Android phone manufacturer. But even before, with its Nexus devices, it played the same role as far as updates go — acting as the sole provider of all rollouts and software-related matters.

In this report card, we see one final split of those two programs. At the time of Oreo’s debut, Google’s first-gen Pixel was its current flagship and its Nexus 6P and 5X were its previous leading phones. (The newer Pixel 2 didn’t go on sale until October, well after Oreo’s debut and with Android 8.0 in place from the get-go, so it isn’t relevant to this analysis.)

The results for that lineup are mostly good, though not perfect: The rollout of Oreo to original Pixel owners started on August 29, nine days after the software’s debut. That’s a bit behind Google’s typical immediate rollout window, but it’s still perfectly reasonable — and still well within the one-to-14-day range for a top-of-line mark in these scoring standards.

Nexus 6P and 5X owners waited a bit longer, meanwhile, with the first confirmed general rollouts (not beta-tester-related) starting on September 7 and then spreading out slowly to more users over the subsequent weeks.

On that note, we have to mention that Google, rather infamously, rolls out its updates “in waves” — which means some people end up waiting days or even weeks longer than others to receive the software. That’s a deliberate process designed to keep unexpected bugs or issues from reaching large groups of users before they can be addressed. It can understandably be a source of frustration for eager device-owners in the later parts of the rollouts, but for the purposes of this analysis, it’s the start of the rollout that counts.

The real issue with Google’s update performance — and it’s one we see pretty consistently over time — is that the company’s communication could stand to be better. Aside from its initial August 21 announcement that “carrier testing” was underway for all devices and rollouts would start “soon” — and then an equally vague August 31 tweet that rollouts had begun for “Nexus and Pixel” gadgets, normally — Google did not supply a lot else when it comes to reliable information about its procedure. That suggests customers who have been ready have been necessarily at midnight, every so often for a number of weeks, and not using a signal of the improve and no concept what was once occurring or how lengthy the wait could be. A easy standing record web page with information about the state of the rollout for various system permutations and areas would pass some distance.

Between that less-than-stellar communique and the frustrations that every so often end result from its staged rollout procedure, Google’s Android gadgets are under no circumstances flawless on the subject of OS upgrades. Even so, they stand in a league of their very own — with out query essentially the most dependable strategy to obtain ongoing updates in a well timed, if no longer at all times completely rapid, method.

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