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Is Samsung or Huawei the best brand for reliable Android software updates?

Research has revealed which smartphone brands are the most — and least — reliable at rolling out Android software updates. Which comes out on top?

The report reveals that Nokia is actually the most reliable brand for software updates, with nearly all of its devices getting a piece of the (Android) Pie, while Samsung came in second place and Huawei in fourth, just behind Xiaomi.

At the rear of the pack, the only named brands to perform worse than LG were budget manufacturers Tecno and Alcatel.

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The research from Counterpoint analysed the software run on units sold over the past year. Impressively, 96% of such devices from Nokia are running the latest Android 9, and none are running an OS earlier than Android 8.1.

This praiseworthy software support is due in no small part to the Android One software present on the majority of its devices, which guarantees operating system updates for at least two years. The same figure for Samsung and Huawei was 89% and 82% respectively, whose custom user interface skins make software updates a little trickier for developers.

Credit: Counterpoint Research

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Lenovo (Motorola) devices were split more or least equally between Android 9 and Android 8 operating system, but at the other end of the scale, LG revealed a shameful lack of software support for its smartphones: a mere 16% of its devices ran Android Pie, with almost double that figure still running Android 7.1 and earlier. The worst recorded performance was logged by Tecno; only 5% of its devices ran Android 9.

These figures have been released just weeks before we expect to see Android 10 rolled out. The first operating system in the series not to borrow its name from a sweet treat (such as KitKat, Lollipop, or Jelly Bean), plenty of neat software tricks have already been confirmed and beta-tested, including Dark Theme, full gesture navigation and new privacy tools regarding location tracking and control of identifying information.

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Let’s hope that manufacturers follow Nokia’s lead and are quick to introduce this latest software to consumers.

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