Android 12 Upgrade Report Card: What a Weird Year

In the software world, six months is an eternity.

Heck, look at how much has happened in the past six months since Android 12 came into the universe. Google started and then finished a massive 0.1-style update that lays the groundwork for major big-screen improvements to the Android experience. It is now in its general development stage next one The big Android version, Android 13 – which is the quick to build up version on most people’s minds at this point.

However, a lot of people out there in the Android world are somehow still Waiting for last year’s Android 12 update to get access to its latest versions, not even-remotePhones on a budget level.

That’s why I started making these Android upgrade report cards about 6,942 years ago — because from the average phone owner’s perspective, there’s no way of knowing what will happen six months after you’ve bought the device and how well the manufacturer will support it.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned (and/or old in general), but that just doesn’t work for me. You’re the one who pays good money for a piece of technology. You need to have the context you need to make an informed and informed decision about which product is right for you – not just for the first few weeks you have it but for the two to three years your pregnancy is likely to have.

[Get fresh ‘n’ tasty insight in your inbox with my Android Intelligence newsletter. Three things to know and three things to try every Friday!]

This year is a little strange. One of the oldest Android core hardware makers is no longer in the picture, two new contenders are about to enter the arena, and atypical styles appear left and right with some of the most consistent (for better or worse) typical of an Android game.

Despite all that, the data doesn’t lie. Thankfully, this year’s numbers do speak volumes.

Now that it’s been six months since Android 12 was released, it’s time to step back and look at who makes upgrades a priority and who treats them as an afterthought. Only you decide how important this information is to you (hint: it matters – a lot), but whether you find aftermarket software support a top priority or an irrelevant asterisk, you deserve to be armed with all the data that enables you to make informed purchasing decisions. In the future.

So without further ado, here it is.

(Want the full details on how to calculate these estimates? You can find a detailed breakdown of the formula and each item considered at the end of this article.)

google

Android Upgrade Report Card (2022): Google - 97% A+ JR
  • Length of time to upgrade to current Major: 16 days (58/60 points)
  • Length of time required to upgrade to access previous generation flagships: 16 days (29/30 points)
  • communication: Excellent (10/10 points)

The release of Android 12 was somewhat unusual for Google – I tell you it was a strange year! – In terms of the company’s delivery of the latest and greatest Android software he did not do Coincides with the software version.

Oftentimes, Google starts rolling out the Pixel at the same time a new Android version is announced. This year, we’ve seen an embarrassing gap of just over two weeks between when Android 12 appears, in initial code form, and when anyone Was actually able to use it on a working phone.

However, 16 days is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to wait, and Google has been pretty clear from the start when to expect the current Pixel phones to arrive. I also managed to get the update for Pixel owners before anyone else in the Android ecosystem despite that start being a bit later than usual.

(For the purposes of this analysis, by the way, it’s a file Start From the rollout – to a flagship phone model in the US – that counts, as you can read about it in more detail here.)

But what’s even more impressive is the fact that Google treats all of its phones as equal — meaning that even if you own a previous generation device or a lower-priced Pixel “a” model, you’re getting major updates like Android 12 at the same time for owners. The flagship phones of the current generation. This is a sharp contrast to the way every other hardware maker handles their lineup, and that’s pretty much the way it works should to be.

And while the usual Google asterisk always applies to a certain degree, with some Pixel owners not receiving the software on that first day, Android 12 made its way to all supported Pixel devices within a reasonable time and without the need for any additional communication following the company’s announcement initial.

For the standard caveat here: Sure, we could say Google has a unique advantage in that it’s both the hardware manufacturer and the software maker — but guess what? This is part of the Pixel package. And as someone who buys a phone, the only thing that really matters is the experience you receive.

And as always, the results tell you everything you need to know: Google phones are undoubtedly the most reliable way to receive constant, timely updates on Android. Google is the only company that offers an explicit guarantee about upgrade deliveries as part of their hardware purchase package, and it’s certainly the only company that consistently delivers on that front, year in and year out.

Samsung

Android Upgrade Report Card (2022): Samsung - 83% B JR
  • Length of time to upgrade to current Major: 65 days (52/60 points)
  • Length of time required to upgrade to access previous generation flagships: 95 days (24/30 points)
  • communication: Good (7/10 points)

Continuing our “weird year” theme, Samsung is in the midst of a transition with its hardware lineup, so which models make the most sense to treat it as a true flagship. In 2021, Samsung clarified that its flagship Note line was out of the picture and that it was looking at the foldable Fold model as the future of its flagships — the equivalent, for now, of the base Galaxy S phone. Brand.

So for our current analysis, we’ll be looking at a mix of the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy Z Fold 3, as the two are framed as home base equals in the 2021 product release cycle.

But in 2020, it was a slightly different story. At that point, the Note was still around and was treated as the equivalent of the Galaxy S line in its flagships. And foldable phones were more than an experience and less of a mainstream entity. So 2020 will follow us Previous A model for treating a mix of Galaxy S and Galaxy Note models right now as this year’s flagship phones, and this will likely be the last year that mix happens.

With all that said, Samsung did a decently good job on this roundup – a notable sign of its surprisingly poor showing with Android 11 last year, though the story of pure glory is still not quite as fruitless as the slightly misleading headlines surrounding each of the offerings will all believe. Samsung.

For its official notch, Samsung came in just over two months ago to bring Android 12 to the current generation of flagships in the US – but remember, that’s it Rate From the company’s performance with two Common main products. For the Galaxy S21, it was actually a 44-day wait, while with the Z Fold 3, a delivery delay of 86 days was much less desirable.

As usual with Samsung, it’s in the previous generation where things take an unfortunate turn. The company came in 95 days — more than a quarter of a year — to bring Android 12 to its Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20 phones. (The timings for Monday were pretty close: 96 days and 93 days, respectively) distasteful The result is relative, but certainly not great.

However, it represents Samsung’s best results and fastest performance with Android upgrade delivery to date. In fact, this year is the first time Samsung has crept into the double-digit territory with upgrade timing; In every two years since I’ve been analyzing this, delivery times have been near three digits of days.

Another area where Samsung has seen significant improvement is its communications, which has traditionally been a major weakness in the company’s Android upgrade process. Normally, Samsung makes no effort whatsoever to communicate with its customers about the upgrade process or what to expect along the way.

This year, fortunately, that has changed: the company has already released a specific breakdown of which phones it was planning to upgrade and when! Sure enough, it wasn’t until more than a month after the release of Android 12 that it only shared the information within a limited-access app to Samsung Members rather than making it public in a way that was more likely to reach more people – hence the imperfect connection result – but It’s still a huge leap forward and we can only hope it becomes the new norm.

Overall, it’s a positive story for Samsung in this cycle. It’s too early to tell if the new trends will hold true or if we’ll see another return to mediocrity in the next year or two, as happened with Samsung before – but for now, we’ll take it.

oneplus

Android Upgrade Report Card (2022): OnePlus - 76% C JR
  • Length of time to upgrade to current Major: 75 days (52/60 points)
  • Length of time required to upgrade to access previous generation flagships: 167 days (19/30 points)
  • communication: Average (5/10 points)

It’s an odd year for OnePlus in general at the moment, as the company is working through a merger with Chinese phone brand Oppo and setting its focus on the future. From canceled phones to ill-conceived software moves (and subsequent backtracking), the transition has been a bit tricky and at times difficult.

However, in the midst of it all, the company has already managed to move in the right direction with its Android upgrade deliveries. After an embarrassingly bad cycle with Android 11, OnePlus pushed its performance into the right direction by rolling out Android 12 for the current generation OnePlus 9 series 75 days after software release and for the previous generation OnePlus 8/8T series 167 days later.

To be clear, these numbers are nothing to celebrate, especially on the latter front. took nearly half a year To have your phone’s current software best in line from one release cycle earlier – still carried by a lot of top paying customers – is totally unacceptable.

But it’s at least an improvement over last year, even if it’s not back where OnePlus was with its upgrade deliveries the year before that.

It is definitely a better story than next one The company is on our list.

Next page: The bottom of the barrel – some rays of hope for the future