The smartphone experience consists in equal parts of hardware and software. While the former cannot really be upgraded after purchase, manufacturers can (and should) update the latter regularly to close security loopholes and improve functionality. There is no mandatory minimum software upgrade period that Android manufacturers must adhere to, but what if there was one?
We asked you in a recent survey what you think should be the minimum software upgrade period that manufacturers should adhere to for all Android phones. The results are here!
What should be the minimum software upgrade period for each Android phone?
Our poll was originally published on August 10th and garnered over 7,700 votes. This topic is of course important to our readers.
Of the four options available, it’s not really surprising that “more than three years” got the most love. Just over 45% of readers think manufacturers should adopt this long-term approach to updates. “At least three years” lagged behind slightly and achieved 41.1% of the vote. This suggests that 86.4% of the Android authority Readers who vote in this survey would like at least three years of support on all Android devices.
See also: Dear OEMs, your Android update policy should have nothing to do with PR
Few respondents are open to shorter update support periods. At least one in ten readers would be content with a two-year software upgrade commitment, while 3.4% are satisfied with one-year updates from the manufacturer.
In the comments, several readers highlighted the update policies of other platforms, namely Windows and Linux. Some called for at least ten years of updates to keep the devices relevant and reduce waste. Read some more reader thoughts below.
- smileyhead: It would be my dream if Android would work like Windows in the sense that the same system runs on every device and gets every update. Of course, manufacturers could still bundle their own skins (this would require adequate skinning support, hard) and apps, just like they do with Windows laptops.
- Glyn Stuckey: My dream would be if Android worked more like Linux. Proprietary software, of course, but also open source and continue to support the hardware until it not only reaches the end of its service life, but is completely out of date. I mean come on, did you see the hardware Linux can run?
- Joe Black: Software support shouldn’t be dictated by hardware; Software support on a phone IMHO should copy what Linux and Windows have been doing for decades. That said – unless there is a compelling reason, users should always get updates for the core Android and security update.
- Thalapathy Thalapathy: I would love to hang on to the same phone for many years until it wears out completely and becomes unusable. Therefore, a longer update schedule should help. I’m not a fan of custom ROMs. Therefore, I prefer longer updates, even over 3 years, until the device can handle the offers of the iOS community.
- Nigel Coldwell: 2 years from the time they stop selling the phone.
- anonymous42: I think every phone, even an entry-level device, should receive software updates for at least 2 years. In the meantime, a flagship should receive at least 3 or 4 years of software updates and then another year of security updates.
- Katru: 10 years. It’s not about the customer, but about using fewer resources and protecting the environment.
- Richard Creedy: The minimum should be 5 years, remember that some phone contracts are 3 years and the model of phone you get from the phone company may already be a year old so you may only get 2 years of updates while the contract period will be terminated.
That’s it for this poll. Thanks for voting and commenting. If you have any thoughts about the survey results or an anecdote about Android software updates, write it down below.