Picking the best smartphone is no longer a case of just glossing over the specs sheet and sticker price. That little pocket companion of yours is a tool that’s only made effective through a solid combination of hardware and software. But all too often companies seem to neglect the latter.
It seems that some firms are finally acknowledging this. More manufacturers are now committing to software, with Samsung recently announcing its extension of Android update support to its flagships, and Microsoft promising three years of Android updates with its Surface Duo. But do these commitments really matter to consumers? Do buyers see the promise of major Android updates as key to their purchasing decision?
Would you buy a phone if you knew it’d never get a major Android update?
We put that question to our readers to find out if they would be willing to buy a phone even if it would never receive any major Android updates during its lifetime. Here’s what they told us.
These results probably won’t shock many. Of the more than 2,800 responses we received, over 85% would definitely not purchase an Android smartphone if it didn’t receive a major Android update. This effectively suggests major updates are as important, if not more important, for some users than hardware features. For some devices, like Google’s Pixel 4 and Android One devices, the promise of regular and major updates could be considered a feature in itself.
Although the results point to the importance of major updates, it’s not that cut and dried for some readers. Just over 400 readers, or around 15%, responded to our poll that they’d still consider phones that wouldn’t receive updates. “Major Android updates aren’t that important to me,” the response adds.
Related: The full list of supported Android 11 beta phones
A number of you argued in the comments that regular Android security updates are far more important than major Android revisions. The lack of major update commitments also wouldn’t affect some reader’s buying decisions provided the device’s price justifies this.
This calls into question smartphone pricing in general. While Samsung has now committed to three years of Android updates for its flagships, this period may seem too brief for devices like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra that cost $1,399. Major Android updates may not likely be as important then for users of budget smartphones that cost some $1,000 less.
Here’s what you had to say
Justin Martin: Really the only reason I buy Pixels is because you get major updates on day one.: The numbers are leaning heavily towards the fact people want major android versions even tho I personally don’t care about them.MM_Rafez: I was never that much touchy about major updates. I mean one android version is more than enough. But that doesn’t mean the Smartphone brand can’t introduce some feature themselves. I mean it’s not like top Smartphone brands use pure android that they can’t do that. But they don’t, they use custom android. So, introducing new features is not impossible if the brands want to give some effort.Ellio74: On a cheap phone why not, it’s not the thing that matters the most in this segment in my opinion, but for a flagship, that’s a big NO.Djanta: It’s all about the price!!! I’ll definitely buy a P30 Pro if it cost 300 Euros, even if it’ll never receive any new software updateBonedatt: If my device won’t receive any major OS update after purchase, then the security patches need to be timely, and they should keep coming for at least 7 years.Ricardo Pinto: Security updates are the ones that really concern me… So with no updates, there’s no buying.
That’s it for the results of our major Android updates poll. Thanks for the votes and comments. If you have a major (or minor) thought on the results of this poll or on updates in general, be sure to drop them in the comments section down below.