Android updates in the US are forever broken

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Android updates in the US are forever broken
It's that time of the year!

The time when it's been so long since Google has released Android 9 Pie for its Pixel phones that owners have already gotten so used to it they forget it's there. This also coincides with the time period when the Android phones that people actually use in the United States, well... none of them have it.

And this is happening Every. Single. Year.

Every single year we are saying out of desperation: we hope Google does something, anything so that Android updates become faster next year. We hope. We send our thoughts and prayers to those phones that seemed so new just a few months ago, but now appear out of date, running on old software.


But the reality is that nothing has changed: it's almost February now and the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 still don't have Android 9 Pie. The LG G7 ThinQ and LG V40 do not have Android 9 Pie. These are the most popular phones in the United States, but they don't even offer a gesture navigation option that you get on $100 phones from China!

We have to admit: some of these phones are expected to start receiving the update soon. For others the timeline is pushed back to Q2 2019, which usually means the end of June, a time of the year when we'll be closer to the release of Android 10.

And don't even get me started on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6, two of the most popular phones of last year. Do you want to take a guess when those poor gadgets will get the Android 9 Pie update? How about whether they will even get it at all?

The new Samsung One UI looks interesting. Sadly, it's not yet available in the US

The new Samsung One UI looks interesting. Sadly, it's not yet available in the US


Android updates have been a disappointment for years, but now that phone makers have not hesitated to increase prices on their phones to $1,000 and even more, as in the case with the Galaxy Note 9, it is even more painful to see these phones waiting for months for their first major update, while a $200 Nokia 6.1 already runs that latest software. It is frustrating to have the most expensive phone on the block and not have gesture navigation on board.

Let's face it: things are probably not getting better next year


Every year we keep on repeating: Google should do something. Phone makers should do something. The carriers should do something. But this year I don't think that we should be that naïve and we should just accept it: Android updates are not going to be better next year. It's all going to be the same old mess and we should just accept this as a fact. And we need to consider this every time we speak about a premium smartphone that is sold for an exorbitant amount of money.

Is it really justified paying so much money for something that ages so quickly?

What do you think?

Do you believe something will ever change with Android software updates on US carriers? And is this something that you find to be a problem with your personal devices?

FEATURED VIDEO

46 Comments

1. cmdacos

Posts: 3870; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Samsung and other forked oems focus on annual updates of their operating system, not on Googles vanilla version of android. If people wanted vanilla, vanilla phones would sell in mass numbers. Samsung continues to deliver their OS updates marginally earlier every year which is fine for me. It's not like samsungs skin is out of date seeing as its features are ahead of vanilla android usually anyway.

45. xperian

Posts: 417; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

I den't understand why would people prefer samsung skin over vanilla. I tried samsung phones, it was complete mess. Stock android, while not ideal, is much better.

2. worldpeace

Posts: 3099; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

"Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6, two of the most popular phones of last year". I think S9 is more popular last year.. And why did you need the LATEST android version right now? Samsung Experience (Oreo) already have way more features than vanilla Pie, and Nokia (or any android ONE phone) got fast update because they only need barebone android with minimal optimization. I'd rather wait months for Samsung One UI, than getting weekly buggy updates with a chance of bricking my phone.

3. worldpeace

Posts: 3099; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

And Android Users have "CHOICE". If they always want the lastest android updates (for whatever reason), they can pick pixels, or if they want cheaper route, there are lots of AndroidONE to pick ranging from $150 to $500.

15. Leo_MC

Posts: 6616; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Oreo lacks Pie's core features.

23. blastertoad

Posts: 34; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Please mention some features from oreo that are not available to other device users.

24. Leo_MC

Posts: 6616; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Heif, adaptive battery, slices (these are from pie).

27. Macready

Posts: 1811; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Interestingly enough, Samsung already uses things similar to adaptive brightness and battery, learning from and adapting to user patterns.

42. Leo_MC

Posts: 6616; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

JPEG is also a “thing similar” to heif, but it’s different.

44. cmdacos

Posts: 3870; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Who's pining away for 2x compression benefits of pictures when storage availability is so much better now?

46. Panzer

Posts: 279; Member since: May 13, 2016

They forget that Samsung has a SD card slot for that.

32. almostdone

Posts: 423; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

Just typical iPA propaganda. Anything to big up Apple and put down it's competition. Another pointless article.

4. Cicero

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Who cares? Only a bunch of people tech savvy. From version to version of android you can see not so big changes. And if some changes showed they could be backed up by the new hardware. What's new for me from the phone user point? Gestures navigation on a big screen and some tweaks of ui in having a better easy navigation through ui. How long I am staying on the ui? I use the apps and they are almost the same. But I need security updates to be delivered fast. And they are.

9. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2125; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

You just wrote that in denial...Bottom line is that Android still til this day does a poor job with updates.

20. Fred3

Posts: 389; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Google does this in order to stay ahead of the rest and to get customers more intrested in them. Otherize the camera would be the only advantage which other phones are catching up to them soon

40. Cicero

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

No, I am not. Now I reply to you using Samsung Internet. And it is almost the same like one of Oreo. I'm on Pie now.

14. slashas

Posts: 124; Member since: Jul 17, 2017

You get security updates fast? What brand you are using? And how long you will get them? I bet max 2 years or even less...

29. Macready

Posts: 1811; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Almost every month for at least 3 years. My S6 received its last update in June, 3 years and 3 months after release.

34. ph00ny

Posts: 1993; Member since: May 26, 2011

shh don't tell them about android's secret that security updates are delivered separately to the OS version updates on near monthly basis

41. Cicero

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Samsung S9+ bought 6 months ago at 600 Euros. And I have monthly security updates. And to understand me better I switch from S4 to S7 edge and to S9+. Still love the S7 edge.

5. Panzer

Posts: 279; Member since: May 13, 2016

The only people that are upset about these updates are people that don't own the devices in question. And if you do own them and are upset YOU should have researched it or have known what you are buying. It has been this way forever and will not change. Google pushes out buggy code and I am looking at Samsung especially with all there enterprise user's they don't new they want stable.

8. Vancetastic

Posts: 805; Member since: May 17, 2017

That first sentence...truth!

35. cmdacos

Posts: 3870; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Well said

6. DnB925Art

Posts: 1167; Member since: May 23, 2013

Honestly as a Pixel user, I get updates right away, but there is nothing wrong with Samsung's way of doing things. It seems like Samsung, when their update does come out, seems a lot more stable since they really test it for their hardware. Less major bugs in my opinion. My Pixels, while on the latest hardware, seem to have bugs that needs monthly updates to fix (sound issue for recording videos for example).

21. Fred3

Posts: 389; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Thats one reason why i'm leaving Pixel. Even though Pixel try to use updateds as an leverage, it's still not worth it

7. akita256

Posts: 98; Member since: Jan 26, 2012

Yes, it is shameful that they cannot figure out a way to get out updates on time. But what do I care...….I'm still using a Galaxy S4 and they stopped updates to it years ago!!

10. Macready

Posts: 1811; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Uh, my S8 is scheduled to receive the update at the end of this month or next month. I'm running the beta as we speak. Stop crying and claiming nothing has changed when the time between official release and 3rd party updates on the higher end models on average has almost halved since Nougat. That period still includes heavy beta testing to iron out bugs (many even missed by Google). Which is better than getting a fast but half baked product that fixes a bug, and introduces 2 new ones for every new feature (hello Apple). https://www.androidauthority.com/faster-and​​roid-updates-942929/

11. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3098; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Fragmentation rears its ugly head again. Oh wait, this is 2019 not 2010 and Gingerbread.

12. ph00ny

Posts: 1993; Member since: May 26, 2011

How come no one talks about the API version requirements on apps? Isn't app support one of the most important factors for OS version upgrades? With that being said i still haven't seen an app that was so far ahead that i couldn't install it on my devices new or old.

13. Rigmaster

Posts: 234; Member since: Jan 22, 2018

The lack of updates is the single reason I left Samsung after the S3. Did the phone still work - yes. Was it frustrating to be several new features and security updates behind - yes. The Sammy phones since then have all had some appeal, but not enough to make me forget how frustrating this issue was. Apparently it still is. Too bad.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.