The smartphone experience is equal parts hardware and software. While the former can’t really be upgraded after purchase, manufacturers can (and should) issue regular updates to the latter to patch security holes and improve functionality. There’s no mandatory minimum software upgrade period that Android manufacturers need to adhere to, but what if there was?
We asked you in a recent poll what you believe should be the minimum software upgrade period that manufacturers should stick to for all Android phones. The results are in!
What should be the minimum software upgrade period for any Android phone?
Our poll was originally published on August 10 and racked up over 7,700 votes. Clearly, this is a topic near and dear to our readers’ hearts.
Of the four options available, it’s not really surprising that “more than three years” received the most love. Just over 45% of readers believe that manufacturers should adopt this long-term approach to updates. “At least three years” trails slightly, racking up 41.1% of the vote. This tally suggests that 86.4% of Android Authority readers voting on this poll want to see at least three years of support across all Android devices.
Few respondents are open to shorter update support periods. At least one in every ten readers would settle for a two-year software upgrade commitment, while 3.4% are content with a year’s worth of updates from manufacturers.
As for the comments, several readers highlighted other platforms’ update policies, namely Windows and Linux. Some called for at least ten years of updates to keep devices relevant and reduce waste. Read some more reader thoughts below.
- smileyhead: My dream would be if Android worked like Windows in the sense that every device runs the same system and gets every update. Of course, manufacturers could still bundle their own skins (this would require proper skinning support, tough) and apps, just like they do on Windows laptops.
- Glyn Stuckey: My dream would be if Android worked more like Linux. Of course allow proprietary software, but also open source, and keep supporting the hardware until it’s not just end of life, but completely obsolete. I mean come on, have you seen the hardware that can run Linux?
- Joe Black: Software support should not be dictated by the hardware; software support on a mobile phone IMHO should copy what are Linux and Windows doing for decades. Meaning — unless there is a good reason, users should always receive updates to the core of the Android and security updates.
- Thalapathy Thalapathy: I would like to stick on to the same phone for many years until it completely wears out and become unusable. Thus a longer update schedule should help. I am not a fan of custom ROM. So I do prefer to have longer updates even more than 3 years until the device can handle like the iOS community offers.
- nigel coldwell: 2 years from when they STOP selling the phone.
- anonymous42: I think any phone, even an entry-level device should get at least 2 years of software updates. Meanwhile, a flagship should get at least 3 or 4 years of software updates and another year of security updates after that.
- Katru: 10 years. It’s not about the customer, it’s about using less resources and protecting the environment.
- Richard Creedy: Minimum should be 5yrs, don’t forget some phone contracts are 3 yrs, and the phone model you get from phone company maybe a yr old already so you might only get 2yrs of updates that would stop whilst still in contract.
That’s it for this poll. Thanks for voting and commenting. If you have any thoughts about the poll results or an anecdote about Android software updates, drop them down below.