back to article Two-speed Android update risk: Mobes face months-long wait

Motorola pushes out Android updates faster than any other manufacturer bar Google Nexus manufacturers, according to a new study. Mobile app metrics firm Apteligent examined device data for Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC, Motorola, and ZTE to determine which manufacturer pushes out OS updates the soonest. It compared the time it took …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    One problem..

    ...where in the graph is NEVER?

    1. No Quarter

      Re: One problem..

      HTC offer a new update every time there's an ice age.

    2. I_am_Chris

      Re: One problem..

      Look at the ZTE line. It hugs the bottom axis - equivalent to never.

      1. Syntax Error

        Re: One problem..

        The idea is, if you want an upgrade buy a new phone. Like 99% of Android manufacturers.

    3. Fan of Mr. Obvious

      Re: One problem..

      And this ^ plus price, is why my house only uses 5x's. When they are done it will be on to the next bottom barrel Nexus. Purchased the last 3 combined for not even $100 more than an fruit phone. Supported device, get the quick update. Not supported, trash and buy supported devices.

  2. tony72

    Nexus 5

    Nexus devices were excluded from the study since they always receive the latest Android updates on the day they are released.

    Not that that's necessarily fast enough, as any of my fellow Nexus 5 users that were affected by the recent volume fiasco will testify. Still, I suppose that bug only made the phone practically useless, it wasn't a security issue, so who cares, a month is fast enough to fix it, right?

    1. John Latham

      Re: Nexus 5

      "Move fast and break things" in "things broken" shocker.

  3. Efros


    If you have rooted your unlocked Samsung (possibly others I can only confirm this brand) then the update some US providers release will not work.

  4. tiggity Silver badge

    long term

    How about factoring in that manufactures choose not to support certain phones.

    Motorola do not look that good when you have a 1st gen Moto G and no chance of it getting security fixes never mind upgraded past lollipop.

    With many manufacturers, if you have the "latest & greatest" phone then updates occur at reasonable pace but extremely shoddy if you have a device a while (or purchased a phone a while after it came out to get a better deal).

    Would be good if there was legal requirement to provide updates for a decent amount of time (and a grudging year or so is not sufficient, we are not all on "keep up with my mates" consumer frenzy of frequent upgrade cycles, some of us keep using a phone until it dies / no longer fit for purpose) - especially when not even pushing out security fixes, never mind upgrade to next OS.

    1. Barry Rueger

      Re: long term

      The added problem is determining whether the fault lay with Moto, or with the wireless company.

      Even getting our wireless provider to actually say what phones are on track for updates, and which are abandoned, is nigh impossible.

      What consumers need and deserve is to be told "this device will be updated until this date."

  5. David Pearce

    Often only the flagship models get any updates. My last mid range Samsung is stuck on a 4.1 release two years after I bought it, my current 14 month old Oppo is on 4.4.4. Neither got any security updates at all.

    No way that I will do mobile banking

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Asus Padfone S was supposed to get Marshmallow in Q2 2016 but STILL waiting and rumours are that Google will release Nougat next week :-(

  7. Shades
    Paris Hilton


    Perhaps I just don't understand graphs, but whilst Motorola did start pushing out the update before anyone else it appears that it was actually HTC that had the fastest uptake?

    If we take the points directly above each month for the period between January and June Motorola captured a total of 0.885% of network traffic while HTC managed 1.176% overall.

    Its hardly surprising that Motorola was the first out of the gate as they are known for having an almost vanilla Android implementation but once HTC got their version sorted their uptake was the arguably the fastest.

    I see little to crow about Motorola pushing out a limited run of the upgrade to 10/20% of their users and leaving the rest exposed for 4 months while HTC wait a month, to get their version sorted, and then seeing a steady uptake (which, once released is no longer in the hands of the device manufacturer anyway but highly dependent upon the device owners settings and inclination to update).

    TL;DR: That graph is almost meaningless

  8. fidodogbreath

    Past performance does not guarantee future results

    This study is completely meaningless now. Motorola recently announced that updates are just too gosh-darned hard, so they have given up on monthly security patches. Henceforth, Moto will deliver security and OS updates if and when they feel like it.

    So, as always, it's 'Nexus or nothing' for Android users who care about security.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't Google own Motorola? Wouldn't that explain their upgrade frequency?

    1. fidodogbreath

      Re: Motorola

      Don't Google own Motorola? Wouldn't that explain their upgrade frequency?

      They did during part of the survey period, but not anymore. Moto is now owned by Lenovo.

  10. fidodogbreath

    The real take-away

    is that Google screwed the pooch when they allowed carriers and manufacturers to get involved in the OS delivery process.

    That put the cost of delivering updates on the carriers and manufacturers, who have a strong financial disincentive for doing so. Hmmm...spend money on updating already-sold phones, with no resulting revenue? Or sell you a new device? Wait, don't tell me....

    1. Mikel

      Re: The real take-away

      Microsoft claimed - over and over - that "this time for real" they were taking care of updating phones with their new OS. That worked out great.

  11. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Lying with statistics

    About that plateau on the Moto graph: Lenovo has halted updates. As of right now, the X Pure is Android 6.0.0 with the February 2016 security patch. The May 2016 security patch is partially deployed and the 6.0.1 update seems to have been abandoned after a limited release. VoLTE isn't entirely working and there are no plans for a fix.

  12. mrokkam


    Well... Blackberry seems to be releasing patches as quickly as google if not quicker!

    So, if you want the most secure Android phone, do look towards BB as well

    surprising innit?

  13. PhilipN Silver badge

    Bleeding Obvious Blog

    Manufacturers want you to buy a new phone. They do not want to spend dead money upgrading old phones whose income was booked last year.

    Must be this "bizniss" thingy.

  14. RobThBay

    What about BlackBerry's android phones??

    It's too bad they didn't include BlackBerry in their study. They've been pushing Android updates out at an amazing rate.

    1. MacNews

      Re: What about BlackBerry's android phones??

      Funny omission, that.

  15. goldcd

    I don't really have a massive issue with a few months

    Somebody has to ensure the bloat still functions.

    What I'd like to see is a graph that say considers all phones that manufacturer made in the last 4 years.

    Getting the update out onto their latest handset - they're still trying to sell this flagship and having the latest OS on it is in their interest.

    What used to grate with me was the delay in getting it out to the model that was a year older - and actually impacts more of their users.

  16. Snowy Silver badge

    If you want your older Android to updated pick a third party ROM for it.

    1. e^iπ+1=0

      "If you want your older Android to updated pick a third party ROM for it."

      Or, how about, 'If you want your older Android to be updated' pick one SUPPORTED by third party ROMs.

      Good luck with that!

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        When I look for a new phone, the first thing I check is if there's third party ROM support.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Security updates aren't tied to OS updates. Google issue security patches each month for android back to 4.4 (KitKat). Many phone vendors security patch the older os versions, rather than taking on the huge task of full version updates for older phones.

    If these security researchers didn't understand this, why should we trust anything else they have to say?

  18. Christian Berger

    That problem would be easy to fix

    Separate the hardware from the operating system. Mandate a single hardware platform which can be scaled and extended into the numbers of devices we have now, just like on the PC, and let people install any firmware they want.

    Just like on the PC they would then take the hardware vendor out of the loop for operating system updates. It would also allow people to install other operating systems on their devices to gain special features or simply more security.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That problem would be easy to fix

      And then you have essentially Windows, with it's malware problem that 100m times worse than Android.

      Ask yourself, when was the last time you actually saw an Android malware issue, rather than just reading about the theoretical antivirus scare stories???? Never is the likely answer.

      Then there is Windows, where it's rare to fine one that doesn't have an issue with malware....

  19. EJ

    It's my understanding you have 2 points of failure in this issue: the handset manufacturers and the wireless carriers. Example: even if Samsung releases something for your phone, you're still beholden to Verizon Wireless to release their version of that patch.

    Google sold their soul in order to try to catch and dampen Apple's momentum in the market, and now that eagerness is stifling the ability to secure an Android.

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