The new update policy from OnePlus doesn’t go far enough: Just recently, OnePlus revealed that it would be changing its update policy for a number of its products. From 2023 on, OnePlus will support “select” phones with four years of platform updates and five years of security patches.
For starters, let me say that I fully endorse this. This makes OnePlus a stronger competitor than Google and almost on par with Samsung. (While the Mountain View smartphone maker only guarantees three years of Android updates, they do commit to five years of security patches.)
However, there are two caveats that stood out to me in OnePlus’s announcement. I have my doubts about “select” phones and the proposed schedule. According to OnePlus, this policy will only be implemented going forward, starting with the OnePlus 11. Both of these factors dampen the enthusiasm I felt while making this new commitment.
Where does that leave Nord and Nord N?
Although it isn’t verified, the word “select” makes me think that OnePlus will limit this strategy to its flagship models with roman numerals. OnePlus should have made it clear that the announcement also applied to the Nord and Nord N phones.
A year for Android upgrades and two years for security patches is horrible, and it is now my biggest gripe about the Nord N phones. That’s terrible, especially considering OnePlus often ships outdated versions of Android on its inexpensive phones.
So, when I first saw this announcement, I believed OnePlus had solved the Nord N issue, but then I realized the “choose” distinction. In this regard, my confidence has severely eroded.
When I originally read this, I was under the impression that OnePlus had finally solved a major issue with its low-cost smartphones. However, I no longer feel as assured in this situation as I once did.
Two or three years isn’t any better with the normal Nord phones, which are unavailable in the United States. The reason I keep bringing it up is that Samsung, which follows the same update approach, implements it for the vast majority of its product line. Similar to the Galaxy S and Galaxy Z series, the Galaxy A series receives regular updates. (Though upgrades for such low-cost handsets arrive at a considerably slower pace, I digress.)
You may expect new features and bug fixes for your Galaxy A73, A53, or A33 until 2026, and security patches until 2027.
I asked OnePlus to verify this, but they haven’t responded as of this writing. The corporation made a blunder by giving the impression that it had forgotten about the Nord and Nord N gadgets.
So there is no more support for legacy mobile devices?
Second, this philosophy of updates only looks ahead. Even relatively new devices like the OnePlus 10T are not exempt from the company’s outdated update policy.
If you think I’m being overdramatic, consider Samsung’s announcement of its 4-year/5-year guarantee. They announced it at the same time as Samsung did for the Galaxy S22, on February 9, 2022. The new guidelines apply to the Galaxy S21 series and other upcoming devices from the Korean manufacturer in 2021, as well as the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3.
It’s unfortunate that OnePlus don’t include the OnePlus 10 Pro and OnePlus 10T in their fresh effort to fight with Samsung.
The future according to OnePlus: updated
In fact, I have to give OnePlus props for their new update strategy. Google is now caught with its trousers down; there is no reason for the maker of Android and the Pixel to roll out fewer upgrades than competitors Samsung and OnePlus.
But as I’ve explained, OnePlus shouldn’t congratulate itself too much. This is encouraging news, but it isn’t quite enough just yet. If OnePlus promised to add all of its devices to this plan, I could be willing to overlook the absence of grandfathering in 2022 phones.
Forgive the expression, but I find the word “select” to be a vote of no confidence in the policy, thus I like to avoid using it. This is a questionable deal. Instead of keeping us guessing, OnePlus could just come out and say it. Right there is where I’m experiencing the most annoyance.
OnePlus, please quit teasing us. Stand erect.
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