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Which manufacturer updates its phones the fastest? (Android 11 edition)
Google declared Android 11 ready for prime time on September 8, 2020. At the time of writing, we’re fast approaching the OS’ six-month anniversary and the chatter is already turning towards the recently announced Android 12. Android rollouts have historically been a bit on the slow side, so how well did Android manufacturers do this time around? That’s exactly what we want to explore.
Timely Android updates are just as important as the number of years a manufacturer promises to support a product. After all, it’s no good receiving September’s security patch next April. Update speed should definitely be a factor when deciding on your next smartphone purchase. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve ranked the top 10 major brands by the time taken to bring Android 11 their last-gen flagship smartphones.
Our verdict: Android 11 review: The devil is in the details
Before we get into the numbers, there are some important notes:
- This article is based on information found in our Android 11 update tracker.
- We’ve ranked the OEMs purely by the time to first update (excluding betas). However, some models and carrier variants may be left with a longer wait.
- Updates roll out at different times in different regions for different people, so view the dates below as estimates.
- We haven’t included Google’s Pixel phones as they’re the starting point for Android updates; making it the fastest OEM by default. If you want a phone that’s guaranteed to be updated quickly, a Google Pixel is the best place to start!
- First device(s) with stable Android 11: OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro
- Date of first stable rollout: October 10, 2020
- Days passed since official OS launch: 32
OnePlus was quick out of the gate with a beta version and started rolling out the stable version of Android 11 via OxygenOS 11 to the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro virtually a month after Google’s announcement. While not quite as fast as the 18 days it took OnePlus to roll out Android 10 last year, the company remains one of the fastest in the business when it comes to speedy updates.
Speed isn’t everything though, OxygenOS 11 has proven to be a controversial update, sporting a change in direction from the company’s previously minimalistic take on additional OS features. The OnePlus 8 series is currently on its sixth Android 11 update, with a number of fixes continuing to come in to patch up another less than smooth launch.
OnePlus has also rolled out Android 11 beta updates to its OnePlus 7 series and the affordable OnePlus Nord.
- First device(s) with stable Android 11: Oppo Find X2, Oppo Find X2 Pro
- Date of first stable rollout: November 3, 2020
- Days passed since official OS launch: 56
Just like sibling company OnePlus, Oppo has quickly issued its updates to Android 11 over the past few months. The company took a very reasonable 56 days to begin rolling out the stable update to the Oppo Find X2 family of smartphones, delivering on its promise to provide an update before the end of 2020.
Based on Android 11, Color OS 11 is already rolling out to the F17 Pro and a selection of handsets in the company’s Reno series. A wider range of Oppo Reno handsets are scheduled to receive the same update in the first half of 2021, along with a selection of its A series phones. Well done this year, Oppo.
- First device(s) with stable Android 11: Xiaomi Mi 10, Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro
- Date of first stable rollout: November 9, 2020
- Days passed since official OS launch: 62
Xiaomi is another Chinese manufacturer pushing out updates much faster this generation. 62 days to bring Android 11 to its Mi 10 flagship range is a record for the company, almost halving Android 10’s 122 days and a substantial improvement from the 200 days it took to roll out Android 7 Nougat.
It’s taken a little longer, but Xiaomi has also brought its MIUI 12 skin to its Redmi K30 phones and the affordable Poco F2 Pro in early 2021. The company’s Android 11 rollout hasn’t been all smooth sailing though. Reports of bricked Mi A3 smartphones brought its rollout to a halt, requiring users to send their phones into service centers for repairs. Speed isn’t everything.
- First device(s) with stable Android 11: Realme X50 Pro
- Date of first stable rollout: December 4, 2020
- Days passed since official OS launch: 87
Realme was quick out of the gate with Android 11 beta updates for a rather large selection of its handsets in September 2020. However, it took until December for the first stable update to begin rolling out to the Realme X50 Pro in India. Still, this makes Realme one of the faster brands to roll out the latest version of Android.
Realme’s Android 11 beta roadmap points to a wide range of updates for various handsets throughout the end of 2020, continuing into the first and second quarters of 2021. However, it looks like the brand will be slower at bringing stable updates to its wider product portfolio.
- First device(s) with stable Android 11: Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Date of first stable rollout: December 12, 2020
- Days passed since official OS launch: 95
Samsung hasn’t had the best reputation for speedy updates in previous generations but that is gradually changing for the better. The Galaxy S20 and Note 20 phones have been among the first to receive the latest version of Android, which began appearing over at select US carriers in mid-December 2020.
Samsung’s Android 11 / One UI 3.0 update appeared just a week or so behind the company’s upgrade to Android 10. Although many customers have been stuck in the frustrating situation where some regions and carriers have had to wait longer than others. Fortunately, most Galaxy S20 and Note 20 customers should have seen an update before the end of 2020, with updates to the Galaxy S10, Z Flip, and Fold, heading out in early 2021.
- First device(s) with stable Android 11: Sony Xperia 1 II
- Date of first stable rollout: December 14, 2020
- Days passed since official OS launch: 97
Unlike Samsung, Sony has had a stellar reputation for bringing reasonably quick updates to its flagship smartphones and Android 11 is no exception. Coming in at essentially the same time as Samsung, the Sony Xperia 1 II received its upgrade in mid-December, providing you lived in Taiwan.
It took another week for the update to appear in Europe. Swiftly followed by upgrades to the Xperia 5 II and then older Xperia 1 and Xperia 5 in early 2021. If you’re rocking any of Sony flagships from the past two to three years, you’re probably already up and running with Android 11.
- First device(s) with stable Android 11: Asus Zenfone 6
- Date of first stable rollout: December 29, 2020
- Days passed since official OS launch: 112
Asus was quick off the bat last year, rolling out Android 10 to its Zenfone 6 in just over two months. Sadly, the brand has been notably slower in its upgrade to Android 11, taking almost twice as long. Still, Asus started rolling out its upgrade to the Zenfone 6 right at the last call in 2020.
Unfortunately, there no sign of a similar update for the ROG Phone 3. It took Asus six months to bring Android 10 to the ROG Phone 2 and we’re heading for a disappointing repeat this time around too. At our last check-in, the Asus ZenFone 7 and 7 Pro are still in beta testing.
- First device(s) with stable Android 11: LG Velvet
- Date of first stable rollout: January 30, 2021
- Days passed since official OS launch: 144
Much like Samsung, LG is a company that has vastly improved its update turnaround time since Android 10, which landed on the LG G8 ThinQ in Korea in just 90 days. However, it took 139 days for the same update to hit the US and other markets.
With Android 11, LG clocked in a not dissimilar 144 days to upgrade the Velvet. However, we’re still waiting for the upgrade to make its way to other markets, making LG notably slower compared to last year. Although the upgrade should be arriving sometime in the first quarter of 2021. LG’s other high-end phones, such as the V60, G8X ThinQ, and Wing, will have to wait until at least Q2.
- First device(s) with stable Android 11: Motorola Moto G Pro
- Date of first stable rollout: January 30, 2021
- Days passed since official OS launch: 144
Motorola has a reasonably solid reputation for speedy updates. While the company hasn’t quite managed to roll out Android 11 as quickly as it did Android 10 (144 vs 98 days), UK Moto G Pro customers were the first to receive Motorola’s update earlier in the year.
Motorola has also promised updates to a huge range of its Razr, Edge, One, and G range of smartphones in its Android 11 roadmap. Although we’re still waiting for these to start rolling out. Remember, Motorola has a habit of first releasing updates in Brazil first. So you may be in for an extra-long wait before Android 11 makes its way to you in the US or Europe.
10. HMD Global (Nokia)
- First device(s) with stable Android 11: Nokia 8.3
- Date of first stable rollout: February 2, 2020
- Days passed since official OS launch: 147
Oh dear Nokia, another company failing to live up to previous years. From fourth place last year to barely scraping in 10th this time around. Android 10 hit the Nokia 8.1 in just 36 days last generation, but Android 11 took a whopping 147 days for the Nokia 8.3 to see a stable update.
While HMD Global was quick to share its roadmap back in September 2020, we’re still waiting on news regarding the huge range of other handsets scheduled for an update. Worryingly, the company’s last high-end smartphone – 2019’s Nokia 9 Pureview – sits at the bottom of the roadmap with an upgrade promised for sometime in Q2 2021.
What about the other OEMs?
If you’ve been following our coverage of Android rollout speeds over the years you may have spotted a few absences from our last top 10. Essential is no more, for example, and the company claimed the top spot for its Android 10 rollout to the Essential Phone, which landed on day zero.
Similarly, Huawei and Honor, who were previously pretty snappy, are both still running Android 10 with their latest EMUI 11 update. So neither qualifies for a spot in our Android 11 top 10, despite EMUI 11 landing on the Huawei P40 Pro rather promptly.
Last year’s results: Android 10 rollout: Which phone brand was fastest?
Other brands are simply slower than our top 10 and some haven’t even started rolling out stable builds of Android 11 to any of their devices at the time of writing. Vivo, for example, only just pushed out a beta version to its Vivo V19 handset in India on February 9. HTC, which is lying dormant anyway, has nothing at all to report for its smartphones and we could well be in for a wait until March or beyond.
The good news though is that most of the industry’s biggest Android brands have managed to push out a stable release of Android 11 to their biggest flagship handsets in a reasonably timely fashion.
That’s a wrap on our Android 11 rollout roundup. If you’re keen to look ahead to what’s coming up with the next iteration of Android, check out our Android 12 coverage below.