Rate each Android OEM’s handling of its Android 12 release schedule.
It’s been nearly four months since Google rolled out the stable Android 12 build to the Android open source project. Most Android OEMs have used this time to bring Monet color themes, better privacy features, and other new tools to their 2021 flagship phones. But it’s been a rough update season for just about everyone, including Google. Unless you own one of those flagships — or a Pixel or a recent Galaxy phone — you’re probably still waiting for an update.
one of my jobs alternating current It’s about letting people know when their phones will ship with Android 12, but the job has been made difficult by the fact that many brands haven’t released proper roadmaps as they have in the past few years. On a few occasions, OEMs have proudly released the A12 update, only to roll it back when users encounter a slew of UI-breaking bugs.
So, with most developers slowly releasing Android 12 updates throughout 2022 — and in order not to notify users in advance of when they’ll receive the update — we’ve decided to provide Android OEMs with their first Android 12 update report card . We rate and rank them based on the number of phones they update (relative to the list of eligible phones), how the update is progressing, whether we have a roadmap, and how it performed compared to previous years.
Spoiler alert: Samsung is the best student at correcting teachers’ mistakes, several popular brands are struggling with coursework, and some wayward students have been dropping out and stuck in last year’s classes.
first class: Samsung
In at least some regions, Samsung has rolled out One UI 4 for the Galaxy S21, Note 20, S20, Note 10, S10, Z Fold and Z Flip series, as well as the Galaxy A52 5G, S7 and S7+. All told, there are two dozen phones and tablets, many of which won’t receive updates until February.
Samsung has expanded the number of phones it updates while maintaining the same speed.
Samsung’s update rollout wasn’t perfect. Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 users have encountered a Play Store compatibility bug that can cause varying degrees of issues, from screen flickering, dark mode, and slow performance to actual bricking of the phone in severe cases. Samsung and Google have at least been able to fix these issues fairly quickly, and we haven’t seen any other issues.
Samsung also handled the One UI 3 update quickly for its top-of-the-line phones, and even done it early on some of its older devices. At the time, however, Samsung was prioritizing fewer devices, as it only recently started promising three OS updates. So, by January 2021, only about a dozen phones will be upgraded to Android 11. Clearly, Samsung has done a good job of ramping up its efforts.
Android 12 greeting: OPPO
If you don’t count what OPPO has done with OnePlus and OxygenOS (more on that below), the Chinese brand is doing pretty well with ColorOS 12. So far, as of January, 15 phones in Asia have received Android 12, including the Find X3 Pro, Find X2 series, Reno 6 series, and Reno 5 series.
OPPO can almost match Samsung in update speed, but only in Asian countries.
Only Samsung surpassed this level in quantity, and we were also impressed with the quality. With dozens of phones still expected to get the ColorOS 12 beta in the first half of this year, OPPO has so far been launching phones on schedule without any issues we’re aware of.
A bit of a letdown for OPPO (with the exception of OnePlus) is that the brand has mostly kept its European users waiting. Only the Find X3 Pro and A73 5G are scheduled to receive the stable update in January; that’s quite a step back considering OPPO hasn’t even released that many phones in the WEU region. If it wanted to continue to expand its presence there, you would think it could prioritize those.
Two steps forward, one step back: Nokia
HMD Global has received a lot of criticism for its Android 11 launch. After promising four phones in late 2020, it didn’t release its first update until early February 2021. Several other updates were pushed back to summer and fall, and the developers finally admitted they couldn’t ship them to the Nokia 9 all because of camera incompatibility. At the time, I warned that Nokia phones had something to prove in the 2022 update.
So far, I think HMD Global deserves full credit for this launch. The Nokia X20, X10 and G50 have received stable builds so far, with the X20 first receiving it in mid-December. Several other phones like the Nokia XR20, 8.3 5G, 3.4, 2.4, and G10 have also been spotted on Geekbench running Android 12, suggesting they may be currently undergoing beta testing.
HMD Global has recovered from the disastrous Android 11 rollout.
What stopped me was HMD still The actual Android 12 release schedule has yet to be announced, following the announcement of the last OS release schedule in October 2020. I speculate what they did this year was “if we don’t tell people when to expect it, no one’s going to be mad if we’re behind.” I think this was a mistake and the brand should continue to work hard to provide its loyal users with an expected timeline .
But overall, this year is more promising than last year. That Nokia can push its updates to phones under $500 so quickly, while other brands prioritize $1,000 phones, is a major selling point for those who prefer cheap Android phones.
Drop Honor Roll: Google
For years, we took it for granted that Google released the Android OS source code and its Pixel OS update on the same day. But this year, it took a month longer than usual to push the source code, and it released its own Android 12 Pixel skin a few weeks later. While we generally like how Android 12 performs on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, bugs and issues with their software have been well documented over the past few months.
Google did manage to finally fix many of these issues in the January update, but only after the December update caused signal issues that forced users to factory reset their phones and Google delayed fixing bugs from months ago by a month. We polled our readers with a Pixel 6 and found that 68% had no issues, but 32% had issues, which is a huge number.
By the time the Pixel 6a or Pixel 7 arrives, we can only hope that Google starts running its next software OS more cleanly and can actually release it on time.
Promising but confusing: Millet
Xiaomi goes at its own pace as it pushes updates…and names them. It launched MIUI 12 with Android 10 features in September 2020, followed by MIUI 12 Android 11 from December. MIUI 12.5 was launched the following year, and MIUI 12.5 Android 12 beta was launched in August 2021. Now, the company is hard at work on MIUI 13, but some phones will get MIUI 13 Android 11 instead of 12, at least initially.
To put it bluntly, although MIUI 13 will appear on some Xiaomi phones in the first quarter of 2022, including the Xiaomi Mi 11, Mi 11T Pro and Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, it is unclear how much Android 12 Xiaomi will include in this update .
According to the “Xiaomi and You” Telegram group, the Android 12-based MIUI 13 China Beta 22.11.17 version apparently adds dynamic theme support.
Interestingly, this may be the first real OEM implementation of Google’s “currency”. pic.twitter.com/y2zGQewufq
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) January 18, 2022
We’ve seen evidence that MIUI 13 could have some attractive color themes based on Google’s “Monet” system, but we don’t know when it will arrive. For now, Xiaomi is focusing on performance updates like “Liquid Storage” and “Atomized Memory” rather than anything we’ve seen in Android 12.
Be lazy until you change schools: one plus
So far, OnePlus has updated two phones to OxygenOS 12: the OnePlus 9 and the OnePlus 9 Pro. That stable release was so bad that OnePlus paused the rollout, then rolled it out again a week later, with some bugs still present.
Instead of a loud bang, OxygenOS made a whimper.
Meanwhile, we know of 15 other phones that will receive it (excluding variants). Of these, only the OnePlus 8 received a closed beta in mid-November, and an open ColorOS 12 beta in January. There is also no roadmap.
To be fair, OnePlus messed up a bit with its Android 11 rollout. It won’t get it to the OnePlus 7 until late March, and the OnePlus 6 won’t receive it until late August. So if the OnePlus 8 gets a stable release soon, the brand could easily overachieve on Android 12.
As a last hurrah for OxygenOS, Android 12 won’t exactly inspire confidence in the brand moving forward. The operating system itself is a watered-down ColorOS, and starting with the OnePlus 10 Pro, the software will be fully merged with ColorOS.We can hope this will lead to faster updates for the OPPO sources behind them, but fans of OnePlus phones might not like it use They have different software experiences, so speed doesn’t matter.
Late as always: Motorola
We’ll applaud Motorola for releasing the actual Android 12 update list, which many brands have dropped this year. We know it will update around 25 phones to the new OS starting in February, likely prioritizing its more expensive phones like the Razr or Edge (2021) first. It’ll get the core features you want, from Material You and conversation widgets to a new privacy dashboard and camera/mic toggle.
With Android 11, Motorola began rolling out the operating system on its first phones on February 1.So Motorola isn’t behind schedule and we’re not quite there grade They are still around when we haven’t seen a stable release yet. But if you compare to Android 10, Motorola updated its first phone in December and several others in January, it’s clear that the brand has stepped back and hasn’t managed to get its own back like Nokia did. the way.
Laggards: LG, Microsoft
In the midst of all this exciting Android 12 action, LG updated the LG Wing to Android 11 in late December, while the Microsoft Surface Duo got the update just a few days ago. Better late than never, I guess!
LG has promised that 8 phones will ship with Android 12, and 2 (LG Wing and LG Velvet) will also ship with Android 13. But we don’t have a roadmap as to when to expect it, and given that LG has given up on its smartphone business, there isn’t much of an impulse. As for Microsoft, that makes us wonder how long it will take for the Surface Duo 2 to get Android 12.
A few months until graduation
For most of these brands, the real Android 12 testing has just begun, whether it’s a feature update or a security update. We’ll have to see who can keep up with their mid-range and budget phones, even if some are jumping out the door quickly with their flagship updates. And I can’t find every OEM in this article: Will Asus, Sony, Realme, TCL and others rise to the challenge or fall short?
Whatever happens, Samsung has made a statement about Android 12, proving that their high-end phones will continue to prioritize updates two years after launch, while other brands are making them wait half a year. Whether it’s because of Samsung’s size and resources, or because Google has given them internal access to the code throughout 2021, it’s fair to ask if any other Android OEMs can use them for Android 13 or future operating systems.