HTC are quickest to update handsets with the latest version of Android

HTC are quickest to update handsets with the latest version of Android


Android updates are a prickly subject – our own Ravi gets most impassioned about it – with what can best be described as a “varied” experience for most people in getting the latest version on their existing handset. On top of manufacturers taking their time, or sometimes never upgrading a handset at all (it does happen), you then get the networks gumming up the works “testing”, delaying things further.

But is there anything you can do to speed things up, to jump the queue?
The most obvious is to get a Nexus device, but they’re not for everyone, so who’s the best of the rest?

American site Arstechinca has done some research, and you may be surprised by the winner – HTC.
Now HTC made the very first Android phone of course, as well as the first Nexus, and they have kept a tight relationship with Google, enabling them the fastest upgrades to the latest OS, averaging 4.7 months.

Samsung were the best of the rest averaging 8.4 months, although their flagship handsets (SIII in particular) have been getting prompter attention, but the rest of the range can lag quite a bit. LG were the worst (yes, even behind Motorola!).


Now¬†unfortunately¬†as the survey was done in the US, the network data is useless for us Brits, but its fair to say the UK networks have all been quite poor in passing through the upgrades. For example the HTC One X was updated to 4.1 by HTC in November, but EE customers are only now receiving the update, and I’m still waiting for Three to release theirs for my phone. All in all, quite poor, especially considering the latest version of Android is now 4.2


So overall, if you want fast updates, get a Nexus. After that, you might be alright with an unlocked HTC.



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  • one of the reasons i went back to iPhone

    • Adam Treier

      even having android 2.3 is like having iOS 6

  • mark adams

    I presume this research is based on the phones that CAN be updated, something HTC have been guilty of in the past is releasing phones that cannot be further updated as Android has evolved due to hardware limitations, and hence the reason i moved away from HTC and toward the Samsung Galaxy Nexus as it was a google native device…

  • Mark – my impression was that Its not that the phones can’t be updated per se, but rather HTC tended to give their phones less RAM and then stuff the thing full with its sense overlay. I recall somewhere that if you removed sense, then there’d be plenty of room for the OS to grow. However, by designing in a certain level of planned obsolescence they’re forcing us to go out and bye a handset that may only be fractionally better than the previous iteration. It wasn’t so bad with Gingerbread updates, but you would expect an OS
    upgrade to take up more memory. I hope that explanation makes… Sense.
    I know other companies may or may not to it, but we are specifically talking about HTC.