OnePlus One-Ups Google With 4 Years Of Android Updates But There's A Caveat
In a surprise (yet welcomed) move, smartphone maker OnePlus has decided to one-up Google by revamping its device update policy, providing four years of OS platform updates and five years of security patches. In terms of OS updates, OnePlus ties first place with Samsung, which is very commendable. Google lags in third place with only three years.
However, one problem with OnePlus' strategy is it promises security updates every other month, while Samsung and Google do it monthly. These monthly updates often include patches for emerging zero-day threats. The extra-long window between patches increases the potential for these to be exploited in the wild, but we have to say issuing security patches regularly at all is still much better than not.
It is likely that the upcoming OnePlus 11 will be the first OnePlus device to be part of this initiative. One other possible caveat we noticed is that in the announcement points this new update policy for "select" devices only, beginning in 2023. This might be hinting at recent (and/or lesser) models being excluded from this program. What of the Nord series or previous flagships such as the OnePlus 9 or 10? These devices are fantastic with amazing hardware for great value, but potential shoppers have tended to shy away from them due to stingy and un-unified update cycles. Similar to Samsung's recent move to make Android 13-based One UI 5.0 available to its older models (Galaxy Note 10, Fold/Flip 3, A-series, S21 series, etc), it would be a smart move if OnePlus grandfathered its older devices as well.
Hopefully, OnePlus' revised strategy can help (even if a little) to regain its massive star popularity from its early days. The BBK-owned company was recently merged with Oppo, and that process has been challenging for OnePlus, to say the least. Among other things, OnePlus essentially was forced to replace its popular and highly customizable Android skin to Oppo's poor-man's iOS homage.