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Android One needs to die and go away

I am an avowed lover of Google’s Android One project. I have followed the project closely and owned a handful of Android One devices, including: Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 6.2, Nokia 3.1 Plus, and Nokia 6.2, among others. But even I must admit that as far as meeting one of the objectives of the programme is concerned, Android One has been a monumental failure.

The Android One programme is built on two key pillars, which are to produce the following:

  1. smartphones that run pure Android OS
  2. smartphones that offer speedy Android software updates

Android One logo
Does Android One need to die?

While all Android One phones have lived up to the objective of the first pillar – they all run stock Android OS – as far as speedy updates are concerned, Android One has been a farce. There has been nothing speedy about the software updates for any of the Android One smartphones in the market in the last four years.

Manufacturers like Nokia, Xiaomi, Infinix, Motorola, BQ, HTC, Genral Mobile, and others have all produced Android One smartphones. Not one of them have lived up to the ideal of speedy updates.

Google’s goal for the programme was that manufacturers should be able to rollout software updates within days or even a few weeks of the rollout of new Android versions. For example, Google Pixel phones start getting a new software update the day it is announced. Essential PH-1 was the only other phone that lived up to this ideal and got a new update the same day Google pushes it out.

Nokia 5.3 Android one
Nokia 5.3 is an Android one smartphone

But there is not one smartphone from Nokia or Motorola or any of the other Android One brands that has pushed out software updates speedily. Owners of thsoe devices wait months – many months mostly – before the update is available.

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For example, Google officially rolled out Android 10 on September 3rd, 2019. My Nokia 6.2 did not get it until April 19, 2020. That was 7 months after. And as we speak, some Nokia smartphones that are eligible for Android 10 are yet to get it. Note that Android 11 is already official and rolling out to various devices.

There is not one manufacturer that has lived up to the promise of speedy updates for Android One phones. Not even Nokia, the bright and shining knight and champion of the programme.

To make it worse, almost every other manufacturer that was on the programme has jumped off, having discovered that delivery software updates isn’t a walk in the park. It is a long list too. Xiaomi is out. Infinix is out. Motorola has not made any statement about exiting the proramme, but they have stopped mentioning Android One in their phone specs and promotional materials.

Only Nokia remains officially championing Android One, and as already noted, the software updates are anything but speedy. Not even Nokia’s premium flagships get software updates speedily.

Google Pixel 4 Oh So Orange
Google Pixel 4 Oh So Orange

The Android One programme needs to die and go away, because as things are right now, it exists only in name. If you want stock Android OS and speedy software updates, buy a Google Pixel device.

Or perhaps manufacturers need to stop making false promises of fast and timely updates, so our expectations do not keep getting dashed. Personally, unless things change with the current slow pace of Android updates, I am done with Android One. Can we have Android Two, please, whatever that may turn out to be?

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