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In past years, Nokia had positioned itself as the champion of speedy Android updates, thanks to its commitment to Google’s Android One programme. But we are seeing Samsung run rings round them with Android 11 updates. The Android One project is designed to produce smartphones that run stock/pure Android and that receive speedy software updates similar to what Google Pixel phones get.
While Nokia adopted and ran with the Android One vision, software updates to their smartphones have been anything but speedy. Still, they got it done better than other brands. Last year, OnePlus gave a good showing of itself and pushed out Android updates to its phones quite fast. We were expecting a showdown between Nokia and OnePlus this year. We were wrong.
Samsung has taken the winds out of the sails of both Nokia and OnePlus and have successfully updated a long list of their phone models to Android 11 in the last few months. As a matter of fact, Samsung have made Nokia and OnePlus look really bad this time around.
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Samsung Phones That Have Received Android 11 Update
Here is a list of Samsung phones that have been updated to Android 11 till date.
Note that for Samsung phones, the Android 11 update comes packaged with version 3.1 of the company’s custom Android skin, One UI. As such, all these phones now run One UI 3.1.
- Samsung Galaxy S20
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy Note20
- Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
- Samsung Galaxy S10
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S10e
- Samsung Galaxy Note10
- Samsung Galaxy Fold
- Samsung Galaxy A71
- Samsung Galaxy A51
- Samsung Galaxy A90
- Samsung Galaxy A80
- Samsung Galaxy A70
- Samsung Galaxy A50
- Samsung Galaxy F41
- Samsung Galaxy M31
- SamsungGalaxy M51
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
- Samsung Galaxy A51 5G
- Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
- Samsung Galaxy M31
- SamsungGalaxy S10 Lite
- Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
That makes at least 27 Samsung phone models that have been treated to the Android 11 update.
More and more Samsung smartphones are being updated to Android 11 day after day. It is such a marvellous sight to see.
Meanwhile, the only Nokia smartphone that has been updated to Android 11 is the Nokia 8.3 5G. That’s it. And it only just got updated in February 2021. On the 4th of February, HMD Global’s Chief Product Office tweeted that updates to other Nokia phones would follow “fast”. His exact words:
Counterpoint Research recognized us for fastest portfolio wide deployment of Android 9 & 10. Now we do a hat trick with Android 11 committing to latest Android experience even to our most affordable global handsets.
Nokia 8.3 5G opens flood gates, other products to fast follow.
Here we are over a month after that tweet, and nothing has happened yet. So much for fast. One has to ask, What is happening at HMD Global? The promise of fast updates was why I said in 2019 that my next smartphone might be a Pixel or a Nokia. In September 2020, HMD published an Android 11 update calendar for Nokia phones but quickly withdrew it, and it has been mostly silence from them since then. Strange.
Just last year, OnePlus was impressive with Android 10 updates. One only wonders why they are sleeping on Android 11 updates this time. Only OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro have been updated as at the time of writing this article. None of OnePlus 7, 7 Pro, 7T, and 7T Pro have received Android 11 as at February 2021. So far, it looks like when it comes to Android software updates, with the exception of Google, past performance is no indicator of future results.
Recently, Samsung committed to providing 3 years of software updates to its Galaxy S flagships, high-end Galaxy A phones, and Galaxy Z foldable devices. That is similar to what HMD Global promised for all Nokia phones.
Having vouched for Nokia and OnePlus in the past and having been left with a sour taste in the mouth, I am not vouching for any brand but Google going forward. I might change my mind and vouch for Samsung if they keep up this sterling performance for 3 consecutive years.
For now, if you want the speediest Android software updates, I recommend that you buy a Google Pixel. With the other brands, I will be cautious and say that for now, there are no guarantees. Who knows – when Android 12 arrives, TECNO might be the brand to deliver the speediest software updates while Samsung goes back to sleep again. At this rate, anything is possible.
Meanwhile, this unfolding Android 11 update drama reinforces something I said last year: Android One needs to die and go away. It has outlived its usefulness. Selah.
Samsung’s Android 13 Update Rollout
2022 Update: Almost two years after this article was first published, and Samsung has kept its promise of delivering Android updates. As a matter of fact, several Samsung galaxy phones have received One UI 5.0 based on Android 13, at the time of updating this article. The Korean brand has been on a blitz of updating their existing (and often years old) cell phones and tablets to Android 13.
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