Google has promised 7 years of software updates for its Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, and Samsung followed suit with the exact same promise for the Galaxy S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra. OnePlus, on the other hand, is only promising four major Android updates and five years of security patches for its flagships.
If you were expecting OnePlus to pivot to reach the same position as Google and Samsung, you’re in for a disappointment. The company is very happy with its decision not to offer more than five years of support for its devices, and now it’s decided to explain why. It turns out it all has to do with sandwiches.
OnePlus 12R (left) and OnePlus 12 (right)
Bear with us. OnePlus COO Kinder Liu was recently interviewed about the situation and he has this to say:
Simply offering longer software update policies completely misses the point. It’s not just software update policies that are important to the user, it’s the fluency of your phone’s user experience too. Imagine your phone is a sandwich. Some manufacturers are now saying that the filling in their sandwich — their phone’s software — will still be good to eat in seven years’ time. But what they’re not telling you is that the bread in the sandwich — the user experience — might be moldy after four years. Suddenly a seven-year software update policy doesn’t matter, because the rest of your experience with the phone is terrible. When our competitors say their software policy will last seven years, remember that their phone’s battery may not.
Liu also pointed to OnePlus’ stress testing its phones with TÜV SUD to simulate years of use and ensure “fast and smooth” performance even after four years. According to findings published by Counterpoint Research, Android users tend to upgrade their smartphone within four years, so OnePlus was probably looking at that when it decided upon its update policy. Of course, more people might postpone upgrades if the update policies of device makers become longer, so this could just be a chicken vs. egg problem.
To translate all of this into plain English – OnePlus feels that supporting phones for more than it already is makes no sense financially since most people will move onto other devices anyway, and the updates that come past the four to five year mark could worsen the user experience overall – owners of old Pixels seem to know a thing or two about that, from what we’ve gathered.