Just last week, a report came out on how major Android phone makers, at least those who sell their stuff in the US, fared when rolling out major Android updates, like Nougat, Oreo, and whatever Android P will be called. But while major updates are important, rolling out security updates are even more critical. Independent security researcher @SecurityLab just published a table showing how smartphone companies fared in providing their users much-needed timely security updates. And the results are not exactly surprising save for one.
That Apple is all green shouldn’t be news by now. Having control over both software and hardware and not being beholden to carriers, Apple is at a distinct advantage. However, it should still be praised for choosing to put out updates quickly. With no hurdles to overcome, Apple could have slacked off just as well if it chose to. Amusingly, Microsoft is almost in the same situation, but it doesn’t have much to maintain anyway.
Among the Android phone makers, Essential and Google are the only ones that have a good amount of green in their row. Google is pretty much a no-brainer, following in Apple’s footsteps when it comes to the Pixel phones. Essential deserves credit for still being able to put out updates as fast as Google, without being Google. Sadly, both’s scores are hobbled by the latency introduced by carriers.
What’s somewhat surprising is that Samsung actually isn’t at the bottom of the pile as most would have expect. It’s far from perfect, of course, but it supposedly only takes weeks for the first security update to hit at least one device. But like ComputerWorld’s criticism of some manufacturers, Samsung’s graph quickly drops after that first rollout. OnePlus is surprisingly nearer to the bottom in that regard as well.
Although you should take the chart with a grain of salt, it does match most impressions and observations, especially among Android OEMs. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture, unless you love red. Even more worrying considering the growing rate of security exploits being discovered and revealed of late.