The lack of system and security updates in the Android handset world has always been a thorn on users' sides, and it's certainly one of the factors contributing to Apple's success with its phone business. Slowly but steadily, though, we're seeing rays of light emerging. Today, OnePlus announced a firm software maintenance schedule for its recent and upcoming smartphones.
OnePlus promises to offer system updates to its phones for a full two years after their release. The T-variant handsets are counted separately, too. In addition, the company says it'll provide security updates for an additional year thereafter. When it comes to existing phones, the new schedule applies to the OnePlus 3, 5, and 6, along with the respective T models.
Although the company's generally been good about offering Android system upgrades, the rate at which it's done so in the past would be better defined in Valve-days. The new schedule, now set in virtual stone, should guarantee a reasonably steady stream of upgrades and stave off a common complaint about OnePlus' handsets.
The maintenance schedule is more than welcome, but a two-year timeframe for system updates still pales in comparison to the software longevity of Apple's current lineup, which includes the 2013-vintage iPhone 5S (I own one, and it's still alive and kicking). That makes for nearly five years of software updates and counting. The Cupertino cooks said that the upcoming iOS 12 will still work on devices that can run iOS 11, too.
Having said that, OnePlus' policy is one of the better ones in the Android world. The mighty Google ensures three years of updates for its Pixel 2 and upcoming devices. Meanwhile, Samsung and Motorola do offer regular security updates, but apparently don't have hard-set policies for Android system upgrades. In practice, only the companies' most recent handsets seem to get newly baked Android. LG only recently set up a “software upgrade division.”