Nokia’s re-emergence as a force to reckon with in the smartphone industry is, for the most part, thanks to Android One’s promise of timely software updates, both monthly security patches and major Android OS upgrades.
Many Android fans, I included, for some reason, simply love the idea of timely software updates, perhaps because of the platform’s longstanding issues in regards to this aspect. The only phones that promise this are the Google Pixels, which most of us can only afford to read about and watch videos of how good they are in real life.
With Android One, though, Google’s aim was to bring the Pixel software experience to phones that you and I can easily afford, an idea that HMD Global bought into and swore by it, that going forward, all of its smartphones (apart from the entry-level Android Go edition) will be based on Android One. Since 2017, HMD has released about 20 Nokia Android phones globally, including the entry-level Nokia 1.
This is easily one reason HMD was able to sell over 70 million units (probably including feature phones) in just two years of doing business with Nokia as revealed by German publication, WinFuture. While Nokia isn’t bad off at the moment, this growing number of devices may eventually have a negative impact on the amount of time HMD takes to prepare software updates. This should be even much tougher for the company considering that it employs just 650 people globally.
2 years of "the new Nokia"! We spoke with HMD about what was & what will be. Here are a few tidbits:
HMD will be innovation leader "SOON"(TM).
No new Nokia "retro phones".
Just 650 ppl work for HMD worldwide.
Mid-range makes the money.
No Nokia 9 this year.https://t.co/FQPkRX1FgS
— Roland Quandt (@rquandt) December 7, 2018
Nokia 2 Oreo update delay
Nokia made a bold promise that all of its devices will receive at least two major Android OS upgrades. While other devices that came running Android Nougat have already been updated to Oreo, the Nokia 2’s Oreo update is still in beta.
As of this writing, we have no idea when the stable version will arrive. This makes me wonder if and when Android 9 Pie Go Edition will arrive on the Nokia 2.
Nokia 8 Pie update delay
The Nokia 8 and Nokia 8 Sirocco were the company’s most premium phones in 2017 and naturally, they were expected to lead the way when Android 9 Pie update started rolling out in August 2018. However, the midrange Nokia 7 Plus got the nod ahead of the duo and as of this writing, the two are yet to switch to Pie.
This has led to rumors that HMD could be deliberately delaying the Nokia 8 Pie update in order to boost the sales of the Nokia 8.1 that runs the new OS out of the box. Of course, the company has strongly denied this and in the process even added some weight to this article – that the huge number of Nokia devices (with different processors that require individual attention with respect to software maintenance) is stretching the company to some extent.
Rest assured that we would never do such thing. Each chipset family and each product in it requires dedicated work. We have extreme focus here and push updates as fast as possible.
— Juho Sarvikas (@sarvikas) December 8, 2018
More phones in 2019
With the New Year only a few weeks away, there is no doubt that HMD will be looking to refresh the current-gen phones with newer models. We don’t know how many, but what is obvious is that the company will now have even more phones to maintain. Yes, these 2019 phones will have Pie out of the box, but with Android Q around the corner, they’ll need fast updates to the newer OS too. This could further delay the Pie updates for 2017 and some 2018 devices like it is already happening with the Nokia 8 and Nokia 8 Sirocco.
Other Nokia phones also waiting in line for an update to Pie are Nokia 1 (Go Edition), Nokia 2 and Nokia 2.1 (Go Edition), Nokia 3, Nokia 3.1, Nokia 3.1 Plus, Nokia 5, Nokia 5.1, Nokia 5.1 Plus, Nokia 6 and Nokia 7. The update is already available for Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 6.1, Nokia 6.1 Plus, and Nokia 7.1 while Nokia 8.1 has it out of the box.
With all these Nokia phones, there is a likelihood that the promise of timely software updates that comes with Android One may not live up long enough. I just hope I’m wrong!
What are your thoughts? Join the conversation via the comments section below.