Android Pie

Brown’s Bytes – Everyone Had Enough Pie Yet?

Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes

15th February 2019

Back to a regular thread for me this week. Let’s take a look at how Android is getting on with the adoption of Pie.

As regular readers will know, patching has been the Achilles heel of Android for some time now. In fairness, it has been the Achilles heel of most mobile OS’s through the years – look back at BlackBerry and it really wasn’t much better.

The exception has always been Apple. Credit where credit is due, they have forced the market to adopt their model. Updates are released when they say so and nobody can hold them up.

Anyway, back to Android…

Android Pie has been available for 6 months now, having been released in early August 2018. Computerworld has decided to issue a report card for handset manufacturers based on how well they’re doing getting Pie out into the wild.

I thought this was a fun way to look at it and I’d recommend a look at the detail of how it was calculated. Unfortunately, the headlines remain pretty grim.

Only Google themselves got an A. For obvious reasons – their devices follow the Apple model and take vanilla Android updates straight away.

Now, what’s interesting in the UK Enterprise market is that when I ask my device team which Android devices customers are buying, the answer is still mainly Samsung. No major surprises here – that answer has remained Samsung now for some considerable time.

And yet, Samsung got an F. What’s astonishing isn’t that it is this low, but that it’s actually an improved score… they managed to get their current flagship phone to have the update after “only” 177 days! To be fair to Samsung, the competition didn’t do well either… only OnePlus managed to score better than an F.

However, the footnote to this story is important: they note that Android One and specifically Nokia are doing well for update speed.

Android One is Google’s great hope for sorting this mess out… of course it only works if the handset manufacturers play ball; so far Nokia has committed the largest range of devices to it, but the benefits for Enterprise are clear. Faster updates mean fewer security risks from out of date OS in the estate.

Android Enterprise Recommended is a good fall back here. Although not as quick, there are commitments given for the length of support and speed of updates as part of the programme.

If the device you’re buying for Enterprise has neither of these tags, then look very hard at how patching is going to be handled. Samsung is not playing ball with either AE Recommended or Android One… if they go it alone, they really need to grasp the nettle of patching themselves. Google has shown the way now…

You can see why so many Enterprises still buy Apple!