If you think you have the most secure and up-to-date Android phone in your pocket, you might want to think again.
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Although Samsung is the top-selling Android smartphone in the U.S. (it has eight of the top 10 selling models in the country) -- it lags when it comes to security updates behind Nokia.
In a new report from Counterpoint Technology Market Research, which ranked how well Android devices update their software and security, one-time mobile phone kingpin Nokia proved to be the most reliable for security updates.
"Only a few brands commit to making sure their smartphones are always running the latest version," said Counterpoint's Associate Director, Tarun Pathak, "Nokia was the fastest brand in issuing the latest software updates covering 94 percent of its portfolio within a year of the launch of the latest Android version.”
Nokia’s number one ranking may surprise some who expected the title to go to Samsung, which holds the largest percentage of the market at 37 percent. Nearly 96 percent of Nokia smartphones (sold cumulatively since Q3 2018) are running on the most updated software. Samsung comes in second at 89 percent and Xiaomi with 84 percent, according to the report titled "Software and Security Updates: The Missing Link for Smartphones."
One reason for the gap between software and hardware is that consumers are keeping their devices for longer periods.
“The average time that consumers keep a flagship smartphone before buying a new device has been gradually increasing. In markets as diverse as China, Europe, and the U.S., it is now approaching 30 months," according to Counterpoint.
Counterpoint Research Director Peter Richardson said consumer awareness on this issue is low and that operating system and security updates “[don’t] appear among the 10 features consumers say they care about most, in our research.”
This leads to manufacturers putting little effort into keeping operating systems and security updated. “High-priced devices are often updated first, but having the latest software is as important to mid- and low-priced products as it is to flagship devices,” Counterpoint Research Analyst Abhilash Kumar said.
Richardson noted these can affect features like a phone’s battery life and memory – common complaints from many phone users across the board.
Will this elevate Nokia's reputation in the U.S., which has been primarily reduced to indestructible phone memes? Only future sales will tell.