It’s time for the annual guessing game to begin!
Android O is going to arrive soon, and while many are still waiting for Android N, it’s still worth looking forward.
Android O is Google’s eighth full version of Android and brings one major shift in strategy that might mean we’re not waiting for updates as long as we have been. Called Project Treble, the system files have been rearranged so that it’s easier for the company who made your phone (and the company who made the parts it’s built from) to update their software so that it works with updated versions of the Android core.
Other improvements for the interface and security are part of the update, too. New ways to display notifications while still keeping the same layout but letting the user control the amount of information given are coming, as are multi-function icons with unread indicators. These are all features companies building phones will need to implement into its version of Android O in some form or fashion, or not at all. Android is like that — Samsung or Motorola or whoever can do as they please as long as they meet a few standards for access to Google Play. It makes Android more fun, but makes the update situation a little frustrating.
The most important thing about Android O for many of us is when. As in, when will we see it on our phones? Right now the answer to the question is mostly a guessing game, though some of the guessings are fairly easy. We’ll revisit here as we get official information, but for now, this is what we think the Android O landscape is going to look like.
This is an easy one. Google supports its phones with full software updates for two years and security patches for three years. And it doesn’t sell a lot of models. These are the phones that will be updated to Android O.
Of course, we expect to see a new Pixel or two before the holidays, and those will ship with Android O.
Samsung not only makes more phones than any other company, it also makes more different models than any other company. We’re going to focus on the high-end models here, and here are our best guesses until Samsung gives us the word from above.
No surprises here. Samsung could probably shoehorn Android O onto the Galaxy S6 and Note 5 series, but the user experience would suffer. Spending time and money to make something worse isn’t a good thing and we don’t expect it to happen. Also don’t be surprised to see some of the inexpensive models like Galaxy A and Galaxy J lines to get an update. These phones are Samsung’s bread and butter and updates can make a lot of people happy.
Once again, we’re going to focus on the high-end models. And once again, this is pretty easy to predict. We think these phones will see Android O.
The G5 is conspicuously absent. That’s because we just don’t think LG is going to update it. It sold poorly, had a very mixed and mediocre customer reaction, and LG would probably just like to forget the whole module thing. So would we.
When you think of Motorola, you think of the cell phone. It invented them. But you don’t think of updates, at least not timely ones. Here are our early predictions of which phones get the Android O treatment.
We include Verizon-specific and prepaid models here because Verizon no longer loves to hold updates from you. Besides, other than Google proper, Motorola phones are the easiest to update.
HTC has scaled back the number of models it makes, which is probably a good thing seeing as it’s struggling a bit when it comes to finances. That also makes it simple to predict which phones will be updated to Android O. Here’s how we see it.
Spoiler: The Desire 530 is a dark horse that I almost put up there. If the component vendors play nice (don’t balk at updating any code or want a pile of money to do it) it could get updated. We’ll have to wait and see what HTC has to say once O is released.
Huawei is the worlds number three smartphone maker, but the majority of its products aren’t sold in the U.S. Also, while technically a separate company we’re dropping our predictions for Honor here.
Sadly, the Kentucky Fried Chicken phone probably won’t get any finger-licking updates. I’m including the Mate 9 and Honor 6X on this list because I have a good vibe about them. I may have to rethink that, we’ll have to see.
There are almost 15,000 different Android phones so we can’t cover them all. But a few need talked about when it comes to future update prophecy.
- The OnePlus 3/3T, and OnePlus 5 will be updated to Android O. OnePlus no longer caters only to enthusiasts, but they know their market and will update the phones that need it.
- The Sony XZ Premium will get an update, and the next model may still be coming in 2017 and ship with Android O. At least rumors suggest it.
- The BlackBerry KeyONE will see an update, though it will take longer than many would like. BlackBerry has always been slow and methodical when it comes to big platform level updates and this isn’t going to change.
That’s it for now. Remember, this is early and this is just some educated guessing and a few hints and industry rumors. We fully expect every company to announce something once we get an official release of Android O and we’ll keep coming back to keep this page updated when it happens!