In the market for a new Android phone? You're better off waiting for this year's Google phones.
Mobile app insights firm Apteligent has published its Android manufacturer update report for July 2016(PDF), detailing the track record of manufacturers when it comes to rolling out updates in the U.S. and India. Outside of Nexus devices, Motorola is the fastest to roll out Marshmallow to its devices, and overall the company has done a great job of getting updates out quickly in spite of a few missteps.
That may all change this year now that Motorola is a part of Lenovo. The manufacturer is yet to commit to an Android 7.0 Nougat update window for this year's Moto Z and Moto Z Droid, and that's nothing to say of the Moto G4 Plus, Moto G4, and last year's Moto X Style, Moto X Play, or the Moto G 2015. All of these devices are expected to be updated to Android 7.0, but we'll have to wait and see how Motorola treats software updates under Lenovo. The company has reiterated that the Moto Z and Moto Z Droid will receive software updates, and is currently rolling out the July security patch to both handsets at the end of August.
Apteligent says that it monitored "tens of thousands of mobile apps representing hundreds of millions of application launches" for the statistics, leveraging "app loads and network data." The dataset is selective, and doesn't feature the likes of Huawei in the U.S., even though ZTE is included.
As for other manufacturers, HTC came in at second place, and with the Taiwanese company announcing that it will make the Nougat update available to the unlocked and carrier variants of the HTC 10, One A9, and the One M9 in the fourth quarter of 2016.
LG was at third place for Marshmallow rollout, but with the LG V20 all set to be the first phone to offer Nougat out of the box, the manufacturer is likely to pull ahead this year. Samsung was fourth, but the South Korean company has turned things around when it comes to rolling out security patches in recent months. It needs to make the patches available in more regions and on more devices, but with regards to the U.S. and Indian markets, Samsung is doing a great job.
The report also found that Sony's phones were the least likely to crash, and that the Russian market is severely fragmented, with the top 10 phones accounting for just 27% of total usage.
Let's talk about India
Coming to the Indian market, it isn't hard to see that Motorola outpaces all other manufacturers when it comes to updates. HTC and LG are second and third, followed by Sony and Samsung. We don't see any mention of Micromax, the second-largest smartphone vendor. OPPO, Xiaomi, Lenovo, LeEco, and Honor, which represent a significant chunk of the smartphone market in the country, are also absent. There's an easy explanation for this: most of the aforementioned brands are yet to make the switch to Marshmallow.
The Redmi Note 3 is one of the best-selling phones in the country this year, accounting for over 1.75 million sales. The phone picked up the update to MIUI 8, but the base Android version is still stuck at Android 5.1.1. That said, Xiaomi is doing a great job of rolling out monthly security patches.
Similarly, OPPO's F1s is also stuck on Android 5.1.1, and vivo's V3 and V3 Max are running Android 5.1. OPPO and vivo are gaining market share in India by aggressively focusing on the offline market in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, which means a lot of new phone buyers are purchasing handsets with outdated software.
The main takeaway is that if you're looking for quick updates, Nexuses — or Google phones as they'll be called — are your best bet.