This year's big Android update has finally arrived, but there's not quite the excitement around its release that was common just a few years ago. Given the current worldwide pandemic and Google's shift to working from home, it's impressive that Android 11 arrived even close to on time, but the upgrade seemingly crossed the finish line with little fanfare.
LG's Stylo 5 launched almost a year ago with Android Pie. When we reviewed it, we noted the device had good design and amazing battery life, but its prospects for software updates were unclear due to LG's history. While the future's still far from certain, we're happy to see that LG is finally getting around to giving the phone a major refresh, with the company starting to turn the Stylo 5's Android 10 update loose on the wild.
Google has gotten a bit stricter with requiring OEMs to add Android's security updates over the years, but that doesn't mean companies are actually on board. LG's Software Update Center may be running at full power, but everything from last-minute bugs to carrier certification can hold up Android updates. It's almost July, but LG's new dual-screen capable device is only now receiving the May security patch.
Lenovo-owned Motorola used to be king of the budget and mid-range Android handsets, but Nokia phones have overtaken them in recent year, in no small part due to HMD Global's commitment to fast Android updates on even its cheapest phones. The Moto G7 came out a little over a year ago and wasn't exactly the finest entry in the series. It's now finally getting its Android 10 update, at least.
Until recently, the words "Samsung" and "timely updates" were never uttered in the same sentence, unless you were emphasizing the contradiction between them. The Korean behemoth had a reliable, albeit very leisurely update schedule, pushing Android users who valued prompt access to security patches and new features away. With Android 10, things changed drastically, and Samsung has been impressing us more and more, with both major OTA rollouts and monthly security patches. Whether it's due to a different strategy, new team or leadership, Android's Project Treble, or some magical potion, Samsung is quickly becoming the OEM to beat for Android updates and we can't help but applaud its recent efforts.
Sony recently published a timeline detailing when we could expect Android 10 on its phones. While many older devices are only supposed to get the update "early 2020 onwards," the company was more specific with the Xperia 1 and 5, which should get the new software this month. And true to its promise, Sony has just started rolling out the latest version of Android to the two devices.
If there's one aspect of Android that could use improvement, it's the software updates. As OEMs and carriers set their sights on rolling out Android 10, there are still plenty of older devices haven't even tasted a slice of Android 9 Pie. That's why this week's scheduled release of Pie for Verizon and European Union users rocking the LG G6 from 2017 is something of a minor miracle. That LG Software Upgrade Center is finally coming through!
The LG V40 ThinQ only recently received Android 9 Pie on all US carriers, but it's already time for another minor update, hitting the Verizon variant first. It includes some security patches, a native screen recording app, and a secure power-off feature.