In a recent interview, Kinder Liu, OnePlus‘s COO and President, discussed the company’s update policy, clarifying why OnePlus chooses not to match Samsung and Google’s extended update cycle, which sees new phones receive software updates for a generous seven years. While the OnePlus 12 series has boasted some serious attention and impressive pre-order sales, users have been questioning the brand’s five-year software support approach compared to competitors.
Liu stressed that user experience surpasses software update policies alone, even if you’ve picked up the best Samsung phone or best gaming phone. To demonstrate his point, he created a (very tasty sounding) metaphor and compared smartphones to sandwiches. In Speaking with Tom’s Guide, Lui explained that some manufacturers promise the filling (software) to remain palatable for seven years, neglecting the “bread” (user experience), which may degrade after four years, making extended software support irrelevant. “Simply offering longer software update policies completely misses the point,” he says. “It’s not just software update policies that are important to the user, it’s the fluency of your phone’s user experience, too.”
Essentially, Liu claims that there’s no point in having up-to-date software if your hardware becomes obsolete with age. Additionally, Liu voiced concerns about battery health, suggesting that while competitors promise seven years of software updates, battery degradation may affect the device’s performance. Certainly, that’s something that a lot of consumers can relate to. As Liu said, OnePlus tries to ensure the longevity of its hardware by rigorously testing its devices with TÜV SUD to simulate years of usage, ensuring “fast and smooth” performance for four years. Instead, the decision not to extend update policies reflects OnePlus’s dedication to delivering a seamless user experience over the device’s lifecycle rather than prioritizing flashy policies.
While Samsung and Google introduce longer update cycles, OnePlus remains steadfast, prompting reflection on the evolving dynamics of smartphone longevity and user expectations in the tech landscape, especially as anticipation builds for the OnePlus 12 series release builds.
For more on OnePlus, check out our list of the best OnePlus phones, and the best mobile games you can play right now, too. Or, see our Samsung S24 Ultra review to get the lowdown on OnePlus’ hottest competitors.