On June 28, 2018, Manu J. — Global Product Operations Manager at OnePlus — posted to the official OnePlus forums to discuss the company’s software maintenance schedule. In that forum post, Manu J. laid out a very specific promise for all OnePlus devices going forward:
As per the maintenance schedule, there will be two years of regular software updates from the release date of the phone (release dates of T variants would be considered), including new features, Android versions, Android security patches and bug fixes and an additional year of Android security patch updates every two months.
That’s a very specific promise: two years of regular software updates for every phone the company releases with an additional year of security patches every two months, for a total of three full years of support. Since security patches in the third year come every two months, we can only assume “regular software updates” during the first two years will be equal to or less than every two months.
It seems that OnePlus is not keeping up with its promise.
I’ll be completely honest here: there are a lot of smartphones out there from a lot of major OEMs with security patches much older than January 2019. There are also a lot of OEMs out there that could never ever keep up with delivering Android updates to their devices every two months.
But this isn’t just any OEM — this is OnePlus.
OnePlus has worked very hard to build up its credibility within the Android world as a company that “gets” its fanbase. Its company motto — “Never Settle” — is a testament to the importance of listening to its fanbase and delivering products that bring the best features at the best value possible. A major aspect of that fan connection is how dependable the company is when it comes to updates, which makes this lapse in its promise more concerning than it would be if it happened with pretty much any other OEM.
As a OnePlus fan, it disappoints me that the company can’t keep up with a promise it delivered less than a year ago.
To be fair, there’s a lot going on at OnePlus at the moment. Rumors suggest the company is gearing up to launch not one but three smartphones in a month’s time, by far the most devices its launched at one time than ever before. There’s also a OnePlus TV on the way at some point this year, a brand new product the company has never attempted before. I and other OnePlus fans understand that delivering Android security patches is probably pretty low on the list of priorities for the company at this very moment.
However, we are OnePlus fans because the company is different. We are OnePlus fans because the company, more or less, keeps its promises. Over the past few years though, we’ve seen some major shifts from OnePlus that have been disappointing, to say the least. In 2017, for example, the company dropped plans to update the OnePlus 2 to Android 7 Nougat after saying it would get it. Elsewhere, Carl Pei’s command to fans to “learn to love the notch” on the OnePlus 6 was completely out-of-character for the company. The removal of the headphone jack from the OnePlus 6T — after years of mocking other OEMs for removing the port in their own devices — was another major blow to fans around the world, going very much against the Never Settle motto. The consistent raising of prices for OnePlus devices is also very divisive.
Now we have to add this broken update promise to the list of disappointments.
Is all of this going to stop me from buying OnePlus phones? No. I’m still on board the OnePlus train and am excited to see the newest entries in the OnePlus family soon. However, how many broken promises, insults to fans, and tarnishing of the Never Settle credo will I — or OnePlus fans in general — take before it gets to be too much?