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Nokia cannot keep up Android 11 update rollout for phones, revises roadmap

HMD initially planned to finish the Android 11 rollout of all existing phones by the second quarter of 2021.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | May 10, 2021 | Updated 13:58 IST

Highlights

  • HMD Global has revised the Android 11 rollout roadmap for Nokia phones.
  • The flagship Nokia 9 PureView, which debuted in 2019, will get Android 11 later this year.
  • HMD has stressed timely Android 11 rollout but it seems to be finding it hard to keep up.

Nokia is one of the leading smartphone brands that prioritises software updates and their timely rollout. But it looks like all is not well at HMD as far as the Android 11 rollout roadmap is concerned. The smartphone company has revised the rollout roadmap for Android 11 updates for Nokia smartphones, highlighting delays. And while the company has not specified why the rollout delays are happening, it is probably because HMD has far less control over software upgrades than you thought. And it may grow into a big problem for Nokia phones that are already having a tough time fighting their rivals.

The new Android 11 rollout roadmap pushes back software releases by at least a quarter. So now, Nokia phones that were still to get Android 11 will take longer. Nokia 4.2, Nokia 2.2, Nokia 2.3, and Nokia 8.1 are likely to get Android 11 sometime during the end of the first quarter and second quarter, as opposed to their previous timeline of Q1 2021. And subsequently, the Android 11 rollout for other Nokia phones is likely to take place much later. One interesting mention here is Nokia 5.3, which arrived last year in India. It was supposed to get Android 11 sometime in the fourth quarter of 2020 but now HMD has revised the roadmap to show the delay. The Nokia 5.3 Android 11 rollout may now take place sometime in Q2 2021.

Nokia 9 PureView, which has been the only flagship phone from HMD Global since its launch in 2019, will get Android 11 towards the end of the roadmap, i.e., the third quarter of 2021. Also, HMD has said it will roll out Android 11 software to Nokia 7.2 and the Nokia 6.2.

The delay behind the Android 11 rollout for Nokia phones may be because HMD does not control most hardware and software components. HMD has got ODM partners that look after the manufacturing of phones and software maintenance on them. And if there is a delay from ODMs, HMD is in no position to improve the situation. And that is a setback to its long-standing commitment that software updates should reach customers as fast as possible. HMD has time and again stressed the fact that its Nokia phones are among the best when it comes to the pure Android experience, even though the hardware specifications are often underwhelming in front of the competition.

At its recent launch event where HMD introduced as many as six smartphones, the Nokia Mobile caretaker outlined the new Android rollout strategy that includes three years of firmware upgrades to the new X-series phones. This means that both Nokia X20 and X10 are eligible for Android 12, Android 13, and even Android 14 as and when Google begins pushing them to OEM partners. And the delay right now does not look good on HMD's part, especially when its sales in India have dwindled because of the Chinese onslaught and the pandemic.

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