Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Insider smartphone still runs Android 11

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In a Reddit thread pointed out by XDA, users question whether the device, dubbed the Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders, has been abandoned by Qualcomm. The last software update for the device occurred in March (18.1055.2201.203), and while it mentions “updated Android security patch,” it reportedly pushed the now-six-month-old January update to the phone instead. Meanwhile, Google and Samsung have already started rolling out the June 2022 update to select devices.

Qualcomm, which makes Snapdragon chips, intended to make a huge splash with the debut of its first smartphone, charging $1,500 for an Asus-designed handset that allegedly caters to the most ardent Snapdragon aficionados. However, over a year after its release, the superfan’s dream phone is still running Android 11 and hasn’t gotten a security patch since January, according to XDA Developers (via Android Police).

Highlights

  • A Qualcomm representative responded to Redditors’ concerns, at least on the frequency of its security updates. “The next security patch will be released on 6/20, and new ones will be released every 2-3 months after that,” u/Snapdragon_Asa said. The representative didn’t answer users’ questions about the rollout of Android 12, and Qualcomm and Asus didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.

  • Qualcomm still hasn’t upgraded the phone to Android 12, either — something that really shouldn’t be the case for a flagship device that costs more than $1,000. Android 11 is almost two years old now, and a number of companies have already started letting users download the beta test of Android 13 on their phones.

Asus also doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to rolling out updates in a timely manner. Last September, Asus released the Asus ZenFone 8 with Android 11 and started rolling out an Android 12 update in December. It didn’t push Android 12 to ZenFone 7 series devices until last month, and the Asus Rog Phone 5, a device similar in specs to the Snapdragon Insider’s smartphone, didn’t get Android 12 until March of this year. To compare, other newer devices like the Pixel 6 / 6 Pro shipped with Android 12 when they came out in October, while Samsung made Android 12 available to the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra in November.

As noted by Android Police, Asus — the company that designed and manufactured the device — may have something to do with the overall sluggishness of updates. It’s possible that Asus just isn’t prioritizing this device for updates. It’s unclear how many of these devices Qualcomm managed to sell, but it’s likely less than Asus’ more affordable lines of ZenFones.

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