Conventionally OEMs take ages to update their phones to latest versions of android primarily due to heavy skins they apply on top of stock android. Nokia, on the other hand, relies mostly on stock android but it still takes several steps before an update is released to the public.
Nokia has released a beautiful infographic highlighting the journey a new version of Android takes before coming to their phones.
The nine-step process starts with Google releasing OS codes and sharing it with chipmakers. The chipmakers then optimize that for different chipsets. They decide which chips to optimize first.
Other OEMs like Samsung and Huawei spend loads of time in this step. This is because they apply huge skins on top of Android. From the phone dialer to the app drawer, everything is tweaked in their skins. This leads to massive delays and when a major software revamp is done, as Samsung did with its One UI, the time required increases drastically.
As OEMs spend more time on their skins, it triggers a snowball effect resulting in older devices taking forever to be updated to the latest versions of Android.
While Nokia does add its own coating on top of stock android, it’s minimal. When compared with competitors, Nokia’s near stock experience allows for this step to be completed relatively quickly. This results in faster updates across the board.
Once that is done, the builds are extensively tested for their connectivity, reliability, and performance. Beta testers assist by giving crash reports and valuable feedback. Nokia says that over 120,000 people have beta tested its android builds.
The build must then successfully pass conformance tests. These include tests for Wifi and Bluetooth and compared with standards that are accepted globally. After second testing and confirmation from operators, the build is shared with the public via OTA update.
So even Nokia with its near stock android needs to go through so many tests. It must be a nightmare for companies like Xiaomi who give a totally different look to their Android builds.