The OnePlus Nord N10 5G shipped with Android 10, which was irksome but not a dealbreaker. And yet, the news that the phone will only get a single upgrade to Android 11 – as in, the OS update Google already released several months ago – cripples the N10 5G’s longevity.
OnePlus confirmed that the N10 5G will get ‘one major Android update’ to AndroidCentral – as will the even more budget OnePlus Nord N100 phone. And yes, while both will be secured with two years of security updates, neither will get whatever features come in next year’s Android 12.
OnePlus is usually pretty quick on getting its devices upgraded to the next version of Android (relative to other phones, anyway) – the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro started upgrading to Android 11 in mid-October – so it’s disappointing to see the N10 5G won’t get upgraded beyond what’s already coming to the company’s other phones. Or, in the case of the OnePlus 8T which launched with Android 11, what’s already in the box.
Does this change our opinion of the N10 5G?
Definitely. Mid-range phones are value buys, and it’s honestly a little shocking that OnePlus is effectively locking its new affordable phones in to the current year’s software updates. That effectively matches Motorola’s practice of one update and two years of security software, an outlier among phonemakers who typically offer two big Android updates and three years of security – which even included OnePlus as of 2018.
Which is even more surprising given the industry’s move toward extending their guarantees to three generations of Android upgrades. Samsung started announcing that its flagship Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S20 phones would get three years, and expanded that promise to its mid-range Galaxy A51 and top-tier Samsung Galaxy Z Fold soon after.
Microsoft even joined the movement by assuring its Surface Duo folding not-a-phone would get three years of Android upgrades. And, while Google never outright stated it, by cutting off the original Pixel phones from getting Android 11, it inadvertently set the bar at four years of updates. While the company doesn’t have to follow through with that precedent on its more recent Pixel phones, we’d be surprised if it didn’t.
Therefore, this OnePlus move doesn’t just feel like it’s undercutting N10 5G and N100 buyers – it’s going against the current vogue. Hopefully the phonemaker will change its tune.