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Qualcomm’s $1,500 phone for Snapdragon superfans is falling behind on software

Qualcomm’s $1,500 phone for Snapdragon superfans is falling behind on software


Its last security patch is from six months ago

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The Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders.
The Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders.
Image: Qualcomm

Qualcomm, the company that produces Snapdragon processors, wanted to go big for the launch of its first smartphone, slapping a $1,500 price tag on an Asus-designed device that supposedly caters to the geekiest of Snapdragon fans. But, almost a year after its release, the dream phone for superfans is still running Android 11 and hasn’t received a security patch past January’s update, as first reported by XDA Developers (via Android Police).

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.

The next security patch is supposedly arriving on June 20th

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.

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.

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.

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.