If you are trying to guess why Realme is very bad at giving software update?, then you are at the right place.
In this post we will be discussing why companies like Realme doesn’t releases major Android updates faster. If you compare them with any Android One device manufacturer like Nokia then you would realize that they are a hell lot slower.
Let us dive a bit deeper.
Why Realme is very bad at giving software update?
There are multiple reasons why Realme is very bad at giving software update.
Let us discuss them all.
Realme UI is highly customized
One of the reasons why Realme is slow at releasing software updates is because of it’s heavy customization.
Google releases all these major software updates first then these OEMs do some customizations and then they release it to the public.
Now, the problem is that most of the Android UIs like OneUI, Realme UI, and MIUI are heavily customized. Whenever Google releases a software update they have to apply their custom skin (OneUI, Realme UI, etc.) and add the unique features of their UI before releasing it.
Now Realme UI gets more delayed because it is highly customized with a lot of extra features that takes time and resources to implement. One the other companies like Motorola can release updates quicker because their UI is very close to stock Android.
Realme is not a ‘cash rich’ company
Releasing updates for each and every model is not an easy task for companies like Realme.
As I had already mentioned Realme UI is highly customized, updating it takes man power, time, and money. Now the problem also lies at the fact that for every Realme phone they have to do some extra tweaking apart from applying the Realme UI on stock Android. This requires a dedicated team for every model they make.
If they go about updating all their devices with major software upgrades for even 3 years, they would go bankrupt. Also, most of their models are in the budget segment and doing this will fast exceed their profit margins.
You might consider adding some extra tweaks for each of their models a small step but this needs a lot of testing. Things could easily go haywire if not done tested properly.
Xiaomi is particularly known for releasing buggy updates just because of improper testing. In one such particular Xiaomi’s software update, the phone got bricked (completely dead) after updating to the latest software.
Though the XIaomi example is one of the more extreme examples where things go wrong drastically. Still, you could find many bugs in many of the Android manufacturer’s software updates. The only reason less resources.
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Android is getting more complex
As with Apple pushing more towards user’s security and privacy, Google is also trying to enhance core Android’s security features. While it is extremely beneficial for the users, it becomes a pain for the developers.
The OEM manufacturers also suffers due to this since they have to find workarounds of what could be easily done previously. This again takes some time and manual effort.
Though you cannot expect this to improve in future as Android will add more features and enhances it’s security even further.
One more aspect is that Google is under some tight scrutiny in many different countries especially in the European Union. It is a very important market for Google and they have to take care of the laws as well before rolling out any update.
What the companies like Realme could do however is to create systematic workflows and stay in touch with Google for solving their problems. This way they will at least don’t have to waste time in getting around the basics of the software update.
Realme needs to update their custom UI too
Apart from the core software updates they need to update their custom UI too. Since for most of the Android manufacturer’s their USP is their custom skin, they often need to tweak it for user retention.
Updating their custom skin and then testing it against several use cases and the different edge cases again takes a hell lot of time.
One other major problem with updating their UI is to decide which Android versions to release it to. For example, if Realme decides to update their UI to version 8.4.2 then they need to find which Android versions are compatible with it. They simply cannot roll their UI update to Android Lollipop (version 5).
All these further adds to the complexity of the delayed software updates.
Pushing users to buy their latest models
Just like the aforementioned reasons, this also is nothing unique to Realme. Smartphone companies don’t make money if a user continues with their smartphone for 5 years.
Their profit margins rely more on the user buying a new smartphone every now and then. This is why you would see that older models with the same Android version and price range tends to get software updates later than the newer ones.
However, they don’t stop there either. They go as far as to purposefully releasing software updates that would slow down the user’s devices.
Realme also is no different, although it is a bit better than Xiaomi in this regard.
Is Google trying to solve this issue?
As you might have realized while reading this article that this issue is not only restricted to Realme. Most of the Android OEMs tend to have the same problem. Since Android belongs to Google they need to fix this as somewhere down the line it is tarnishing their image too.
Google released Project Treble to solve this very issue in 2017. It aimed at reducing Android fragmentation by enabling OEMs to release software updates faster. It was there in all phones with Android 8.0.
However, almost 5 years later we could safely say that it doesn’t had the impact it desired to create. Software updates are still getting delayed and users have nowhere to go.
So should we blame Google for this? Absolutely no. It is at the OEMs discretion to follow Project Treble. They could simply ignore it as they are doing it over the years.
Many of you would have been thinking that then why doesn’t Google forces Android manufacturer’s to do so? Well, they can’t. Because in my opinion they are caught up in a tricky position.
If Google tries to force the manufacturers then it might result in companies releasing more buggy updates thereby further deteriorating the Android experience.
The root of the problem lies in the fact that this is a cut-throat business and everyone is trying to undercut their competitors, especially in emerging markets.
This ultimately results in aggressive cost cutting to bring the cost price of the smartphone down. However, they cannot compromise on quality since users now are well aware of what is ‘quality’ and what is not.
So, the ultimate way in which they could play dirty is software updates. They try their best to force users to buy a new phone every other year. Their whole business model revolves around users constantly changing their smartphones.
With all that being said, I would like to repeat the fact that it is not only about Realme, it is about the entire Android ecosystem.