OnePlus won't match Samsung and Google on 7-year updates because the hardware can't keep up

The filling might be okay but the "bread could get moldy"

The OnePlus 12 next to a OnePlus anniversary mascot on a pink and grey background
(Image credit: Future / Sam Cross)

OnePlus doesn't believe it can commit to seven-years of updates for the OnePlus 12 and 12R as the hardware (experience) will struggle past a certain point.

The company's COO also explained that battery degradation can be a factor.

The recent trend of longer software update guarantees for the best flagship phones is undeniably a step in the right direction.

Both Google and Samsung have launched new handsets in the last few months, each promising seven years of updates for their respective devices. This will keep them feeling like they get the newest software features, and ensure they are secure for a lengthy period of use. 

But, with the impressive OnePlus 12 out for purchase globally as of today, OnePlus has opened up on why it has only stretched to a five-year guarantee on the software front.

In fact, it's more like four years since the final year is only promised to include security updates, and OnePlus' COO and president Kinder Liu was quite candid about this when talking to Tom's Guide this week. 

He effectively explained that while software update promises are well and good, they're a slight smokescreen when considering that the phone in question will likely struggle to handle them at a certain point. The hardware will start to lag too far behind, he claimed.

"The bread... might be moldy"

Going metaphorical, Liu said: "Imagine your phone is a sandwich. Some manufacturers are now saying that the filling in their sandwich – their phone's software – will still be good to eat in seven years' time. But what they're not telling you is that the bread in the sandwich – the user experience – might be moldy after four years.

"Suddenly a seven-year software update policy doesn't matter, because the rest of your experience with the phone is terrible."

Now, that might be a slightly stretched metaphor, but it gets the point across well. OnePlus doesn't believe its customers would necessarily benefit from updates beyond a certain point. 

When you consider battery degradation as an additional factor, the fact is that plenty of people won't be aiming or able to use the same phone in seven years' time, without major repair or replacement parts available (which is another topic entirely). 

So, it doesn't look like we can expect any change on this front from OnePlus particularly soon. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.