Evaluating Budget Smartphone Brands for Software Support in South Africa
Honor, originally a sub-brand of Huawei, became an independent company in November 2020. While its hardware specifications are similar to Huawei, Honor has its own unique designs. Honor's smartphones run on the MagicOS operating system, which fully supports Google Mobile Services (GMS) and the Google Play Store. Honor provides two years of Android upgrades and two years of security patches for its high-end smartphones, ensuring a decent level of software support.
Oppo, known for selling around 10% of the world's smartphones in 2022, is associated with Chinese tech giant BBK Electronics. Oppo operates in over 50 countries, including South Africa. The company's software policy varies depending on the pricing segment. Oppo's flagship smartphones receive up to four Android upgrades and five years of security patches. However, budget smartphones in the Oppo A series only get one Android upgrade and three years of security fixes.
Nokia-branded smartphones are now manufactured by HMD Global, a separate company headquartered in Finland. Nokia phones are known for providing a clean version of the Android operating system. Nokia has the ability to roll out security and feature updates without requiring permission from mobile network operators, ensuring quicker updates. The most affordable Nokia smartphone in South Africa is the C21, which receives security updates until June 2024 but does not receive Android upgrades.
As the world's largest smartphone manufacturer, Samsung competes strongly in all pricing segments, including the budget category. Samsung offers the broadest range of budget models among the brands meeting the criteria. The company provides a generous software support policy, with all Samsung Galaxy smartphones guaranteed to receive at least four major Android upgrades and five years of security patches. This commitment applies to all of Samsung's smartphones, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious consumers seeking long-term software support.
Xiaomi, the world's third-largest smartphone brand, has gained popularity outside of China in recent years, particularly in the budget and mid-range segments. While Xiaomi does not strictly commit to providing Android upgrades for a specific period, it delivers quarterly or monthly security updates for its Redmi range, which includes the most affordable Xiaomi smartphone in South Africa, the Redmi 10A.