Nov 26 AT 9:14 PM Taylor Wimberly 72 Comments

Top 10 Android phones, best selling get software updates first

As we count down the weeks till Gingerbread is released the majority of our audience has a phone with Android 2.1 or older and some of those devices will never see a software update again. Many Android handsets have the necessary hardware to run the latest version of Google’s mobile OS (example: myTouch 3G with Android 2.2), but several carriers have decided not to upgrade them in order to provide “the best combined hardware and software experience”.

So what exactly decides which phones get updated? Looking at the Top 20 Android devices report from analytics company Chitika it appears that the phones which sold the most units were among the first to get updated. Check out the best selling phones after the jump.

Top 10 Android devices by traffic from Chitika:

  1. Motorola Droid: Android 2.2, Verizon
  2. HTC EVO 4G: Android 2.2, Sprint
  3. Motorola Droid X: Android 2.2, Verizon
  4. HTC Incredible: Android 2.2, Verizon
  5. Samsung Vibrant: Android 2.1, T-Mobile
  6. Motorola Droid 2: Android 2.2, Verizon
  7. LG Ally: Android 2.1, Verizon
  8. HTC myTouch 3G: Android 2.2, T-Mobile
  9. HTC Droid Eris: Android 2.1, Verizon
  10. HTC Hero: Android 2.1, Sprint

They don’t say what period of time this data was sampled, but Chitika serves “over 3 billion monthly impressions across more than 100,000 websites“. Based on our analytics data and Google’s own Platform Versions report it seems pretty accurate.

Four of the top five phones have been updated to Android 2.2. Samsung is updating the Vibrant and LG is updating the Ally, so pretty soon that will mean 8 out of the top 10 Android phones will be on Android 2.2.

The software support you receive on your phone has little to do with the hardware specs or the manufacturer. We have 1 GHz phones in the U.S. that are still on Android 1.6 (Dell Streak, Sony Ericsson X10) and every handset maker has phones they left behind because they didn’t sell well (Backflip, Garminphone, Aero, Cliq XT, etc).

However there is one exception to the rule and that is the Nexus One, which was made by HTC and supported by Google. It was the first device with Android 2.2, which was easily available after Google announced the update in May at Google I/O.

We should also point out that AT&T does not have a single phone in the top 20 and they are not selling any phones with Android 2.2.

So if you want to own a phone that is highly likely to receive software updates just:

  • Buy the most popular phone for your carrier
  • Avoid AT&T
  • Get the Nexus S

Many Android users have been experiencing some frustrating times as they wait for their carrier to provide an official software update, but it looks like the overall situation is starting to improve.

Samsung might extended the wait a little longer for some, but HTC and Motorola have demonstrated they can deliver updates in a timely manner when the carriers really push them. Sprint and HTC rolled out Android 2.2 in July (just two months after it was available) and then Verizon and Motorola announced their update for the Droid on the following day. It took T-Mobile a little longer to send Android 2.2 to the myTouch 3G in October, but at least they came through on their pledge to keep it updated.

We can often predict when phones are going to perform well (Verizon’s dual-core Droid 4G will be HUGE), but the average consumer walking into their wireless carrier has no clue what version of Android any of the phones run or if they will ever be updated.

So next time your friend ask you what smartphone to buy, just point them towards one with the latest version of Android or tell them about the Nexus S instead.

Source: Chitika

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Roger

    Htc evo: what was it like 2 or 3 months for 2.2?
    Galaxy s: ????????????

    So glad I switched from epic to evo. And since I’m a sprint premier customer, only gotta year til upgrade. Sick shit bro.

  • IHTCEvo

    YAY Evo Rocks but dual-core here I come

    • IHTCEvo

      I won’t get the Nexus S because of the new Sense UI. HTC Sense truly is the best but unless Google steps up its UI. I have to say with HTC. Go check out the features. Its pretty amazing. :)

      • http://Website Bobba

        If your happy with Sense UI, Launcher Pro or ADW might do the trick. While they both offer a more standard Android feel, they do improve much of the shortcomings of default Android launcher.

  • http://Website katvo

    Surprised, but glad to see the Ally on there, and it’s good news to know that not all lower end smartphones will be left behind. It would be nice to have a “date” as to when it will get 2.2 though…

  • http://Website greendroid

    Fragmentation has to stop. Its wrecking the android platform. I’m still on 2.1 Galaxy S and I will be selling it for the Nexus S. I’m sick and tired of having to wait for an update.

    • cesarb

      The first thing that you need to understand is that fragmentation is not Google’s fault. If you want to get updates every six months without having problems, you need to get a phone that runs stock android. Fragmentation happens when Samsung or HTC or Motorola put a skin on top of android like HTC sense or Samsung’s touch wiz. That causes the updates from Google to be delayed because the skin needs to be optimized for it to be able to work with android. Hence fragmentation…

      • http://Website Daniel

        The customizations certainly delay the process somewhat, but the biggest issue is that Google doesn’t do the development/testing on these phones, leaving it all to the manufacturers and carriers. Simply running stock Android is not enough, case in point: G1, Magic, Galaxy (i7500, not SGS) and Droid all run stock Android, yet they were all either abandoned or (in the case of the Droid) still had to wait several months for an update. Even the Evo, which runs Sense, got 2.2 before the Droid.

        • PixelSlave

          I don’t know who gave Daniel a -1, but he’s 100% correct. I have the Droid and I love it. But the Froyo update was slow to come. And, think about it, the original Droid was launched a little bit more than a year ago ONLY. It’s by no mean an old phone. Yet, Verizon and Motorola is beginning to treat it like your great great great grandfather. The bottomline is, Verizon is a carrier, it only cares about selling you the subscription, and Motorola is a handset and it only wants you to buy a new phone every six months. It is NOT in their best interests to keep your phone updated. Google got to do more.

          • http://Website nate

            Not sure where you’re coming from on the Droid. Of the non-Nexus One handsets, the Droid has had more, and quicker, updates than any phone out there.

          • http://Website Zachary

            Well I don’t live in the USA and I am currently using the milestone. Over here, they haven’t even updated the milestone to 2.2 yet.

      • http://Website damien

        “If you want to get updates every six months without having problems, you need to get a phone that runs stock android”

        That means switching to a carrier that actually has a new-ish phone that runs stock Android. That becomes huge a hassle, especially when one of the great benefits of Android is that the user has more freedom to choose carriers. (For example, T-Mobile gets terrible coverage in my neighborhood, so the G2 – which runs stock Android – is not something I can consider.)

        I’d like to see Google take a little more control of their platform. They don’t have to completely lock it down, but at least be assertive with how their product is treated! After all, the Android platform doesn’t belong to the carriers and manufacturers; it belongs to Google – but looking at the state of the OS, that’s becoming more and more difficult to prove :(

        • http://Website 2FR35H

          Pretty much that means you either have to own an LG Optimus or… Switch to t-mobile.

    • http://Website RICHARD

      KUDOS i bought the vibrant the 3 day out… either samsung sucks at updates or tmobile is shitty, the did not want to udate the vibrant because nobody would buy thr my touch 4g

      • daveloft

        Dude Samsung doesn’t suck. Their 2.2 update is finished and out the door for European and Asian markets. The problem with the US is the carriers modified their Galaxy S devices, so they have to optimize it for their devices then do lot’s of testing before pushing it out. The update is now in the carriers hands.

        If you don’t want to wait, root your phone with z4root on the market use ROM Manager to install Clockwork recovery and hit up XDA for a custom ROM.

  • cesarb

    Also how come the Nexus One is not on that list? Last time I checked It was the first phone out of all to get android 2.2……

    • Clark Wimberly

      Because its a list of best selling phones and only us ubernerds bought a Nexus.

      • http://Website DaveC

        a +1 from a fellow ubernerd!! :-)

      • http://Website Robin

        Or got one for free from mr Google :-D

  • cesarb

    LMAO!!! Just look at it this way.. How many of us “ubernerds” have had any problems when it comes to updating to a new version of android? Zero, Zip, Nada.

  • http://Website JaylanPHNX

    I truly hope that, given time, the myTouch4G takes it’s place on that list. The EVO was updated in under three months despite having Sense. I hope the MT4G gets the same push as T-Mobile’s premier phone. It deserves it.

  • velazcod

    Or you could just buy a phone that’s supported by CyanogenMod and you’ll always have the latest version of Android as soon as AOSP is updated.

    [Do give the CM team some time to pull the changes...]

    • http://Website Samsung Vibrator (T-Mobile)

      MIUI mod is much better

      • ayocuz

        I agree, I’m currently a rom whore but I keep coming back to miuimod. since I’ve been running it I have not had any fc’s or can’t find any bugs.this is by far the best rom for the nexus one even toping out cyanogen. Rodriguez miuimod is that deal

      • velazcod

        Sure, maybe for you, but if you want a fast, clean and up-to-date AOSP rom (which is what this article is about), CyanogenMod is the way to go.

        • http://Website Bobba

          I love both. Currently using MIUI rom. The browser on the MIUI rom is faster than xscope or any other browser I used before on Cyanogen. I don’t know how or why, but it’s noticeably snappier. Gmail also is way faster for me.

          I like the customizations made to the Phone app, and the much better settings menu in MIUI.

          I unfortunately keep getting Launcher lag that has plagued me across three ROMS and 3 different launchers. When I press home button, I have to wait 5-10 seconds about every other time I press home. Don’t know what’s causing it, but happens on Cyanogen, MIUI, and Bugless Beast. Happens with ADW, Launcher Pro or MIUI launcher.

          Drive’s me nuts! I don’t even have but two widgets on the homescreen!


  • http://Website yelomeniz

    I wonder if the G2 will get updated as quick as the Nexus because of the (mostly) vanilla android version its running? The G2 isn’t on the best seller list so it won’t get updated according to that criteria. Wouldn’t a Google flagship phone like the G2 get the same treatment as the Nexus One?

    • http://Website 2FR35H

      I’m sure it would even more so knowing G1 was suported quite awhile with stock android.

    • http://Website IownaG2

      I just pray and hope that they don’t delay long for the 2.3 update on the G2. Because I love this phone (loose hinge and all…well not really, but still) and its perfect for me. So hear my cry Google, HTC, and mostly you T-Mobile. Don’t let the G2 turn into the G1.

      • http://Website Nate

        *cough* Cyanogen Mod *cough*

      • http://Website ihatefanboys

        would u guys stop repeating this “loose hinge” nonsense. its not loose because it was never tight, its a simple hinge like on a door, it SWINGS along the axis of the hinge. there are no springs, sure it snaps open if u push it fast but ive swung it open slow as well….its not a defect, all G2s are that way….its a simple, sturdy, classic design, its perfect if ya think about it. and YES the G2 will get the updates quick, just like the G1 did

    • daveloft

      I’m not sure. It’s a one off device and everywhere else in the world it’s known as the Desire Z with HTC Sense. I guess it depends how well it sells.

  • http://Website Celtic26

    This article once again verifies that the Samsung Epic is silently being swept under the rug. Something is truly amiss about the lack of support the Epic received when soo many promises were made to those who bought one. If the author of this fluff would like to prove his worth as a journalist he should get out there and find out what’s really going on with the Epic failure. That’s a story I’d love to read!

    • http://Website 2FR35H

      What Epic failure? No galaxy S in America has received updates and its because Samsung is too busy rolling out Froyo to other countries or maybe galaxy S is waiting for android 3.0 not too far fetched being that Samsung is working with google to deliver Nexus S. oh how painful the wait for Nexus S is.

      • daveloft

        Don’t be the fool who believes it’s Samsung’s fault and not the US carriers.

      • daveloft

        Bell released the only Galaxy S in North America that is exactly the same as the European version.

        The 2.2 update for the Bell Galaxy S is available from Samsung Firmware and can be flashed using Odin or Kies.

  • Ramon

    I wonder if the new droid 2 global will also be updated along with the droids? I hope motorola don’t ignore it when 2.3 comes out. It’s a great keyboard based multi network support device. Once the devs crack it, you will also be able to use it on AT&T and T-Mobile along with Verizon. So I really hope it gets updated.

    • http://Website 2FR35H

      Unless the Global edition supports AWS I wouldn’t get it for T-Mobile.

      • Ramon

        well I’m gonna use it on Verizon. So i’m leaving t-mobile. It’s perfect for me since I do traveling but I just want to know if its also gonna be updated quickly too.

  • http://Website Ben Johnson, GA

    or go for the bestseller iPhone 4 to get both of these worlds!!! Its an incredible device which doesnt have to hassle with fragmentation and delayed/canceled software updates!!!!! And we all now its the iPhone that creates the most traffic… so next time your friend ask you what smartphone to buy, just tell them about the iPhone 4!!!

    • http://Website Mast3rShake

      We are talking about new cutting edge phones, not phones that are behind the curve when they are released. Phones with Tegra2, Orion, that can run flash, multitask, have Widgets, etc.

    • http://Website ANDEEE

      yeah some devices have delayed updates

      ….but…they are still better than iphone4….

      And what kind of update do you get with iphone4? Back to jail update something like that? LoL

    • http://Website Ben

      Really? Why come on to android fansite to recommend the iPhone 4? You know you’ll only get flamed, everyone here knows the iPhone is inferior to our android awesomeness!!

    • http://Website Awaking hidden comments

      Ben Johnson, GA wrote

      “or go for the bestseller iPhone 4 to get both of these worlds!!! Its an incredible device which doesnt have to hassle with fragmentation and delayed/canceled software updates!!!!! And we all now its the iPhone that creates the most traffic… so next time your friend ask you what smartphone to buy, just tell them about the iPhone 4!!!”

    • http://Website ihatefanboys

      of course thats only till the iphone 5 comes out and u have to spend another 400 for a new phone because apple doesnt update the OS across new platforms, and it will be new because the iphone 5 will support NFC…good luck.


    The Nexus One updating to Android 2.3 announced by Google. That the first and only (at this moment) Android 2.3 updating phone!

  • http://Website hassan

    Here n the UK we don’t have HTC evo or incredible, also Droid or Droid x….. I think all the 4g phones…. so it should be the HTC desire and samsung g s. The most popular android phones….HTC desire 2.2

  • http://Website Scoch

    About segmentation: some people could update their phone but they don’t do that because they don’t care. I know many girls with Desire (yeah!) but they still have Eclair… same shit for iPhone owners (those who don’t use iTunes, doing everything directly from the phone).

  • chief113

    What is the big deal with these updates? If I get the Moto Olympus in late January when it comes out, are you guys saying that if will pretty much be outdated because it does not have honeycomb 3 months later? It’s still going to be a great phone, right?

    • http://Website Scoch

      Nobody can tell that Honeycomb is for smartphones.
      Your phone does not need the latest Android system to be great ;-)

  • http://Website Harry

    I own a Nexus one so i have never experienced update issues. Im scared to buy a new phone because i dont want to be running an outdated OS (and i dont like the nexus 2).

  • chief113

    Can you use the new Nexus on any carrier? AT&T?

  • http://Website ddd

    All of this waiting, needless waiting and heartache…it’s a stupid phone people! seriously, focus your venom on something worth while…

    Like heading over to XDA and having a little team whiskey. backup your stupid phone-root-flash a 2.1 or 2.2 custom rom-flash an oc kernel(optional but well worth it) and stop waiting for someone else…your stock phone will never get close to what mine can do. Forget your manufacturer and carriers’updates’…they’ll be sub-par anyway.

    fusion 1.2-core v3
    t-mobile vibrant

    • http://Website ddd

      btw…don’t mean to call anyone ‘stupid’ my kids have been calling their smash bros. game Stupid all morning, just felt like saying it too… :)

  • http://Website jo

    This article reminds me why I still think of my Nexus One as a new phone even though I bought it back in January.

    I do sometimes lust after HTC Sense loveliness, but being Google’s chosen developer phone is definitely my favourite part of owning one. Hopefully the build quality of the Nexus S will surpass that of the Galaxy S, as that plasticy feel completely put me off.

    Still, even if I think it’s ugly I reckon my N1 will see me through another 6 months at the very least til something sexier comes along. Just depends on the quality of apps that are produced- as long as this guy can cope with what’s on the market, its still top of my list :o)

  • http://Website Joe

    I just tell my friends to stay away from samsung if the want a great andriod phone.

  • http://Website Bod1ggity

    Oh how underated my G2 is….

  • http://Website Rohan

    You forgot one point..

    4) Avoid carrier unlocked phones.

    still waiting for froyo on my milestone :|

  • http://Website gad

    What are the Top 10 Android devices by traffic outside of the US…ANYONE?

  • http://Website Peter

    Most Android sites ignore the small portion of the planet outside of the US (apart from

    The appbrain stats for my UK centric app are

    HTC Desire 34.6%
    Samsung Galaxy S 19.6%
    HTC Wildfire 10.3%
    HTC Hero 4.7%
    Desire HD 3.7%
    Nexus One 2.8%
    Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 2.8%
    Other 21.5%

  • http://Website Me

    Froyo on my vibrant NOW! FUCK

  • http://Website Mike

    Screw AT&T big time!!!!!

  • http://Website lightxknowsxall

    yay! the htc hero is up there!

  • http://Website Lucian Armasu

    The most popular ones also get the most support from the custom roms community, so even though the manufacturer will stop updating to new Android versions after the first update, you’ll still be able to use several other new Android versions in the future.

  • http://Website ben

    There are some nice video’s on this Android telefoon website

  • neil martin

    How are we measuring the data. Are the updates sent over a period hours, days, weeks?.

  • http://Website giogio77

    TThe Evo better get it here why 37 family members left their iPhone 3gs and iphone 4 and 12 just moved from Verizon at&t and t-mobile to sprint for the Evo mostly white EVOS it was a funny thanksgiving 37 HTC Evo creazy ha. 3 month ago at a family wedding all of the 37 family members were taking pictures with iPhone and Droid and nexus one and this thanksgiving each one had the HTC Evo taking pictures and posting on Facebook with their Evo and every single one of them swear by their Evo and the 3500 SEIDIO extended battery. I can’t imagine the Evo not getting the update then sprint will be stupid not to support this phone.

  • http://Website DarknesSx

    ???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What that`s weird tbh … WHERE IS HTC DESIRE 2.1 (upgraded to 2.2 after -i think- 15 days or less of the releasing of 2.2)???????
    it`s a 1 GHz processor phone and a very capable phone !!! it`s strange that it`s not in the list :o

  • http://Website Peter

    The dell streak has froyo for it now, you should update your article to reflect this.

  • DroidFan2.2.1

    I don’t think processor speed has anything to do with which phone gets updates because I’m on verizons network using a Droid 1 and i have the 2.2.1 update.

  • Jay Rocha

    I’m glad the Incredible got the update. It’s going to make the next year until my upgrade a little bit easier to survive.