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HTC comes top in Android update study

HTC is the quickest to update its phones to the latest version of Android, according to a study.

Erratic updates have caused many a headache for those of us on Android, but how is your mobile maker doing? Well Ars Technica has carried out a study so you can see how every device maker ranks in the update stakes. And it's good news for anyone with an HTC phone.

In order to carry out the study, Ars Technica took "a selection of the highest-profile Android phones released since the OS debuted, going all the way back to the T-Mobile G1." It compared Google's release date of each new software version with when each phone actually received it, and rounded up the delay to the nearest month.

HTC came top, with Ars Technica noting that the Taiwanese company benefits from Google partnerships, especially in the early days.

"Of the phones surveyed, HTC has never lagged longer than a year between an update release and its issuance to a phone," Ars Technica says. "HTC's time-to-update average is a bit skewed due to the fact it got in on the ground floor of Android when updates came relatively easily, but it is still the most impressive of all the manufacturers, with a 4.7 month update average."

Samsung was second, followed by the Google-owned Motorola, and then LG. 

But the overall picture of Android updates isn't too impressive. "Updates that take less than six months to reach phones remain rare overall, and these are increasingly rare in recent months," the site notes in its conclusion. Motorola and Samsung -- two big Android players -- are noted as faring poorly. Even HTC's relatively strong performance can be put down to early handsets produced by Google, which are now a distant memory.

The conclusion? If you want prompt updates, go for the Google flagship device.

Here in the UK, HTC started rolling out Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to the One X a couple of months ago, but that was just as Android 4.2 made an appearance. That's the problem with these updates -- as soon as you get one on your phone, there's a new one out.

What do you think of the nature of Android updates? Is it 'reasonable' to have to wait five months, as one Android engineer reckons? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook.