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Who’s best at updating Android phones? Nokia leads for Pie upgrades, security fixes



Why didn’t Microsoft come up with an Android-like platform?
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently listed the company’s failure to come up with an Android-like mobile platform as one of his greatest mistakes. Read more:

Google released Android 9 Pie just over a year ago now, but there’s only one brand that has nearly all devices in use today on it and that’s Nokia smartphones from HMD Global.

Nokia phones account for a small share of worldwide smartphone sales, but they are in the lead when it comes to updating devices to new versions of Android and receiving security updates. 

According to Counterpoint Research, 96% of Nokia smartphones are running Android Pie, followed by Samsung at 89%. 

Xiaomi and Huawei are also top performers, respectively with 84% and 82% of devices running Android Pie. The survey is a snapshot of Android version distribution of all devices by brand sold since Q3 2018 – the quarter Google released Android Pie.


Nokia phones are in the lead when it comes to updating devices to new versions of Android.   

Image: Counterpoint

That three of the largest smartphone brands have over 80% of devices on Android Pie suggests Google has had some success in addressing Android OS version fragmentation via initiatives like Project Treble. 

As for HMD Global, its Nokia smartphones are part of Google’s Android One program, and the figures suggest it’s lived up to its promise of “pure, secure, and up to date”.  

But while Nokia, Samsung, Xiaomi, and Huawei have done a good job ensuring devices sold are either running or updated to Android Pie, all other Android brands have less than half of their devices on Android Pie. Among this group are Lenovo, Oppo, Vivo, LG, Alcatel, and Tecno. 

The figures reflect not just how vendors approach updating, but also which vendors release new products with the latest version of Android rather than an outdated version. 

“Xiaomi is good at ensuring its mid-price range products launch with the latest version of Android,” noted Counterpoint associate director Tarun Pathak.

However, Nokia is also the fastest at updating existing portfolios to the latest version of Android, with 94% of devices moved to Android Pie within 12 months after its release. 

It was followed by Xiaomi and Lenovo, which respectively upgraded 60% and 50% of devices. Nokia’s high score indicates that it is bucking the usual practice of updating high-end devices first while ignoring lower-cost devices.   


This graph shows long it takes manufacturers to upgrade portfolios to the latest version of Android.

Image: Counterpoint

Google currently isn’t displaying its Android distribution dashboard, which historically has shown each month just how fragmented Android is. The last time it updated the dashboard was in May, which was the first update in six months.  

The dashboard page today says Google is “working to improve the insights” and the ways it’s accelerating updates to Android devices. In May, Android Pie passed the 10% share of all 2.5 billion active Android devices. In future the dashboard is likely to be updated quarterly, Google told VentureBeat.   

Counterpoint released the report to put a spotlight on Android updates and security patches because handset makers currently do not, which could explain why consumers rank update performance lower than features. 

“Operating system and security updates are an aspect of Android smartphones that get relatively little attention,” said Counterpoint research director Peter Richardson. 

“In our experience researching the industry, we have seen few brands focusing on this. And perhaps because manufacturers are not talking about it, consumer awareness is also low. It doesn’t appear among the 10 features consumers say they care about most, in our research.”

As a result, top manufacturers aren’t putting much effort into providing regular OS and security updates, despite its being a critical element in the continued safe performance of the smartphone, Richardson said. 

“Many of the key features including battery life, processor, camera, and memory are linked to the performance of the underlying operating system. We believe it is important to the overall consumer experience and is likely to become more widely recognized as such.”

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The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security



This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.

These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.

Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.

If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.

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Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise



This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.

Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.

In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.

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CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions



Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.

Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.

“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”

As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.

Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.

“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.

So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:

“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”

Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.

“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”

Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast

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