Pixels, a lot of Nexus devices, and a few names that are a welcome addition.
In its 2016 Android security year in review post, Google highlighted steps it has taken over the course of the year to thrawt malware and malicious apps on the Play Store. The company said that only 0.05% of apps downloaded from the Play Store in 2016 had a Potentially Harmful Application, down from 0.15% in 2015. Verify Apps — which periodically scans your phone for harmful apps — conducted 750 million daily checks in 2016.
Google has also collaborated with manufacturers and chip vendors like Qualcomm, MediaTek, and NVIDIA to address known vulnerabilities via monthly security patches. Over the course of the year, that included fixing 655 vulnerabilities — more than half of which were of a high severity, a 275% increase from 2015. The company said that it has delivered a security patch to 735 million phones covering more than 200 manufacturers and over 2,000 models, or roughly half of the 1.4 billion Android devices active today.
Google is now working to get updates delivered faster and to more devices, and in the process has shared phones that have received a “60% to 95%” update rate. Google checked Play Services for devices that ran the October security patch or higher during the month of December, and found that these devices are the best when it comes to quick security updates. Unsurprisingly, the list has a lot of Nexus phones:
Google Pixel XL
Motorola Moto Z Droid
Samsung Galaxy S7
Asus Zenfone 3
bq Aquarius M5
Vivo V3 Max
Sony Xperia X Compact
Along with the usual vendors, the list also counts the Vivo V3 Max, a best-seller in Asia last year. With Vivo and OPPO steadily gaining ground — they’re now the fourth- and fifth-largest smartphone vendors globally — it’s great to see the companies commit to regular security updates.
Asian markets are skewed toward mid-range devices, and it’s telling that not a single phone from HTC, Huawei, Lenovo, and Xiaomi made the list. Samsung is also at fault here. Although the S7 picked up regular updates, the Galaxy J series — the company’s best-selling lineup in India — is not featured, nor are any devices from the Galaxy A series.