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RELATED: Android is open source, so it’s possible for Android users to take its source code and roll their own operating systems—known as a custom ROM—for their smartphones.
If you have a reasonably popular device, there are likely other Android users out there developing and tweaking custom ROMs for it—Lineage OS is currently a great place to start if you’re looking to get in on some ROM action.
Google also guarantees that level of support for at least two years for all major Android updates, and an unprecedented three years for monthly security updates. (And despite what you’ve heard, it’s not exclusive to Verizon.) If you absolutely can’t buy the Pixel, though—say, if you’re dead set on getting the newest Samsung Galaxy—then go for it.
The good news is that most of the major players, like Samsung, have gotten much better about supporting their flagship handsets, at least for a couple of years.
However, custom ROMs aren’t officially supported, and require a lot of work to install and manage (much more than the average Android user would want to do, or even have the technical know-how for), but many Android geeks use and love custom ROMs.
Custom ROMs allow Android geeks to buy hardware they like and install a more stock Android operating system on it, removing the manufacturer’s software customizations and updating the operating system to the latest version.
It’s all about deciding what’s important to you, honestly.
These phones are designed, sold, and maintained by Google, so they get updated when the latest versions of Android are available—on time, every time.
Some are “flagship” phones, with more advanced hardware than the i Phone.
All that said, there is a series of Android phones made to directly mimic (and compete with) the i Phone in terms of release cycle and product support: the Pixel line.
Back in the early days of Android, system updates were very random: they would roll out at different times, and often several times per year.
Now, Google has taken a much more streamlined approach, releasing one major Android update per year and much smaller, security-focused updates once per month.
While Apple has the muscle to overrule carriers and roll out new versions of their operating system, Android phone manufacturers (mostly) do not.