Here is the deal: the owners of ZenFone Max Plus M1 are expecting the next firmware update for quite some time now.
Where are the updates?
After the upgrade to Oreo in November there was one more update in December that didn’t solve anything, ant then we haven’t seen any updates in January and February. Asus was quite punctual with releases of new firmwares for this phone in the past. There was usually a monthly update that most of the times didn’t bring any new features, but also didn’t break anything. And the firmware usually included the Googles security patches. At first the patches came with about two weeks delay, after that Asus decided that they need one extra month for testing, so the patches would arrive with 6 week delay.
How long is the security patch delay now?
After the upgrade to Oreo that brought more problems that joy and made many phones unusable the dynamics of patches changed. There was only one upgrade in December and that one upgraded Google Security patch to 2018/11/05. This is still the level of current security patches, which means Asus is already more than 4 months behind with Max Plus M1. In other words, latest available security patch is now more than 19 weeks old. It’s quite sad to see the degradation from 2 weeks delay to 19+ weeks in less than a year.
What will the next upgrade bring?
That’s always impossible to say as Asus is never sharing this information with phone owners. Some info is available on the product forum, but it’s usually not very detailed. Selena_ASUS, a moderator of the Asus forum, shared that the next version is in deed in the works. At least we know that. Furthermore, she shared what the engineers are working on and with what goal. It’s very vague, but basically it just lists the major problems with the phone since Oreo upgrade. Here’s the full quote:
The still work on next update.It will fix includes signal problem, SD card issue also battery, etc.
In order to brings best performance.
From this we can learn many things:
- Asus acknowledges there are major problems with this phone.
- There are actually people working on the update, so it should be ready eventually.
- Asus engineers are mainly working on the worst problems that make the phone unusable.
- The list of problems or issues is not really well defined or Selena_ASUS didn’t feel that other issues are important enough to share (“etc.“)
- The update will focus on bringing best performance to the phone.
Will be the next update still with Oreo or already with Pie?
This is the big question.
Asus has announced that Android Pie is coming to Zenfone Max Plus M1. After that they have even made an official announcement. However, they have taken it down soon after publication, so it’s not clear what that means. In any case, they haven’t denied it, they just removed it. You can still read a saved copy in my post.
If we combine these facts together we can guess that Asus is working on Pie. That could be one reason that update to Oreo is delayed so long. I speculate that the update to Oreo was such a disaster that they decided not to pursue it and rather put all the work in Pie. Maybe they underestimated again how much time they need to release it, so they just thought the next update should be Pie.
My speculation is that we will see update to Pie until May or June 2019. It should make the phone usable again. In the meantime there might be one more version of Oreo, but it will not fix anything, just bump the security updates. This will happen if the update to Pie is further delayed.
So… How do we know for sure?
We don’t. Asus won’t share, so the best is just to wait and see. If you have upgraded to Oreo and can’t use the phone just put it back to a drawer for some more months, hopefully the Pie update will be more successful. If you’re lucky enough to stay on Android 7, wait with the upgrade for several more months.