Once upon a time, LG would make a lot of noise about being the first to put out a new phone with a newly-released Android version or the first beta testing for that release. These days, the company that once boasted of a close relationship with Google has now gained notoriety for its terrible software update timetable. Case in point, it has only now started testing, not rolling out, Android 11 and for a single phone model in a single market.
LG has announced the availability of a beta preview of Android 11 in South Korea. This preview, however, is limited only to the LG Velvet, its mid-range flagship that will be the first in a new line of phones that ditches the single letters and numbers for a more memorable name. The LG Velvet was launched way back in May this year.
That it would take LG more than three months to even start a beta program for a single device is actually unusual even for LG. It could be an indicator of the struggles that the company is facing in maintaining even just the software for its mobile devices. OEMs, especially the big ones, often have early access to Android code before Google announces its public availability.
The slightly good news is that the general availability of Android 11 for the LG Velvet might not be too far behind even if the beta testing is limited to South Korea. LG doesn’t always expand its beta program to global markets anyway so it won’t be a big deal. The bigger deal, of course, is that other LG phones don’t even have that Android 11 beta preview yet at this point.
The changes listed by LG for the Android 11 preview is pretty much what you’d expect from Android 11 with no mention of LG UX changes. LG boasted of how its custom skin isn’t as bloated or modified as others, like Samsung’s One UI, and yet it still managed to arrive late to the party anyway.