When it comes to updates, Samsung, just like most Android device makers, has a terrible track record. Bad as things may be, at least the company does try. A mid-ranger smartphone here and a premium device there will always, somehow, manage to get an update. The bone of contention has never been about just getting updates but rather the scope of the updates. Some updates are more equal than other updates, you know.
In the wake of a frequent security scares, Google has over the last few years been releasing monthly security updates (details). What usually happens is that Google releases these updates directly to devices under its control i.e. Pixel devices while, at the same time, passing along the security updates to its partners, device makers, who then package them (by including fixes to security issues specific to the additions they make to the Android source code) and deliver them to users of their devices. The latter step is more theoretical than practical since most devices hardly ever receive even these crucial security updates.
With that in mind, here are the devices that Samsung has committed to making sure they receive the monthly security updates:
- Galaxy S series (S8, S8+, S8 Active, S7, S7 edge, S7 Active, S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, S6 Active)
- Galaxy Note series (Note 8, Note 5)
- Galaxy A series (A5 (2016), A5 (2017), A8 (2018))
Sending updates just about every other month seems like a chore. More so when you are Samsung and you are releasing new smartphones you don’t intend to look after every passing day. As such, Samsung will be updating these devices on a quarterly basis i.e. every 3 months, instead of every month:
- Galaxy A3 (2017), Galaxy A7 (2017)
- Galaxy J1 Mini, Galaxy J1 Mini Prime
- Galaxy J2 (2016), Galaxy J5 (2016), Galaxy J7 (2016)
- Galaxy J3 Pro, Galaxy J3 Pop, Galaxy J7 Pop
- Galaxy J3 (2017), Galaxy J5 (2017), Galaxy J7 (2017), Galaxy J7 Max, Galaxy J7 Neo
- Galaxy A8+ (2018), Galaxy J2 (2018)
- Galaxy Tab S2 L Refresh
- Galaxy Tab S3 9.7, Galaxy Tab Active2
- Note FE
What is surprising here is the inclusion of the Galaxy A8+ (2018). Save for the Galaxy A name, the Galaxy A8+ is every bit a premium smartphone given both its feature set (6GB memory, 18.5:9 display, dual-front-facing cameras…) and its pricing. But no, Samsung doesn’t think it’s worth any attention every other month. Sigh. At least it will still be getting “updates”…
According to Android Police, the Samsung Galaxy A3, Galaxy J3 and Galaxy J1, thanks to old age, have fallen out of favour with our Samsung overlords and as such won’t be seeing any further updates.
Before you get too excited that your device appears in the above lists, remember that these work as they should in ideal scenarios since updates are usually pushed by region and there’s always the off chance that an update meant for March 2018 will get to your device in April 2018 for some reason or the other.
One more thing, there’s a disclaimer one can’t ignore on Samsung’s website: Please note that in some cases regular OS upgrades may cause delays to planned security updates. However, users can be rest assured the OS upgrades will include up-to-date security patches when delivered.
Moral of the story: it might not be such a prudent idea to buy anything that’s not on this list. Well, save for unreleased devices.