When it comes to updates, it’s never been rosy in Androidland. Given how the platform operates, device makers, who use Android on their devices have been at liberty to choose when the devices they support get updated to newer versions of Android when they become available.
Many a time, devices never get updated and the only way to upgrade to a newer version of Android has been to upgrade the hardware as well which means just buying a new device.
While Samsung has improved over the last year when it comes to updating its devices, it is still far from being where HMD Global/Nokia, for instance, is. The Finns guarantee at least 2 years of major Android updates and 3 years of security updates on almost all their devices.
From the recent Galaxy Unpacked event, it appears that Samsung wants to join that club.
During the event, Samsung Senior Vice President for Experience Planning Federico Casalegno confirmed that Samsung is looking to allow users of the devices it unveiled at the event to use them as they please and, if that means staying with them a little longer before updating to whatever is available at that time, they will support users in that journey.
That support will come in the form of software support by availing feature and security updates across “three generations of devices”.
Now, the framing of what the Samsung executive said is not straightforward so it can be interpreted to mean several things. First, which is what we hope is true, it can mean that Samsung will support users of the Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 2 for 3 years, providing them with critical monthly security updates as well as the annual Android version updates. It can also mean what Samsung has been doing already: spaced out security and major updates over the said “three generations”.
There is also the bit where Samsung could just go full-on “Xiaomi” mode and turn One UI into a channel where it provides many of the new features it is including with a newer version of Android to older devices. We have seen bits of this happening with Galaxy S20 features making their way to older Galaxy devices.
Whichever is the case, at least for now, there is hope that Android’s update situation is inching closer to the promised land.
It is not just the devices unveiled at Unpacked 2020 that will be eligible for these kinds of updates if the fingerprint flashed on-screen during the event is anything to go by. The change may affect older devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10 as well.
Samsung has traditionally guaranteed users of its premium devices at least two years of receiving major updates. Its existing system usually downgrades devices to quarterly updates after some time.