Truth be told, before MiFans pointed it out in the comments, Android updates aren’t as crucial these days as they were back then. App compatibility used to be limited quickly if your smartphone was not supported. Security updates are even more important these days as we deal with more and more crucial information on our devices.
Yet for a company with a terrible track record, Samsung has really made the effort to improve its image and solidify its position against its Chinese rivals. It’s like not having to juggle ROMs from the “motherland” and those from around the world.
The South Korean manufacturer has made its range of smartphones less confusing, at a time when even OnePlus, which was once the star, is going through an identity crisis. OnePlus, for example, has released several Nord ranges in the US and EU in an effort to differentiate itself.
A dramatic turnaround
Everything changed in a small slide that slipped between the launch of the range Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Z Fold 2. During Galaxy Unpacked August 2020, Samsung promised “three major Android updates” for its flagships and select Galaxy A models.
This promise applied not only to future devices, but also to all others. It was applied retroactively to smartphones (and some tablets) that had launched 18 months earlier, such as the Galaxy S10 line.
Before that, the Galaxy S got two updates from Android, along with an extra year or two of security updates. This is an update policy that was in the middle of the high-end smartphones Android and which was only surpassed by the Google Pixel range.
In 2022, when the Galaxy S22 launched, Samsung outdid itself by announcing an even better update policy. The brand now promises four Android updates and five years of security patches.
The 2021-2022 season also saw Samsung fix another problem and manage to update its devices in a timely manner. The brand managed to update all its flagships (since the S10 range) and even mid-range models like the Galaxy A52 A72 from the second week of 2022.
In the past, it was not uncommon to see a new version of Android start rolling out only after a new Galaxy S model was released, which usually happens in February. Usually around this time, OnePlus owners had the update on their smartphones for over a month already.
Update Release Comparison Chart
|Android 13||Android 12||Android 11|
With an early launch ofAndroid 13 in August, and admittedly smaller changes to Google’s OS, Samsung managed to improve its track record, and set a new benchmark in Android updates for 2022-2023.
All compatible flagships have been updated before the end of the year. Moreover, even entry-level smartphones like Galaxy A22/M22 (launched in 2021), A13 (launched in 2022), and mid-range ones like Galaxy A51 which is the best-selling smartphone of 2020, have been taken into account.
Of course, it’s still not as good as Google or Apple, which updated the Pixel 4a or iPhone SE (2020) on the same day as their flagships. However, it is still better than all other Android manufacturers. Only OnePlus and Oppo come close, with the former having already updated its flagships, while the latter is starting to update some mid-range 2022 smartphones.
As of this writing, the only 2022 Samsung smartphones still waiting for Android 13 are those running One UI Core (the lite version of the overlay), and market-specific models such as the Galaxy M13 and M23 . The Galaxy Ms will be updated in January, while the Galaxy A04 and A04 with One UI Core 4 are expected to be updated in February.
Xiaomi, meanwhile, has just recently presented MIUI 14 based on Android 13, without any smartphone having been updated so far. To make matters worse, the excellent value for money and bestseller that is the Redmi Note 9, released in April 2020, four months after the Galaxy A51, should not receive Android 13.
Improvements are still possible
As usual, all is not perfect when it comes to One UI updates. Samsung still uses a three-tier system for security updates. The previously mentioned Galaxy A51 only receives semi-annual security updates, while older Galaxy S10 flagships receive quarterly patches. Only certain recent flagship models and Enterprise models receive monthly security updates.
At least Samsung has clearly laid out what to expect from its most recent models, with a website highlighting its current levels. Fortunately, initiatives like Android Enterprise have forced other brands to follow suit, as is the case with XiaomiNokia, and even sony.
The competition is also on the move and OnePlus is also now promising four Android updates and five years of security updates for its most important smartphones.
Now that the stage is set for all-out improvements, hopefully Oppo, Vivo, and especially Xiaomi and Motorola will follow suit and offer better software maintenance to at least match OnePlus and Samsung.
This is something that is becoming increasingly important as smartphone prices continue to rise and durability is increasingly promoted by marketing teams when launching smartphones.
As for me, unfortunately, my Galaxy S9 which I use on a daily basis (I know it’s hard to believe for a tech journalist) did not take advantage of Samsung’s new update policy. At least it got security patches up to four years after release.
What about you? Are you also more interested in security patches than major Android updates? How does your smartphone brand fare in the update game?
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How Samsung became the champion of Android updates | NextPit
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