A lot was announced at the Samsung Unpacked event, but amid all the exciting device reveals, one detail may have gone unnoticed: the tech giant is committing to updating its flagship phones, like the new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 line, with three years of Android updates and security patches.
Samsung previously assured up to two years of updates and security patches, so this extension puts it in line with Google, which promises three years of both for its Pixel phones.
- Samsung Unpacked: everything we learned at the Note 20 launch event
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: the highest-spec stylus phone ever
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2: finally unveiled at Unpacked
This means the new Note 20 line and the Galaxy S20 series will launch with Android 10 and get upgraded to Android 11 when it’s released later this year, and get upgrades to Android 12 next year and Android 13 in 2022.
Better still, Samsung is extending the three-year commitment to last year’s Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10 phones, which both launched with Android 9 and will thus get guaranteed updates through Android 12 in 2021.
Three years of Android are good, but not iOS level
Android still has a ways to go before it catches up to the extended support iOS offers its older devices – for instance, 2015's iPhone 6s will be getting upgraded to iOS 14 when it launches later this year.
Samsung expanding its commitment to three years is great precedent, especially if other non-Google phonemakers follow suit, since each brand makes its own decisions about how long it supports devices. This isn’t just for phones to get fun new features, either, as the security updates protect handset owners from exploits that could compromise their devices and data.
The next thing non-Google Android phones have to work on is speeding up the timeline when upgrading to the latest version. While the Google Pixel phones could upgrade to Android 10 when it launched on September 3, 2019, Samsung’s flagships started getting the new version at the end of November – in Germany, at least. The rest of Samsung’s lineup has updated in piecemeal fashion between different carriers and across regions, with the pandemic even delaying updates in India several months until the end of May.
It’s unclear if this new commitment from Samsung will affect how long it will take to upgrade to the newest version of Android. Until we know more, we have to assume Samsung remains in Apple’s shadow in that respect, since all compatible iPhones can be updated the day a new iOS comes out.
Via Android Central
- Stay on the cutting edge of tech with the TechRadar newsletter