Opinion

Samsung’s software update policy is seriously messed up

The Galaxy S4 gets an update to Android 5.0.1. The Galaxy S5 gets an update to Android 5.0 at the same time. This device gets Android 5.0.2, that device gets Android 5.0.1, all in the same week. It’s been a recurring theme when it comes to software updates for Samsung devices – the company seems to update different devices to different versions of Android, and most of the time these versions are older than the latest one offered by Google, despite coming out more than a month or so later.

Then there’s also the fact that newer updates don’t bring the features you expect them to. Take, for example, the Android 5.1 update for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. We had expected the update to include support for camera features like shutter speed and RAW support and also fix the irritating memory management bug, but none of these made it into the final update. To make matters worse, we have heard that Samsung is holding off these changes for the Galaxy S6 edge Plus and will only release an update for older devices (yes, the Galaxy S6 is apparently counted as an old device, only two months after launch) once the S6 edge Plus becomes available.

Here at SamMobile, firmware updates are a major part of our business model (if we can call our little operation that), and the Android 5.1 update for the S6 devices has gotten all of us thinking: Who in the seven smartphone hells is in charge of Samsung’s software update policy? Why does the company not update all devices with the same version of Android, instead of launching older versions for some devices and then making users wait for yet another update? Why can’t the company simply take a while longer and make sure everyone is on the same page, no matter what the device?

samsungupdates

Furthermore, what is the reason for treating its latest flagship devices so badly that newer features (some of which should have been part of the device from the start, like guest mode on Android 5.0) aren’t part of an update that has taken so long to arrive in the first place? We all take every chance to make fun of Apple, and so does Samsung in its little advertisements. But Samsung doesn’t seem to be interested in copying what is one of the best things about Apple – its great customer support, support that goes on for long after an iPhone has been launched.

Of course, it’s something that is necessary for Apple – the company makes all its money from a couple of iPhones and has to make sure its consumers stay loyal and not defect to the competition. But Samsung still needs to understand that selling $800 devices and then treating its customers like second-class citizens (something Galaxy Note 4 owners are well aware of) is not the way to do business, especially at a time when its financials are nowhere near as good as they were only a year or so ago.

With the huge amount of devices in Samsung’s stable, the fact that the company even updates so many to newer versions of Android (and for as long as a competition with considerably less number of devices) is a big achievement, but maybe it’s time it realizes that it needs to take a long hard look at the way it goes about the whole thing. Take your time to bring out updates, that is totally okay. But at least make sure the wait is worth it, and make sure everyone is treated equally instead of following a haphazard method that isn’t making anyone happy.

What do you think about Samsung’s software update policy? Do you agree with our thoughts, or do you think everything is fine as it is? Let us know down in the comments!

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habiwan
habiwan

I don’t care the slightest about their release schedules, however, I would like to download whatever official FW update for my phone myself quickly. Well, since Samsung does not offer any official download sites and you guys seem to be the only place these downloads are offered you got a quite nice monopoly, ..talking about “little operation…” Yes, I get the offer to either download at 1999 internet speeds with ads from your site or to pay a subscription fee to get faster downloads / no ads / etc… Didn’t think I had to wait 2 hours to download a… Read more »

con8iv
con8iv

After the latest Samsung update, I have a theory… After 2 years their update is actually a downgrade which causes you to be less satisfied with your phone and start wanting a new one. This is my last Samsung.

druthvik kratos
druthvik kratos

Does j2 2015 gets any updates in 2017??

newtamil
newtamil

Ha ha… Samsung don’t know how to upgrade OS and firmware?

No surprise at all.

southoz
southoz

S2, S3 LTE (Never got 1 update), S4 and S5 and have now happily moved on to a Nexus 6P with monthly updates. If only Google will have Samsung make a 10/12 inch Nexus tablet with a S Pen equivalent so I can leave behind the debauchery of no updates or security fixes behind forever.

ianchong
ianchong

Seriously messed up..??? Wonder why everybody here agrees.

Samsung is not messed up, it just doesn’t care …(ie if you do NOT have the very latest … and most expensive model)

I’ve lived with the SII thru every single Note up till the Note Edge …. this is where I’ve drawn the line. I’m dropping Samsung for sure moving forward. I refuse to keep on overlooking the obvious.

1968test
1968test

Farwell Samsung.
Being with you since Galaxy S2 to S5, then Note 4. My Nexus 6P arrives today, and I’ll be selling my Note 4 with Android 5.1.1 ASAP.
Hope you hit rock bottom with future sales. You are lucky that cell phones review always forget to mention how long end user have to wait for the next OS upgrade. YOU WILL BE LAST OF ALL manufacturers.

zizidor
zizidor

Lollipop update for S5 mini is “coming soon” since april. In september it was released for the US variant, but that’s all. Android 6.0 is out, and we have 4.4.2 only.

How are they interpreting “soon”? Soon = maybe never? Ridiculous.

zizidor
zizidor

Samsung started to release Android 5 updates for S5-Mini in january. Of course, it’s not available in my country, yet – after waiting more than a year!

But I don’t care, I’m fine with an Xperia Z5 (w/ android 6) since 5 months. The best decision I made in this topic. 🙂

elfstones65
elfstones65

Samsung should read this forum a lot more, maybe then they’ll understand why they losing to Apple. I’ve had an S2, S3 and a Note 3 all of which stopped getting updates way before they deserved to. My note 3 is stuck on 5.0 and I’m guess will not get Android M. Together wish no sd card, no removable battery, no 128 gb option for the s6 edge plus, no Note 5 in UK… it comes down to no customer in me. Maybe if they listened to their followers I might change my mind. But for now I am firmly… Read more »

GRSam
GRSam

Samsung has the most quality devices of any other company but the problem is that it releases too many devices and at the end of the day it can’t support them all.This is a big problem and many people are disapointed with it. The support problem is much more intense on the “advanced” and expensive devices such as note 3, s4 etc. It also has a “heavy” touchwiz which needs to get optimized. The customers have prefered Samsung for many years because of the SD card, the removable battery and the FM radio. So, the losses in customers are plenty.… Read more »

warrenholmes
warrenholmes

I have a T-Mobile Note 3 and a International Note 2 NEITHER has been updated to 5.0 and I’m sick of it……You pay all this money for phones, you should be kept up to date. You SHOULD NOT have to buy a new phone or root your phone to get the latest software. I want to buy a new phone and give my note 3 to my wife but I REFUSE to play the Samsung game so I wont buy another Samsung. Their update policy sucks and they should be ashamed they treat their loyal customers the way they do.… Read more »

parthiban76
parthiban76

That’s true. Samsung never cared about existing customers & provided necessary firmware updates to its devices. I bought Galaxy Grand Duos about 2 years ago for 23K INR (approx. $ 360) & it came with JB 4.1. Later it was updated to JB 4.2.2 & that’s the final update from Samsung for this device. But all problems started after the update, causing frequent crash & freezing of the device. Tried all possible workarounds like factory reset, clearing of cache, etc for almost 3-4 months, but nothing helped. Almost every user of Galaxy Grand Duos experienced this problem & Samsung couldn’t… Read more »

harleeliz
harleeliz

The last year I bought a 2013’s new smartphone “Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 (it’s a phablet)”, but my cellphone is still running jellybean 4.2. I have been waiting almost 1 year for a firmware update, I can’t understand why new models with lower specifications (like pixels or dimensions) are launching kit kat or lollipop.
My phone is getting slowly, because some apps doesn’t work properly in the past android versions.

That is Samsung’s strategy.
I think, they want that people buy the new models.

If we don’t receive updates, our phones will become obsolete..

ozzybr
ozzybr

How much cost for samsung in the Google relationship to update android phones? I really don’t understand why update fresh phones with the same and exactly hardware of the old ones and don’t put the updates on the air. Now galaxy a3 is receiving lollipop… the only difference in hardware between a3 and gran prime is the internal storage. If samsung don’t update this crap is a tremendous lack of nobility and honor. I really thought that the Asians had more honor… until buy a samsung mobile. Show your honor samsung… update your devices!!!! Lollipop for all mobiles that can… Read more »

sriramsi
sriramsi

I feel their update policy is a scam. They push out crappy updates intentionally to make people upgrade to newer phones. I used to have the Galaxy note N7000 and Samsung left it with a useless 4.1.2 upgrade that was extremely laggy and bug prone. However look at the XDA developers like Bauner, they have released an amazing Lolipop rom that is really great, smooth and works so much better than the stock ROM. It is not that Android is getting laggy or requires faster hardware, it is to do with Samsung’s ability (or mainly the intentions).

sriramsi
sriramsi

I feel their update policy is a scam. They push out crappy updates intentionally to make people upgrade to newer phones. I used to have the Galaxy note N7000 and Samsung left it with a useless 4.1.2 upgrade that was extremely laggy and bug prone. However look at the XDA developers like Bauner, they have released an amazing Lolipop rom that is really great, smooth and works so much better than the stock ROM. It is not that Android is getting laggy or requires faster hardware, it is to do with Samsung’s ability (or mainly the intentions).

longcoming
longcoming

I live in Turkey.In Turkey,N9000Q variant of Note 3 is sold.
I am using one.
The Last update was on 2014/10/15.A kitkat version.
No news of Lollipop,let alone android 5.01 or 5.1
I am considering selling this phone and never buy a samsung phone again.

Misterbigguy
Misterbigguy

Still no update for note 3 n9005 uae firmware (XSI)
so sad samsung.
no point buying such an expensive phone.
you never give justice with updates.
even s4 and s5 uae firmware got the update.
SEND IT FAST.

kefcoda
kefcoda

Support is absolutely terrible… And I know that the Note 2 is an old device, but PLEASE SAMSUNG you have said 3-4 times that an update to lolipop will happen and that shoud have hapened march/april… We are into July already and still haven’t got a sign of new softwere. If you don’t want to support the damn phone don’t say you will! My next phone will be anything DIFFERENT form Samsung!

kefcoda
kefcoda

Support is absolutely terrible… And I know that the Note 2 is an old device, but PLEASE SAMSUNG you have said 3-4 times that an update to lolipop will happen and that shoud have hapened march/april… We are into July already and still haven’t got a sign of new softwere. If you don’t want to support the f**ing phone don’t say you will! My next phone will be anything DIFFERENT form Samsung!

anozawa
anozawa

I am just waiting for Apple to implement wireless charging and I will switch back to iPhone.

BtOGs488
BtOGs488

I agree. My WiFi is unstable and 4G-LTE is nonexistent ( issues started in first 24hrs). Samsung and Verizon just blame each other. I think updates should come directly from phone manufacturer instead of service provider. This is my first and LAST Samsung device. Going back to LG, Sony or HTC.

dremka
dremka

Samsung updates? I ended up with Galaxy Grand Duos with faulty bluetooth (a specific case – hd voice headsets sound terrible). No updates. I’m switching to Windows Mobile, it is worse OS than Android but I want all features WORKING not crackling or hanging with no updates available.

Andrey052
Andrey052

I also don’t like the work Samsung has been doing with updates. Right now I am using S4 BE with 5.0.1 and I know that it has issues with memory leakage etc and I also know that there is a little chance that I’ll get a fix of it because Samsung won’t be supporting the device anymore! I can kind of agree not to have a newer version of OS but I can’t agree not to have a fix of the problem! Another example is security issues with A4.X. How is it possible that a producer knows about a problem… Read more »

nerdygadgetdude
nerdygadgetdude

*I really should proof read. lol *by now