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?
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!
This is Samsung's update policy in one picture.(G900x = S5 / I9500 = S4) pic.twitter.com/FEqpIC9Msh
— SamMobile (@SamMobiles) June 15, 2015