Opinion

Samsung Oreo update episode has left its most loyal fans infuriated

I’m certainly not the only one who feels that Samsung users have got the short end of the stick with Oreo. Many of our readers, who are some of the most loyal Samsung fans, have consistently been criticising the company for the delay and some have ever said that they may never buy a Samsung smartphone again because the company’s update process is a nuisance.

Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ owners have been anxiously awaiting the release of Android 8.0 Oreo ever since the beta program was launched. After running the program for six months, Samsung finally released the Oreo update for last year’s flagship earlier this month only to halt the rollout due to unexpected issues. The company has resumed the rollout today but the new firmware has only been released over-the-air in Germany so far.

It boggles the mind that a company the size of Samsung conducted what should have been a thorough beta test and yet wasn’t able to deliver a major Android update devoid of issues that could cause it to pull the update once it had started rolling out.

Google launched Android 8.0 Oreo on August 21, 2017 and its Pixel handsets were unsurprisingly the first devices to receive the new Android platform update. Samsung took more than two months to announce the Android 8.0 Oreo beta program for the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ on November 2, 2017. On November 27, Sony released Android 8.0 Oreo for the Xperia XZ and XZs. Samsung’s beta ended January 26, 2018 in the United States and earlier in other markets with Samsung finally rolling out a stable version on February 8.

We exclusively reported last week that Samsung has halted the Galaxy S8 Android Oreo release due to unexpected reboots reported by users and that it’s now developing a new firmware version for the handset. It finally started rolling out the new Oreo firmware version for the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ today.

It goes without saying that we’ll be well into the month of March 2018 before the Oreo update makes its way to Galaxy S8 owners across the globe, which means that Samsung’s current flagship smartphone is going to receive the latest Android platform update seven months after it was originally launched. Users with carrier-branded devices will have to wait even longer. Other devices, like the Galaxy Note 8, may not get it before May. That’s also when Google I/O 2018 takes place and where Google will officially unveil Android P, the next major Android platform update. Oreo will essentially be outdated by the time it arrives on Samsung’s $1000 phablet.

Samsung hasn’t explained why it takes the company up to six months to get the update ready for at least two of its main devices. Nobody is asking Samsung to update its entire lineup of compatible devices on the very same day, but Galaxy S8 owners are justified in asking the company why with the considerable resources at its disposal has Samsung not been able to do a better job of getting the Oreo update ready? Samsung fans are particularly irked when they see that smaller OEMs like Motorola, OnePlus, Xiaomi and Sony have already released Oreo for multiple models while Samsung still seems to be struggling with two.

We have seen many comments from readers questioning whether Samsung even cares about its customers enough to ensure timely major updates if not for all then at least for its flagship models. One can understand that OEMs need time to make their own tweaks to the update, test it and then get it approved from Google, but the question is does it really take a company the size of Samsung more than six months to do it for merely two handsets?

We recently reported that Samsung has started developing the Android 8.0 Oreo update for the Galaxy A7, Galaxy A5 and the Galaxy Tab S3. No evidence has surfaced so far to suggest that these devices will get Oreo at any point in the near future. No to mention that there’s still no timeframe for the Galaxy Note 8 Android Oreo release.

There’s a theory floating around which suggests that Google could possibly be pushing OEMs to delay major Android updates for their handsets to keep the latest version of its mobile platform exclusive to Pixel handsets for as long as possible. If that were true then Sony’s Xperia XZ1 wouldn’t have been the very first smartphone on the market to ship with Oreo out of the box. It was released even before Google unveiled its Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL handsets last year. So if that’s not the case, what reason does Samsung have for such a long delay? One can hardly take claims of quality control at face value when the update it has been working on for six months gets pulled because of an unexpected issue that should have been discovered and fixed during the beta phase in the first place.

Pardon my French but what crappy reason could Samsung have for all of this? If that wasn’t enough, the radio silence from Samsung is particularly infuriating for the company’s fans. Our readers express their frustration at this time and again. Samsung has kept its customers completely in the dark about which Samsung handsets will receive Oreo and when. It hasn’t even felt it worth its time to end confusion about whether or not the Galaxy S6 will get Oreo despite several conflicting reports with one involving its own carrier partner.

Many users just want a clear answer which you can probably imagine doesn’t come from the PR department. The public relations department’s standard line is that the company cares about its customers and works diligently to ensure that updates are bug-free. Samsung fans, many of whom tend to be technology enthusiasts, really don’t care for the boilerplate PR mumbo-jumbo. They would much rather have the truth even if they don’t like it and I certainly count myself among them.

Android is infamous for fragmentation. Android 8.0 and Android 8.1 combined account for merely 1.1 percent of all Android devices. Google is about to reveal Oreo’s successor in a couple of months and yet the latest iteration is yet to power even 2 percent of all Android-powered devices out there. This begs the question if Google really is serious about fixing this fragmentation issue, should it have limitations in place to ensure that OEMs release major platform updates in a timely fashion? Or would the company not want to do that in favor of positioning its Pixel handsets for customers who always want to have access to the latest software?

I feel that it’s time that Samsung was more open with its customers. Give them straight answers instead of keeping them in the dark. They’ll certainly appreciate the company for it even if they don’t particularly like what it has to say.


How has this entire Samsung Galaxy S8 Oreo update episode made you feel? Have you reconsidered sticking with Samsung for the future? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section. below.

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