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Samsung’s mid-range phones seem to get more regular security updates in Europe


Last updated: May 10th, 2018 at 23:46 UTC+02:00

Samsung's been pretty transparent about what devices it prioritizes for monthly security updates, with the rest getting relegated to a quarterly update schedule. But it's very common to see the company not actually following these schedules in every market, which is why some countries fall behind with security patches time and again even for devices that are slated to get monthly updates. And, well, it looks like Samsung seems to be more serious about monthly security updates in countries where there's a higher chance of someone filing a lawsuit against the company for poor software support, especially for mid-range smartphones.

Galaxy A5 gets more regular support than other A series devices

If you head over to Samsung's official website where it details security patches, you'll see that only the Galaxy A5 models are on a monthly schedule, while the Galaxy A3 and Galaxy A7 variants are on a quarterly schedule. This includes the Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8+ (2018), which are the successors to the Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017) — only the A8 gets monthly updates. Why is the A5 given special treatment? Well, it might be due to the fact that it's mostly European markets where Samsung launches Galaxy A5 handsets, while the Galaxy A7 phones tend to hit Asian and Middle Eastern markets where there's a higher demand for phones with big displays.

And, if history is any guide, the European continent is the most problematic for companies when it comes to following the rules and ensuring customers get the treatment they deserve, thanks to the European Union. Samsung, in fact, was hit with a lawsuit in the Netherlands back in 2016 for not being transparent with its software update policies. The Dutch Consumers’ Association had demanded that the company support a device for two years even if it was purchased by the consumer on the last day of the device's market availability, instead of stopping support two years after a device was released and went on sale.

It was a tall order, and Samsung had confidently said that it isn't worried about the lawsuit in its first court hearing earlier this year. But it seems the Korean giant isn't completely fearless, and that might be why it has its best-selling mid-range device in Europe on a monthly schedule while everyone else gets to wait for three months or more for the latest security updates. Again, it's not like Samsung strictly follows these schedules everywhere, and the company does release updates for many devices well past the official support period. But when a device is officially marked for monthly updates, it certainly gets more priority in general.

And it's possible that it's not exactly legal repercussion that Samsung is afraid of that puts the Galaxy A5 models above others in the lineup. It could just be based on sales figures, as the Galaxy A3 has always been launched in European markets yet is marked for quarterly updates. It could also be down to the fact that Samsung tends to launch far fewer non-flagship devices in Europe compared to Asia or the Middle East, making it harder to offer monthly updates due to the sheer number of smartphone options it offers in some regions.

But then it's not the consumer's fault that Samsung can't seem to get enough of flooding the market with a new phone every chance it gets, and it's rather disappointing that not everyone gets the same treatment, even if some of us might have paid more to purchase a device (the Galaxy A7, for example, is always priced higher than a Galaxy A5).

What do you think?

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