X

Opinion

When seen in context, Samsung’s update policy isn’t all that bad

Samsung often takes flak for not being quick with firmware updates. The manner in which these updates are rolled out leaves some of its customers infuriated as well, but the fact remains that Samsung is known to provide two years of major Android platform updates for flagship and mid-range handsets. Many Android OEMs promise to support their devices for two years as well but some just decide to end support after a year. That’s often because they’re facing difficulties in preparing the update for a specific device. You don’t expect that to happen with a flagship device but that appears to be the case with the Huawei P9.

Those of you who follow developments in the smartphone industry will be well aware that China-based Huawei is one of the fastest growing smartphone vendors on the planet. It has a stated goal of catching up to Samsung and Apple so that it too can dominate the landscape. Huawei launched the Huawei P9, a flagship smartphone, in April 2016, merely a couple of months after Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge in February that year. Samsung has already released Oreo for its 2016 flagship but Huawei has not and it may not.

Huawei backing out of software update promise?

Granted, Galaxy S7 owners had to wait for a considerable amount of time before they got Oreo and even had to put up with post-launch issues that Samsung took some time to resolve. Nevertheless, the update is now available in many markets. Huawei hadn’t said at any point that it would not release Oreo for the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus. It even started beta testing Oreo for these handsets.

The latest reports based on claims from the company’s support staff in the United Kingdom suggest that Huawei has decided to not release Oreo for the P9. It may be due to hardware limitations which are causing device freezing, increase in power consumption, and function failure. Some reports even claim that Huawei has also terminated the Oreo beta program for the device.

Nougat is the only major update that the Huawei P9 has received so far even though most of its rivals from 2016, including the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, have received two. It really doesn’t inspire confidence in the brand if their devices which are presumably compatible with two future platform releases turn out to be incapable of that, and their flagship devices no less.

Huawei has had the Oreo update for this device in testing for a long time, so it’s possible that the support staff might be mistaken. We’ve seen incorrect statements from Samsung’s support reps about updates as well (especially in the UK), so that’s entirely within the realm of possibility. However, if this is the case, it simply underlines the fact that the grass is not all that greener on the other side.

Samsung’s not that bad at software updates

We see a lot of comments in which readers express their frustration at Samsung taking its sweet time to release updates. Many of them say that they will give up on the company and switch to another brand. It’s pertinent to mention here that Samsung is perhaps the only major Android manufacturer to release a lot of devices every year in almost all markets, big and small, and the fact that it manages to update them all is impressive regardless of how much time it takes.

One can make the argument that it’s Samsung’s job to release updates for devices that it sells and that it’s not doing anyone any favors for doing its job. But when seen in context to what others are doing, or rather being unable to do, Samsung’s update policy suddenly doesn’t seem so irksome.

Do you agree with this? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

    61 Comments

    Sign in »

    61
    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    rbachalo01
    rbachalo01

    If the phones were completely unlocked then we could update them to the software we wanted. I would like to see these hardware manufacturers offer these types of devices. One type for the average uniformed user like the writer of this story and others that know how to format and restore with a different developers software.

    Samsung would sell twice as many units then!!!

    ccc17
    ccc17

    The problem is that apple updates their phones for many years.You buy an expensive iphone you know it’s going to get the latest updates and will run great for years,you buy an expensive samsung and you know that you will only have 2 years update…Which do you think people would choose ?
    The only problem is that apple charges a lot for their phones if it was cheaper everybody would chooce iphones.I would too but where I live an s8 plus costs about 500 and an iphone 7 plus 128gb costs about 750 …

    dagger1
    dagger1

    Before my current Argetine, unlocked S8 (which is still on march security update) I had a mid range samsung phone which never received a single update.
    Just because there may be even worse manufacturers out there doesn’t justify Samsung’s lack of updates.

    fdfdfdfdfdfdfdf
    fdfdfdfdfdfdfdf

    Oreo for France on S7 is for 2020 ?

    enigmaco
    enigmaco

    Maybe if Samsung would cut back on the devices, it could expedite the updates. All OEMS seem to be bad about it, but year after year Samsung always come up as one of the worst.

    JinX
    JinX

    I have a Galaxy Note 8 since last november, I have received only one patch since them, still in nougat [Brazil (VIVO) (ZVV)], very annoying.

    Sony release updates really fast, even faster than Motorola.

    This lack of attention with flagships is the one thing that makes me still look for other brands from time to time.

    daniyal786
    daniyal786

    my s7 edge has the security patch from march 2017 since then no update waiting for oreo

    iamdutchy
    iamdutchy

    Stop trying to find excuses for samsung you know the update policy is trash S7edge still cant get oreo, we ddint even get 7.1 and def wont be getting 8.1 or P on a device that can more than handle these update. people spending their hard earned money to be treated like trash or forget about 1 year after the device launches.
    honestly we should boycott samsung at all cost

    MStuart
    MStuart

    When the context is “£1000 phones and rising”, then it’s not just bad, it’s terrible.

    westfind
    westfind

    Update or not, I can live with that.

    Simone25
    Simone25

    In not agree, the security patch for the Galaxy s7 la April but now we are on june, whyyyyy!!!!!!!

    tomaszupl
    tomaszupl

    He he, I have stock, unlocked S7 with Singapore CSC and last update brought January security patch (that was in march).
    Samsung is ridiculous and it’s really time to switch to other brand. Not only because delays in update, but simply – competition makes better and more innovative phones.

    martindale
    martindale

    Agree. My Note 4 received security updates almost every month up to August 2017. It was released about Oct 2014.

    But the point that the naysayers often overlook is that Samsung already has many of the features that people are impatiently waiting for in the next Android update anyway. For example, my original Note 1, it already had floating video window and windowed apps, and many more features that others waited a few years for Android to acquire natively. Of course they derided it as “bloat” in the Samsung, all the while stamping their feet impatiently for the next Android update.

    warlockba
    warlockba

    Your Note 4 (and mine too) only received so many updates because all other versions, up to the current one were a flop, so companies using them did not trade them in for newer devices. However if you note, exactly in your post, the last update was August, when the current Note was released – and which kinda sells, so no need anymore to keep the old one alive. That’s the actual update policy of Samsung – until the next device – afterwards dead, and usually the last patch will make the old device work worse, to trigger the upgrade… Read more »

    martindale
    martindale

    Well, let’s see warlockba. I obviously did do that last update, and my Note 4 is still my only phone, still going strong. So not too sure about the poison update thing. But if Samsung had wanted to force my hand in the way you suggest they already passed up a far better opportunity. You see, when it was 25 months old – out of warranty – it died from ‘mmc_read fail’ syndrome (memory worn out, basically). But instead of pointing me to their storefront, Samsung made a free out-of-warranty repair. That’s why my next phone will be a Samsung… Read more »

    warlockba
    warlockba

    And in netherlands even during the warranty years they were giving vouchers to owners who sent in their Note 4 for repairs to move to a Galaxy device, with the excuse “lack of parts”. My Note 4 died in the end also due to mmc failure btw – and Samsung could not care less in Germany … after it got dragged down with the latest August update.

    xhustler
    xhustler

    I think that your argument does not hold any merit. The truth is Samsung’s update policy sucks. Comparing their policy to other crappy competitors does not absolve Samsung from the responsibility of providing updates in a timely fashion.

    It’s like dad asking you why you got a test score of 50% on your report card and your answer is that some of your classmates got 40%.

    Martin R.
    Martin R.

    Then you are still better than the other ones.

    warlockba
    warlockba

    Yes but if you do a little research – the example you responded too is: I got 30% so it’s not so bad, most of the others had 40% anyhow …

    xhustler
    xhustler

    Doesn’t change the fact that you got a crappy score. Your response simply tells me that you are okay with Samsung being mediocre, despite having the resources and potential to be excellent.

    seancrosse
    seancrosse

    Samsung needs to release less devices. It’s crazy how many variations come out for different markets. Just focus on a few keys devices, at different price points.

    preime101
    preime101

    not just different devices but hundreds of variants of the same device. There is no reason to release more than about a dozen variants of the same device firmware.

    kfzhu1229
    kfzhu1229

    Well I have noticed 2 types of delivering android firmware updates to their phones (for their last firmware upgrades). 1. They can take less time to release the update, but the ROM would have a mix of many touchwiz/samsung experience versions, thus becoming very unstable soon afterwards. This happened on the Galaxy S III, S5, S6 S III had a mix of Nature UX and Nature UX 2.0 (For Android 4.3 and 4.4.2), thus its interface looks more aged than even the Galaxy S II Plus. S5 had a mix of Nature UX 3.0, 4.0 And 5.0 (for Android 6.0.1),… Read more »

    Matheusiq
    Matheusiq

    I completely agree with your point. Ever seen the Ui of a S5 on Marshmallow? Looks like they put KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow on a blender. Awful, really. So… anyway, Nougat for S7 is just like for S6, that Grace Ui and Samsung Experience mix… I hated it so far that I DOWNGRADED my S7 to Marshmallow and I still use it on MM to this day, until Oreo arrives to it

    warlockba
    warlockba

    The truth is, they did. Back then I was involved in a lot of Android phone development, and when hooking a Samsung phone to the ADB and going through the system resources I almost cried: the Marshmallow from Samsung was a broken version of Marshmallow, with a lot of libraries outdated from 3.x and 4.X because that is when they started development for touchwiz, and they never cared to port it to the newer Android, so they had to do this “mix” on Android builds to make their ui work with the newer one at all. Whether this is still… Read more »

    Matheusiq
    Matheusiq

    The A5 2016 serves as a example of these “rushed” updates. It was born with 5.1.1 looking exactly like Note5 etc Updated to 6.0.1, got a overall S7 look and animations plus a few extra animations in the volume control and toggle ultra power saving mode (which actually ended up better than S7) Updated to 7.0, notification panel is from S8, icons are some from Note7 and some from S8, app opening animation is from Note8, app closing animation is from Note7, it’s a weird mix. Know the worst? RP SWREV won’t let you downgrade the A5 2016 from the… Read more »

    Linkyop
    Linkyop

    Galaxy S6 have on Nougat have full Samsung Experience 8.0, not “mix”, confirmed by Samsung.

    warlockba
    warlockba

    Confirmed how? Just out of curiosity? Did you poke arround through the Samsung image? For Marshmallow I did … and at that point nobody knew about that “mix”, except the dev scene, and the consumers don’t usually even notice – the only way a consumer feels it, is that every app he installs is somewhat bigger, as it needs to bring a lot of libraries to fix that mess, with it. So if your Hangouts is more than 100mb – without the cache, and it uses quite some RAM, I can bet you that Samsung did a good job again.… Read more »

    Matheusiq
    Matheusiq

    WRONG. I had a S6 edge on Nougat, sold it and bought a Note5 on Marshmallow (still is to this day). The Ui on my S6 edge was a weird mix between Samsung Experience 8.1 and Grace Ui from Note7

    sai121
    sai121

    Sad.

    Jafar Sadeghi
    Jafar Sadeghi

    I disagree.
    Samsung is very lazy for updates.

    VIRGIN KLM
    VIRGIN KLM

    I completely disagree. The fact that other OEMs may do a poorer job than Samsung either constantly or every now and then does not mean that Samsung isn’t doing really poor with their updates. The whole thing starts with Google, first for not making it mandatory for every OEM to follow strictly update policies and second for their absolute crap policy of 2 years of maximum life support. Let’s not even talk about their perfect timing in update releases that never coincides with the latest flagships and never comes with the latest software and features when it obviously can. That’s… Read more »

    komando005
    komando005

    Samsung should provide 3 Major Updates .. S7 is more than capable to handle the “P” .. it would be so mesrable if the “A6+” with its awful cpu get it and the “Flagship” Not !!

    fcaroll
    fcaroll

    It’s not matter of being capable, even S3 will receive kernel support and get back on the track with Oreo thanks to the devs community. S7 is capable to run any future android release, as well as S5. It’s only that Samsung does not want it to (and it won’t do that because no one else does it). I’m afraid I have to admit that Apple are damn good at updates lol

    sai121
    sai121

    I pity your thoughts.

    Biransahin
    Biransahin

    I’ve always had timely updates. Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones. My Note8 is on May, my wife’s S9 plus is on May, reckon June isn’t far away. Maybe only one or two more for me before I get Note9. 🙂

    jojo337
    jojo337

    3 years for the Galaxy S/Note, 2 years for the rest, and it will be OK. (3 major updates / 2 major updates)…

    sai121
    sai121

    Lol! I am a big fan of this page.But, before any one asks or rises this point, I wanna ask you one thing. Why compare the Mighty Samsung with Huawei?
    Its like comparing water and fire.
    Also before I hear “how much is samsung paying you guys?” , Lets face it, ITS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. You follow the page because you like their stuff.Please dont malign the reputation of this page. Now dont ask How much has this page paid me. I donno!

    OrbTech
    OrbTech

    We precisely want more Major Updates. Software Updates are fine, but we want more of them. I mean.. Come on the iPhone 5s will get iOS 12, this is so disappointing ;(

    o0MHJ0o
    o0MHJ0o

    My problem is that they release updates slowly when they are released. Most recently… I have an S9+ in the UK and speaking to another member on this site. Their S9+ in the UK received the monthly update, mine hasn’t. Okay, so maybe it was a specific carrier… No, we’re BOTH unlocked variants direct from Samsung, and yet they received the update and mine didn’t. Why!? Where is the logic to this?

    bgpuccia2987
    bgpuccia2987

    People cry WAY TOO MUCH over these updates. I simply don’t understand it. It’s like kids crying at the market when their mom doesn’t pick up the toy they want.

    sai121
    sai121

    These thoughts amaze me. How did it never occur to me. *claps*

    utahman1971
    utahman1971

    So you are saying we should not get what Samsung promised? We are children for wanting what we paid for? Children are the ones that taunt about others being children. Want to call people children, then go to Poweramp forum, and watch how they complain about not getting the final version of v3. They act worse than us that own a flagship phone, plus a flagship phone is $800, and Poweramp is $4. There is a big difference in price to wait forever for updates.

    fcaroll
    fcaroll

    Samsung is not (mustn’t be) as bad as the context, it’s not a good excuse, Samsung are not so small that they need ages to do anything. They are simply badly organised and they should have changed years ago (and so should have done the “context” = android panorama but this is another story)