Samsung has been working on its software support game for a while now, but it feels like it really went into overdrive these past few months. As its over-the-air packages are reaching a huge variety of Galaxy smartphones and tablets nowadays. In fact, their ever-increasing frequency is becoming quite a sight to behold.
That might be why Samsung’s commitment to three generations’ worth of Android updates feels like it happened ages ago. The tech giant ramped up its output to such a degree that we constantly need reminders how getting more than an update per month on average wasn’t always the norm.
Is this impressive momentum sustainable?
In reality, fewer than six months passed since that historic Galaxy Unpacked. And yet Samsung already seems like such a dominant leader in Android updates that it’s difficult to even think of a company that could so much as hope to seize its momentum, moving forward.
Nothing illustrates this uplifting state of affairs better than the current availability status of One UI 3.0 across various product ranges. Samsung’s take on Android 11 already reached many compatible smartphones and is bound to hit many more in the coming weeks.
This includes flagship models as old as the 2019 Galaxy S10 series and even an affordable mid-range device like the Galaxy M31. So, for the first time ever, Samsung has multiple mobile lines that aren’t behind in Android updates at the beginning of a new calendar year. Instead, they’re running the last major OS release that Google announced to date. In fact, its latest tablets are even getting updated to One UI 3.1 already, before the Galaxy S21 lineup has gone on sale.
Even the U.S. carriers seem to be going out of their way to keep up with Samsung’s Android updates right now. Of course, all of this should be at least partially related to the fact that the ecosystem hasn’t undergone any massive changes lately. Meaning Samsung also had fewer new Android additions to worry about optimizing. Credit where it’s due, however: Google greatly contributed to this firmware development Renaissance at Seoul. It did so by offering a clear avenue toward improvement in the form of Project Treble.
Google’s efforts streamlined the Android codebase in a way that shortened development times of security patches and other minor updates. This has always been the primary goal of the initiative. And yet, even though the benefits of Project Treble were offered and later even forced upon every manufacturer, Samsung is the only relevant mobile brand whose track record with security patches significantly improved over these past three years.
Time will tell whether this momentum is sustainable, but given everything we’ve seen over the last few months, Samsung probably deserves some goodwill and optimism. Either way, it seems adamant to keep approaching mobile security development with the same level of urgency that already mesmerized many an industry watcher while terrifying the margin-thin competition throughout 2020.