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    Samsung’s software update game is missing just one tweak

    Opinion
    By 

    Last updated: November 30th, 2023 at 00:15 UTC+01:00

    Samsung has impressed everyone with how it has released the Android 14/One UI 6 update for a lot of devices in a short time. The One UI 6 beta program went on a little longer than beta tests for new One UI versions usually do, but it was worth it, as Samsung was able to release the stable update for nearly a dozen devices (not counting different variants of the same device) in a single week!

    And that's just one of its own records Samsung broke with One UI 6. The other is the quick release of the latest Android and One UI upgrade for a budget phone. Budget phones have always been put at the end of the line and received major OS upgrades after Samsung was done with flagship and mid-range smartphones. But this time, Samsung isn't playing favorites. That is why it has already pushed One UI 6 to phones like the Galaxy A14 and Galaxy A24 ahead of some costlier devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4.

    All of it has further cemented Samsung's leadership when it comes to software updates for Android smartphones and tablets, showcasing how the company gets better at the update game every year. But Samsung's update game still isn't perfect. There's only one thing getting in the way: the number of major Android updates guaranteed for Galaxy devices.

    Before October 2023, Samsung was the absolute best in the Android landscape as far as the duration of after-sales software support is concerned. Samsung was offering four major Android updates and five years of security updates to all of its flagships and some mid-range phones. While Samsung wasn't the only manufacturer promising four major Android updates, it was promising it for the most number of devices.

    But it all changed in early October when Google announced its new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro smartphones. More interesting than the phones was Google's new update policy: Pixel devices will get feature and Android version updates for at least seven years! Even Apple doesn't commit to software support this good, let alone Samsung.

    Four years of OS updates doesn't cut it anymore

    There are obviously some questions about how well Google will be able to implement this policy. Seven years is a long time to be using the same phone, and it remains to be seen if Pixel devices will be able to perform well after their sixth or seventh Android update. There's also the matter of spare parts, though Google has assured customers it will try and ensure that spare part availability isn't an issue during those seven years.

    Even if spare parts or device performance ends up being a problem, it's simply amazing that Google is promising so many updates. As a Samsung fan, I've been feeling jealous, and I've been hoping Samsung will take inspiration from Google and increase the number of major OS updates it provides to its smartphones.

    It's fine if Samsung can't directly jump to seven years of OS upgrades. That's a huge commitment for a manufacturer that makes a lot of its revenue from hardware sales. Google's revenues come almost entirely from software services and products, so it can afford fewer hardware sales as a result of supporting each device for so long, but that's not the case for our favorite phonemaker.

    But four years of OS updates just don't cut it anymore. and Samsung should consider raising that number to five at the very least, especially for its flagship phones. Oh, and maybe stop launching new phones with old versions of Android just days before a newer version of Android is released while it's at it.

    Opinion
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