Discussion: Has Samsung actually gotten good at software updates?
If you’ve been keeping watch these past few months, you’d have noticed that Samsung has been slaying it with its software updates. Besides working relentlessly to roll out the latest Android 11-based One UI 3.0 update to a wide range of flagships and flagship-killers, Samsung has also rewarded several mid-range devices with a similar treatment. Along with this commendable promptness, the brand also deserves our appreciation for updating mid-rangers that other brands often forget. So, in this edition of our weekly Discussion series, we ask you if you think Samsung is leading the way among Android manufacturers when it comes to software updates?
While Samsung appears to be at the top of its game, the condition was certainly much different a few years ago. Ironic to the brand’s global reputation, Samsung also earned the blame for delaying software updates, limiting key updates — such as Android version incremental updates — to its flagship devices, and offering a cluttered user experience with its TouchWiz user interface that was later refreshed as Samsung Experience. Samsung addressed complaints about the poor UX by majorly overhauling it with the first One UI update back in 2018. Not just that, the frequency and the availability of the latest updates have also improved majorly in the last few years.
Samsung started floating the first One UI 3.0 beta in October 2020 and subsequently started rolling out stable updates in December 2020, starting with the Galaxy S20 series on Verizon. Since then, a slew of devices has received the stable One UI 3.0 updates. The list includes:
- Galaxy S10 series
- Galaxy S20 series
- Galaxy Note 20 series
- Galaxy Note 10 series
- Galaxy Fold and Z Fold 2
- Galaxy Z Flip 4G and Galaxy Z Flip 5G
- Galaxy S10 Lite
- Galaxy S20 FE
- Galaxy M31
- Galaxy Note 10 Lite, Galaxy M21, and Galaxy F41
Aside from these devices, Samsung’s latest Galaxy S21 series comes pre-loaded with One UI 3.1, which brings a few extra features such as the improved Google Home Device controls. The Galaxy Tab S7 has also been updated with One UI 3.1 with a set of features to enhance collaboration and productivity.
Despite this promptness, however, Samsung still lags in one area and that is support for Seamless Updates on Android. The feature was introduced with Android Nougat, and it allows new updates to install in the background while the phone is still being used. While updates may normally take only a few minutes to install, we cannot deny that saving that time is also a bonus, especially in an age where we are constantly dependent on our phones. Until Google does not make Seamless Updates mandatory for manufacturers, we can expect Samsung to its own sweet time.
Whether Seamless Updates improve the user experience or not is another topic for yet another Discussion. For now, we would like you to share your opinions on what you think about Samsung’s enthusiasm for updates. Comments your views below!