Galaxy S22 series skips out on Android’s Seamless Updates feature
Samsung’s new Galaxy S22 series offers impressive hardware with a promise of four years of guaranteed OS upgrades. However, it appears the new phones don’t have the ability to swiftly install new software updates, lagging behind the likes of the Pixel 6.
According to 9to5Google, the Galaxy S22 series doesn’t support Android’s “Seamless Updates” feature. Previous Galaxy phones, including the Galaxy S21 series, also lacked support for Seamless Updates, which is the case this year as well. Back in 2020, we learned that Google would make Virtual A/B partitions mandatory for devices launching with Android 11. Unfortunately, Google later walked back on this requirement, leaving it up to OEMs to decide whether they want to implement A/B partitions for Seamless Updates or not.
— Ben Schoon (@NexusBen) February 14, 2022
The latest version of the Android Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) and the VSR for Android 12 devices say A/B partitions are optional. Google’s documentation for virtual A/B mentions the feature as a GMS requirement for devices launching with Android 11 and above though no other supporting evidence can be found on the same.
Interestingly, Google’s doc for virtual A/B still says that it’s a GMS requirement for devices launching w/ Android 11+. However, I can’t find any evidence that it actually is a GMS requirement, so maybe that wording came from before they scrapped it.https://t.co/U451RGd4Ia pic.twitter.com/kXCCP5g6Lr
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) February 14, 2022
Introduced with Android Nougat, “Seamless Updates” is a feature that uses an A/B dual partition system to allow Android phones to quickly install new software updates. The internal storage of Android phones is usually divided into partitions such as system and boot. Traditionally, Android devices have only come with a single copy of each partition. But devices that support Seamless Updates have two sets of partitions, called slots (slot A and slot B). During the normal course of operation, only one slot is used while the other lies dormant. Since both slots are essentially the same, they can be used interchangeably to boot into Android. One of the biggest advantages of this setup is that you can update the dormant partition in the background and swap to it when you reboot the device, thus seamlessly booting into the new software. In other words, you won’t have to stare at that annoying “Android is starting… Optimizing apps (x) out of (x)” screen at the boot, which is the case on devices with a single or A-only slot.