The unbearable slowness of Samsung’s updates


Samsung controls the destiny of updates for tens of millions of Android customers around the globe. So why is it nonetheless so sluggish?

Yearly round this time, as I get ready for any other onslaught of Samsung leaks, rumors ^(, and eventual finds and critiques, I check out to have a look again on the corporate’s replace observe document — and I am at all times upset.

Simply this week, Samsung introduced that its prolonged and fairly unique Oreo beta is finishing ^(, because of this that an replace to Android 8.0 is approaching for gadgets just like the Galaxy S8, S8+ ^(, and Observe 8 ^( Nice. However I have been the use of Oreo ^( since August on gadgets like the unique Pixel, and a excellent bite of the telephones on my place of job table, together with some that shipped with the newest model, were playing Oreo since neatly sooner than Thanksgiving.

Yr after 12 months, the sector’s largest telephone producer fails to ship on its promise for well timed device updates, and in doing so considerably depresses the entire tally within the procedure. Google can push updates to its Nexus and Pixel lineup as briefly because it desires (and it does), and corporations like Sony, HTC, OnePlus and others can assist in making a dent, however it isn’t till Samsung starts its lumbering annual rollout that the tectonic shift starts anew. With Oreo nonetheless on underneath 1% of gadgets ^(, that huge undertaking can not come briefly sufficient.

It is not like Samsung is new to this recreation. Articles like this were proffered since no less than 2018, and the corporate has certainly advanced the high quality of its device output, however the stakes are simply such a lot upper in this day and age. However Samsung an increasing number of owns the Android marketplace, and its dominance places the Android staff at Google — break away the Pixel staff — in a tenuous place. As we now have noticed from previews of Android 8.0 Oreo at the Galaxy S8, throughout the beta program, this actual replace is not just about as important a cultured or function overhaul as ultimate 12 months’s bounce to Nougat used to be, and but we are bobbing up on a 12 months since Samsung started rolling that out. It did not hit carriers within the U.S. till past due February.

What is your largest annoyance with Android at this time?

— Android Central (@appmarsh) January 19, 2018

Previous this month, we requested other folks what their largest frustrations are with Android at this time. The quantity one reaction via a large margin? Loss of updates.

With the Galaxy S9 being introduced on February 25th ^(, and an anticipated unlock date simply three weeks later, on March 16th, it is transparent that Samsung is the use of the provision of the newest model of Android as a promoting function. Omit the Galaxy S8 for a second — most of the people updating to the S9 shall be coming from an S6 or S7, which, on the subject of the S6 sequence, may not obtain Oreo in any respect, or obtain it later this 12 months, as promised to the S7 line. A bounce to Android 8.0 out of the field, with all its efficiency enhancements and extra options, is leverage that Samsung hopes to make use of to promote a couple of extra telephones.


On every occasion I take this angry stance against Samsung’s languid strategy to device updates, I possibility now not taking the opposite facet into consideration: with nice energy comes nice accountability. For the reason that Samsung has the sector’s greatest fleet of telephones looking forward to updates, it should be sure that the revel in is in large part bug-free, with UI components and device options tailored to its a lot of regional companions. I do not envy the groups answerable for such high quality assurance.

No Android producer is excellent at updates, however Samsung’s extended cycles affect the most of the people without delay.

On the similar time, Google launched the primary Android O developer preview on March 21 ultimate 12 months. Oreo used to be first publicly to be had on August 21, and the Sony Xperia XZ1, the primary telephone to reach with Oreo out of the field, got here a month later.

With the Galaxy S9 sequence inevitably delivery with Oreo out of the field, it is conceivable Samsung will make stronger Treble, a machine that would doubtlessly accelerate device updates in years yet to come. Consistent with Google ^(, “Mission Treble will make it more straightforward, quicker and not more pricey for instrument maker companions when those gadgets are up to date one day.”

However that, nor every other Google software or incentivization, will supply solace to tens of millions of Android customers, whether or not they comprehend it or now not, looking forward to the newest model. It is not with regards to new options, both: each replace is helping builders reinforce their apps, and makes it more straightforward for IT managers to troubleshoot issues. It is a virtuous cycle that Samsung can perpetuate, however like in years previous, consumers proceed to be positioned 2d.

Here is what else is on my thoughts this week.

  • We took a couple of weeks off from the podcast over new years, however we now have launched three prior to now two weeks ^( and they are excellent. The gaming-focused one ^(, specifically, is a large number of a laugh if you have not listened to it already.
  • That Samsung is specializing in digicam enhancements ^( for the Galaxy S9 is comprehensible. What is struck me after selecting up the Observe 8 once more in contemporary days is simply how some distance it wishes to return to compete with the Pixel 2 on imaging.
  • Andrew is correct at the cash right here ^( Android, as once in a while irritating as it’s for brand new and veteran customers alike, not must be rooted (it arguably by no means did) to reserve it from its deficient selections. I have never rooted a telephone in just about five years.
  • Jerry wrote some sensible issues ^( about limits on executive surveillance, particularly in gentle of the extension to Phase 702 of FISA ^( Definitely worth the learn.
  • 3 weeks in the past, I wrote about smartphone dependancy ^( 3 weeks in the past, I made up our minds to make a concerted effort to make use of my telephone much less. I have deleted Twitter from my smartphones (proscribing use to my computer) which has helped, however the next move is to set timers for the period of time I spend at the telephone on the whole. Small however essential steps to taking again keep watch over of my virtual existence.
  • Peace.