Google just ceded its update authority to Samsung

Google vs Samsung Software Update

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

As exciting as the new Galaxy S22 hardware is, it was Samsung’s new five-year update promise that caught my eye. With a promise of four years of operating system updates and five years of security patches, Samsung’s warranty is the best in the Android industry and comes close to Apple’s coveted level of long-term support. This means that the Galaxy S22 series will be supported up to Android 16 in the 2025/2026 window. Talk about a life away.

What’s even more amazing is that Samsung is backing away from its promise to include older devices as well. So not only does this apply to the all-new Samsung Galaxy S22 series, but the entire Galaxy S21 line, Galaxy S21 FE, Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 foldable, as well as its new Galaxy Tab S8 range of tablets. Not to mention, the company is already promising three years of pretty decent OS updates for some of its cheaper smartphones as well. Simply put, Samsung is now well and truly ahead of the pack when it comes to both the length and breadth of its smartphone update policy. So major congratulations here.

Samsung is well ahead with the length and breadth of its update policy

You may have noticed that Samsung’s latest policy is even better than Google’s three operating systems and five-year security commitment that came with the Pixel 6 series. Big G’s Android update lasted some months. Even then, we weren’t convinced Google had done enough to lead the charge, and it didn’t take long for Samsung to show that Google, and everyone else, can do better when it comes to support. long-term. .

Read more: Google’s Pixel 6 update promise isn’t good enough

Consumers are tired of excuses

Android update complete

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

Still, Google and Samsung are doing much better than the industry as a whole. Other big brands like OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi only offer three years of OS updates for a handful of their most expensive smartphones. If you’re using a mid-range phone, you’ll be lucky to see two OS upgrades, while Google and Samsung offer much longer support for their budget models. While it’s great that these two are fighting for the top spot (someone has to), millions of other Android users are still missing long-term support.

What’s particularly frustrating about the broader Android update situation is that we’ve heard a lot of noise from various parties about the difficulties and improvements being made in bringing updates to Android devices. Google and its partners have worked extensively on initiatives like 2017’s Project Treble, 2019’s Project Mainline, and are working with chipset vendors like Qualcomm to support four versions of Android OS since late 2020. Still, it has had to wait until 2022 for Samsung to optimize the update. potential now available.

At this point, the will of the manufacturer is more of an obstacle than any technological problem.

As such, there’s no reasonable excuse for not matching Samsung’s level of long-term support. It’s certainly not chipset support or a means of providing updates; these bottlenecks have been resolved. For example, Google jumped on its own Tensor chipset, but that move did not yield the expected level of longer-term support. The Pixel 6 will receive two more years of security updates than its predecessor. A welcome improvement but hardly the game changer many expected.

As important as security updates are, it’s the operating system and feature updates that keep devices fresh and modern throughout their lifespan. This is especially important at a time when technological innovation has slowed, prices are high, and consumers expect to keep their smartphones for many years to come.

See also: Annual smartphone model is outdated, software first is the future

What’s stopping you, Google?

Google Pixel 6 update download

Robert Triggs/Android Authority

With that in mind, there’s nothing stopping brands from retroactively improving their update promise for 2021 smartphones. If Samsung can bring longer updates to last year’s smartphones and tablets, while building on on third-party silicon, what’s stopping Google and the industry as a whole from doing the same?

Google has done this in the past, bringing Android 10 to OG Pixel when it could have left users on Android 9 Pie. It’s also worth noting that the Pixel 6 support page lists OS upgrades “until at least” October 2024, so the phone might be supported beyond that. However, a commitment in advance is much better than a possible surprise as the phone supposedly reaches the end of its life.

Remember that Google has added an additional OS update to the Pixel OG and the Pixel 6 will see OS updates until at least 2024.

So the ball is in your court, Google. Can you match the Galaxy Update Pledge and bring four OS updates to the Pixel 6? Or are you happy to let Samsung show the Android ecosystem how to properly support its products?

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Google Pixel 6: Which will you buy?

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