(Pocket-lint) - Software updates have been something of a contentious issue for Android. Not only have updates been slow across the history of the platform, but in some cases, a lack of future software support limits the lifespan of a new device.
On the eve of the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Tab S8 devices, a leaked document has revealed that Samsung is increasing the duration of support for its devices. The document was originally shared by Evan Blass.
The document reveals that Samsung will be offering four generations of Android OS upgrades and 5 years of security updates.
HUGE software commitments from Samsung!— Joshua Swingle (@JoshuaSwingle) February 7, 2022
Galaxy S22 series
Galaxy S21 series
Galaxy Z Flip 3
Galaxy Z Fold 3
Galaxy Tab S8 series
All of these devices will get FOUR Android OS upgrades and FIVE years of security patches Samsung previously promised 3 OS upgrades. pic.twitter.com/N7t5d9aTPY
Samsung goes on to detail that this will apply to the Galaxy S22 series, S21 series, Z fold and Flip 3, as well as the Tab S8 devices.
That should see the Samsung Galaxy S22 supported up to 2027 and running Android 16.
Nokia made similar pledges when it launched the Nokia XR20, but only landed on 3 years of Android updates and 4 years of security updates.
Google itself, pushing its flagship Pixel 6 devices, also offers 5 years of security updates, but 3 years of Android OS updates. Google currently says on its own support pages that the last OS update for the Pixel 6 will be in October 2024.
One of the drivers for extending software updates on devices is to prolong their useful life. If you only offer a couple of updates, it's not long before the device support ends at which point owners are faced with buying a new device to get the latest software features - and importantly to get security updates too.
That could mean that perfectly good hardware is being thrown away because it no longer has a function, when software could prolong it, extending the value and reducing wastage.
Anyone who has an Apple iPhone or iPad will know that software support is longer; indeed, the market in used devices is vibrant, partly because you'll get about 6 years of updates from them.
Updates have been a complex issue for Android over the past decade, but in 2021 things looked markedly improved, with Samsung being one of the leaders for pushing update to older devices.
This new commitment - should it prove true - will reinforce Samsung's position, as long as it can deliver.