Samsung is the king of Android updates: here’s why it’s smart

Samsung recently announced that all Galaxy smartphones will be supported for “three generations.” In this editorial, we explore the reasons for this choice.

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Samsung is still leading the dance of Android manufacturers when it comes to updates. Oh sure, Google was doing it until a few more weeks ago, better you tell me. But no one has more interest than Google – which can precisely capitalize on both its grip on the ecosystem, and the image of its products always up to date and always ahead of the competition.

Samsung is an exception in the Android ecosystem

We can also mention to a lesser extent OnePlus, which in 2018 committed to two years of system updates + one year of security updates, which is not bad. But overall, ensuring long update support is of little interest to most Android manufacturers. This represents significant costs, with little gain for the brand.

We can even assume, in such a mature and competitive market, that it ends up lengthen renewal cycles. We therefore understand that few brands can really afford it. Especially in certain segments, when the price does not allow us to identify important brands. Or in models where manufacturers make up for it with advertisements and services. The Samsung exception is therefore all the more remarkable.

The builder has very early on the lifespan of its smartphones. It was already the first to have guaranteed 2 years of updates on all Galaxy smartphones – long before OnePlus. A duration of support that some Android manufacturers are still struggling to achieve today.

Samsung is in a position to shape the market – and there is interest

s20 ultra samsung
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Samsung is not falling asleep on its laurels, however: Samsung recently announced three “generations” of support across the entire Galaxy lineup. A period of three years which could eventually be generalized to all of the brand’s smartphones. But then, why is Samsung making so much effort if there is objectively little interest?

There are probably several reasons for this. The first is that Samsung is the market leader – in a pocket square. At the end of 2019, Samsung accounted for 20% of global smartphone sales, Huawei 17% and Apple 15%. In 2020, Huawei is the (probably temporarily) ahead. Three giants in a position to profoundly shape the industry.

Going from two to three years of support, for a brand like Samsung, means that others who want the same aura of seriousness with their customers will imitate it. And that’s what Microsoft did by announcing shortly afterwards that the Surface Duo would be supported for 3 years with updates, you’ll notice. The other reason is probably that Samsung doesn’t want to let Google pull the cover too much with its Pixels.

Break the vicious circle

Samsung galaxy s20
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Google only offers a handful of smartphone models against dozens of SKUs at all prices from Samsung which are generally well supported for updates. Finally, Samsung has no interest in attacking its competitors by price – which leads to a shallot race, and from this point of view of Android updates a race to the bottom which is damaging the reputation of the ecosystem.

On the contrary, by showing the way to competition, it gradually forces them to break the vicious circle which makes the Android ecosystem so insecure these days. What in fine could prove to be a more serious and lasting risk for a less strategic Samsung, for lack of a viable alternative to Android. So Samsung has every interest in seeing that the duration of support for smartphones increases both in its catalog and in the competition.

However, we are still very far from the 6 years of support offered by Apple. What do you think ? Do you also find that Samsung’s approach will gradually help the market improve? Or on the contrary do you think that Samsung is not going far enough yet? Share your opinion in the comments.

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