Samsung has never really been popular for its software updates, both the big Android version jumps as well as the regular security fixes. Much to its credit, it has been turning over a new leaf and has been more consistent and more timely in pushing updates to its most recent phones. Of course, that only applies to those models that still fall within their regular support period of two years. That’s why it’s surprising and even intriguing that Samsung suddenly rolled out an update to the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 series, years after they reached their end of life.
Both phones come from a time long forgotten, when Samsung’s numbering scheme for the two phone series didn’t match. In other words, both phones were released in 2015. The Galaxy S6 was the first in the Galaxy S series to have an “Edge” model with a curved edge display while the Galaxy Note 5 went down in history as the first and last of its kind not to have a microSD card slot and not to have a waterproof rating.
The phones may have long gone out of fashion and have probably been forgotten even. Samsung surprisingly didn’t and has released a small firmware update that first hit South Korean units before finally rolling out to markets in Europe and Latin America.
The changelog for the update is just as mysterious as the update itself, citing only security-related stabilization code. It doesn’t bump the Android Security patch level and is still stuck on September 2018. Unsurprisingly, the phones aren’t upgraded from Android 7.0 Nougat either.
One can only presume that Samsung found a critical vulnerability in these phones and figured it was easy enough to push out a quick fix. If anything, it proves that OEMs, especially big ones, can actually release critical security fixes beyond the two-year period that was really born out of convention rather than any technical constraint.