Samsung is notorious for its terrible software support even for its flagship phones. To be fair, however, it has been improving and keeps on trying, despite the sometimes more publicized reports of its failures. It does try to quickly update its very latest premium phones to the latest Android release and has even expanded its software support coverage to four years of security updates. And that is happily the case at least for the Galaxy S7 line whose time has finally come after four years of receiving that promise.
There is really no technical basis for cutting off software updates after two, three, or even four years after a device has been launched. It is mostly due to marketing and human resource management, which basically boils down to expending resources on more recent, and more profitable, products.
Almost all Android phone makers commit to two years of major Android updates or up to two Android versions, whichever comes first. Outside of that, they continue pushing security updates for up to three years. In contrast, Apple delivers major iOS updates even to phones that are five years old.
Samsung made an effort to change its image when it promised that it would continue providing security updates for up to four years from a phone’s launch delivered quarterly rather than monthly. That’s definitely the case with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, both launched in the first half of 2016. Those two received their last major Android update to version 8.0 (Oreo) and may have just gotten its last security update last month.
Whether Samsung will continue this positive trend remains to be seen in the coming months as the Galaxy S7 was the first to be included in this four-year support cycle. Next up is the Galaxy S7 Active, which was launched in June 2016. And in case you’re wondering, the 2017 Galaxy Note 7 isn’t on Samsung’s list either.