Samsung just attempted to change the game – or at least allow the cards stack a bit more in their favor – when it comes to software updates. A set of smartphones they create will now get a guaranteed three years of software updates. That’s new – or at least new to most Android-based smartphones on the market today. For years, this has been one of the most major sticking points in hardcore Apple fans’ reasoning for continuing to purchase an iPhone: the value that comes from more than 2 years of software updates from the manufacturer of the phone.
Below you’ll see the full collection of smartphones Samsung’s guaranteed will get “three generations of Android operating system (OS) upgrades per the company’s announcement on the 18th of August, 2020. See the archived webpage for that announcement via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine if you’re reading this article in the distant future.
Samsung Galaxy S phones
The Samsung Galaxy S series guarantee for three generations of Android OS upgrades from Samsung include the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, S20 Ultra, S20+, S20 5G, S20, S10 5G, S10+, S10, S10e, and S10 Lite. Samsung has also committed to this promise for “upcoming S series devices.”
To upgrade your Samsung phone, you’ll have to head to Settings – scroll down to System Updates, tap System Updates, tap Check for system updates. You can also see your system update history or use the Software Upgrade Assistant system. You’ll also be able to access your system update history from this menu.
Samsung Galaxy Note phones
The Galaxy Note series guarantee for three years of Android OS updates is a list very similar to that of the phones in the category above. The Galaxy Note devices that’ll get three years of upgrades include Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G, Note20 Ultra, Note20 5G, Note20, Note10+ 5G, Note10+, Note10 5G, Note10, and the Note10 Lite.
Samsung’s also suggested that three years of guaranteed Android OS updates will be delivered to “upcoming Note series devices.” We can safely assume this includes just the Note smartphone devices, in this case – tablets are included below.
Samsung Galaxy Z (Foldable) phones
The Samsung Galaxy foldable devices are currently branded with a “Z” – the first-generation Fold device (original and 5G) was the only odd one out. The list of foldable devices from Samsung that’ll get a guaranteed three years of upgrades, per Samsung’s word this week, includes the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, Z Fold2, Z Flip 5G, Z Flip, Fold 5G, and the 1st-generation Galaxy Fold.
Samsung also guaranteed that “upcoming Z series devices” would get a full three years of guaranteed Android OS updates. It’ll be interesting to see if this includes other foldable devices that might not include the Z branding.
Samsung Galaxy A phones
Below the Galaxy Note and S are the high-value, low-cost smartphones of the Samsung Galaxy A series. These phones are guaranteed to get three years of Android OS updates from Samsung: Galaxy A71 5G, A71, A51 5G, A51, and the A90 5G. Notice that does not include every single Galaxy A phone released in the past year or two – this series is far more giant and varied than the S or Note series.
On that note, the guarantee for three years of updates to the Android OS of the Galaxy A series does not include every single future Galaxy A device. Instead, Samsung says that “select upcoming A series devices” will get the guarantee, only.
Samsung Galaxy tablets
The Samsung Galaxy tablet collection is similar to the Note and S series in that most of the tablets Samsung’s released in the last couple of years are included on the list – not ALL, but most.
Guaranteed to get three years of Android OS updates from Samsung are the following tablets: Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G, Tab S7+, Tab S7 5G3, Tab S7, Tab S6 5G4, Tab S6, and Tab S6 Lite. Samsung suggests that “upcoming Tab S series devices” will also get the guarantee.
Disclaimers from Samsung
Samsung noted that the availability of Android OS upgrades “and features” will “vary by device and market.” They also noted that their schedule for upgrades to software “will depend on factors including but not limited to complexity of the update, model, as well as market penetration and more.”
Samsung also made the small text note that the company “releases monthly and quarterly security updates on Samsung devices including but not limited to S, Note, A, J, M and Tab series.” That’s a bit different from Android OS upgrades – and sometimes more important!