Why it matters: Android feature updates might have become stagnant, gimmicky, or overwhelming lately, depending on who you ask. However, there's no denying the importance of security updates that OEMs now regularly push out to protect users against vulnerabilities. While a majority of Android manufacturers commit to offering just two years of security updates, there are notable exceptions like Google with its three-year support for Pixels, and Samsung, which has now extended its enterprise-level security policy of four years to regular Galaxy owners rocking a Note, S-series, A-series, Foldable, XCover or a Tab series device released in 2019 or later.
Although Samsung likes to take its sweet time with delivering Android OS updates, the company is known to fare better when it comes to security patches that are released monthly, quarterly, or when necessary, depending upon the device tier and model year. Galaxy owners have traditionally received three years of security updates, but now Samsung has announced that it's extending that period by another year.
The company says that it's worked with over 200 carriers globally to push out timely security updates for over 130 models over the last decade. And while this 4-year program only includes phones and tablets released from 2019 onwards, it's still a sizable list considering all the models in Samsung's Galaxy range. The supported devices are:
- Galaxy S series: S10, S10+, S10e, S10 5G, S10 Lite, S20 5G, S20+ 5G, S20 Ultra 5G, S20 FE 5G, S21 5G, S21+ 5G, S21 Ultra 5G
- Galaxy Note series: Note10, Note10+, Note10+ 5G, Note20 5G, Note20 Ultra 5G
- Galaxy A series: A10e, A20, A50, A11, A21, A51, A51 5G, A71 5G
- Galaxy Foldables: Fold, Z Fold2 5G, Z Flip, Z Flip 5G
- Galaxy XCover series: XCover FieldPro, XCover Pro
- Galaxy Tab series: Tab Active Pro, Tab Active3, Tab A 8 (2019), Tab A with S Pen, Tab A 8.4 (2020), Tab A7, Tab S5e, Tab S6, Tab S6 5G, Tab S6 Lite, Tab S7, Tab S7+
It's undoubtedly good news for existing and new users of Samsung devices that'll now have better longevity and for those who are increasingly finding it difficult to splurge on the latest flagships considering the lack of innovative and meaningful new features in ever-costlier hardware.
An extended security support period could potentially improve Samsung's sales figures as well. Despite being 2020's leading smartphone vendor in terms of sales with an impressive 253 million units, the company recorded a 14.6 percent YoY decline. With consumer-friendly decisions like these, Samsung stands a better chance of retaining existing users for longer and can convince other Android users who normally get half this support period to switch to a Galaxy device.