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ProBeat: Samsung’s slow software scheduling shenanigans

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Earlier this week, the official Samsung Turkey news portal Güncel Miyiz let slip that Samsung phones will be getting Android 8.0 Oreo in early 2018. The page, which the site has since pulled (Google cache, Bing cache), said that work on bringing Oreo had begun but didn’t specify for which devices (likely the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note8). Samsung is moving way too slowly.

Samsung declined to comment on the report, which in cases like this typically means “yeah, it’s true, but we don’t want to make it look worse.” This is incredibly frustrating to watch, because it happens every year, and Samsung should know better by now.

The smartphone screen king, headphone jack warrior, and world’s top smartphone seller can’t get its act together. It’s like Samsung sees Apple’s iPhone and its speedy software cycle, but doesn’t even bother trying to keep up.

Here is when the last three Galaxy S phones received their first major Android update:

  • Galaxy S5 (April 2014): Android 5.0 Lollipop arrived in November 2014. The first phones got the update in December 2014.
  • Galaxy S6 (April 2015): Android 6.0 Marshmallow arrived in October 2015. The first phones got the update in February 2016.
  • Galaxy S7 (March 2016): Android 7.0 Nougat arrived August 2016. The first phones got the update in January 2017.

Samsung is getting worse at this. Sure, the Galaxy S5 owners only got Lollipop in Poland, but still, the turnaround was a month. The Galaxy S6 got Marshmallow four months later. Galaxy S7 owners had to wait five months for Nougat.

With the Galaxy S8 released in April 2017, Android 8.0 Oreo arriving August 2017, and Samsung Turkey’s talk of an “early 2018” update, this isn’t looking good. Unless Samsung surprises us, the Galaxy S8’s first update can at best end up as slow as the Galaxy S7.

By January or February, Samsung will already be preparing its announcement for the Galaxy S9. After all, the S8’s successor will likely launch just two or three months later. At this rate, next year’s phone will leak before its predecessor gets an update.

I’m not advocating for Samsung to rush updates. No one wants the next version of Android if the implementation is buggy. But the company’s competitors have gone to great lengths to speed up their update process.

Samsung, make the S stand for speed.

ProBeat is a column in which Emil rants about whatever crosses him that week.

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