Traditionally, smartphone buyers who wanted to get their hands on a device that, on the software side, would stay secure for years to come would have had to buy an iPhone, iPad or Google Pixel device. With any of these choices, a long run of security updates would lie in wait.
However, in recent years, the South Korean electronics titan has made significant strides in the long-term software support it makes available for its devices. Now, the company has confirmed that various Samsung devices from 2019 or later are eligible for at least four years of security updates.
How Samsung broke the news
In a press release on Samsung’s UK website, the company announced that “Galaxy devices will now receive regular security updates for a minimum of four years after the initial phone release.” Samsung added that these updates will arrive on a monthly or quarterly basis.
The list of eligible Samsung devices is quite eye-opening, and includes not only flagship Galaxy S and Galaxy Note handsets from – respectively – the S10 and Note10 onwards but also numerous lower-end devices. Those include the Galaxy A and M series from, respectively, the A10 and M11 onwards.
A wide range of Samsung’s respected Galaxy Tab tablets are also accounted for – something that could easily be appreciated by people who have bought any of these slates lately for work-from-home purposes.
Looking more closely at the small print
While the news initially seems very promising, there remain a few caveats the press have wisely pointed out. The Verge notes that the pledged four-year run of updates refers only to security updates rather than Android OS updates, for which Samsung’s support is more sparing.
Nonetheless, the news site observes that Samsung is now promising Android security updates for even longer than Google does for its Pixel phones – as, in that instance, only “at least three years” of security updates are pledged.
SamMobile observes: “There are few Android OEMs that provide the level of software update that Samsung is doing now. Props to Samsung for leading the way on this.” The site also says that, by extending software update in this way, Samsung is incentivising customers to keep using their existing Samsung devices for longer.
Therefore, this extension could lend Samsung a significant competitive advantage against Apple and Google, two of the company’s most obvious rivals in the smartphone market – and two companies that, historically, have been dedicated to regularly releasing security updates for their customers’ devices.
What if you have been left out of the security update cycle?
The news does indeed leave open the question of how users should secure Samsung devices not eligible even for Samsung’s extended software support – such as Samsung smartphones and tablets originally purchased in 2018 or earlier.
For these users, it will be pivotal for them to find alternative means of securing their devices – especially in the case of business users who might not quite be ready to invest in new hardware yet. An antimalware solution like Wandera’s could provide multi-level cloud and endpoint security.