Samsung's 2020 flagships will only get major updates until Android 12

Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra
Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Samsung has released its update schedule for its latest phones.
  • As expected, the company will only provide full software support for the S20 series and the Galaxy Z Flip for the next two years.
  • After that, they receive one more year of monthly security updates, following by quarterly security releases in the fourth and final year.

Despite the Galaxy S20 series and the Galaxy Z Flip being among the most expensive phones to be released by the company, Samsung is reportedly not planning on extending software support for these phones beyond its usual two years of full support plus two years of security updates, as per SamMobile.

Samsung has improved a lot in recent years with regard to the speed at which it updates its phone. While it was once lambasted as one of the slowest phone makers in providing new software to users, it now often releases monthly security updates for its phones even before Google does for the Pixel line.

Yet, while it's become faster at providing updates, Samsung has unfortunately not made much of an effort toward improving the lifetime of its phones. For years now, the company has stuck to a 2-year schedule for full software support (meaning it'll provide both security updates, as well as the latest feature updates from Google), followed by one more year of monthly security updates. All software support ends in the fourth year after a phone's launch, with security updates released on a quarterly cadence at this point before stopping entirely.

As the company added its 2020 flagships to its list of devices slated to receive monthly security updates, it's clearly signaling that it's business as usual for the company, and it's not planning on giving the S20 or the Z Flip special treatment compared to its previous flagships. And if it were making a change, that almost certainly would have been a major part of its marketing for the phones. Yet, we've heard nothing.

This means that since the phones ship with Android 10, they'll be in line to receive Android 11 and Android 12, but nothing more in terms of major OS updates. In contrast, OnePlus phones — which often cost significantly lesser than the Galaxy lineup — are assured three years of updates. So, too, is the Pixel line. The grass is even greener in Apple's walled garden, where all iPhones are promised five years of major updates.

There's no doubt that Samsung makes some of the best smartphones in the world — you might even say it's got the best Android lineup of them all — but if it truly wants to compete with Apple or even the likes of OnePlus, the Korean giant really needs to up its game when it comes to ensuring the longevity of its devices. So far, it's refused to do that.

Muhammad Jarir Kanji