The Galaxy S22 series is here, and while there is a lot to be excited about on the hardware front — particularly with the S22 Ultra — I'm more interested in what Samsung is doing on the software front. In 2020, Samsung guaranteed three Android platform updates for its Galaxy S, Galaxy Note, and select Galaxy A devices, and that announcement catalyzed the entire industry — in 2021, Xiaomi, OnePlus, and OPPO announced that they would start doing the same with their flagships.
Samsung is once again leading the way for Android updates, with the brand now promising four years of Android platform updates and five years of security patches. The update guarantee is valid not only for the latest Galaxy S22 series, but also for the best Android phones of 2021, including the Galaxy S21 series, the Z Fold 3 and Flip 3 foldables, and the more recent S21 FE.
This is a huge deal, as it means the Galaxy S21 series and Samsung's 2021 foldables will make the switch to Android 15, with the S21 FE and Galaxy S22 models slated to get the Android 16 update once it is available in 2025. But what's even more exciting is that Samsung is guaranteeing four years of Android version updates to upcoming Galaxy A devices.
The primary reason I recommend devices like the Galaxy A52 and A72 is down to the fact that they get more updates than just about any device in their price range, and the fact that the 2022 Galaxy A series will get four updates gives Samsung a distinct advantage in this category.
"Samsung Electronics today extended its commitment to delivering the most up-to-date and more secure mobile experience possible for users by offering up to four generations of One UI and Android OS upgrades on select Galaxy devices.
Available on select Galaxy S series, Z series and A series smartphones, as well as tablets, Samsung is planning to scale this effort across its various product ranges within the Galaxy ecosystem and works closely with partners to deliver Android OS upgrades through Samsung One UI.
Samsung also provides up to four years of upgrades to One UI Watch and Wear OS Powered by Samsung, ensuring that users can enjoy the latest Galaxy Watch experiences.
In addition to offering extended One UI upgrades, Samsung will now provide up to five years of security updates to help protect select Galaxy devices."
Samsung phones getting four Android version updates
Going forward, all phones in the Galaxy S and Galaxy Z series will get four years of Android platform updates, and the 2021 portfolio is included in this list as well. Samsung isn't leaving out mid-range phones, with select Galaxy A devices also slated to get four Android updates. These Samsung phones will get four guaranteed Android version updates and five years of security patches:
Galaxy S series
- Galaxy S22
- Galaxy S22+
- Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Galaxy S21
- Galaxy S21+
- Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Galaxy S21 FE
- Upcoming Galaxy S phones
Galaxy Z series
- Galaxy Z Fold 3
- Galaxy Z Flip 3
- Upcoming Galaxy A phones
Galaxy A series
While Samsung hasn't shared what phones in the Galaxy A series will get four years of updates, it's a given that the upcoming Galaxy A53 and A73 will be included in the list. I'll add these models to the post once we get more details.
Samsung tablets getting four Android version updates
Samsung's update guarantee isn't limited to phones; it is valid for the brand's latest tablet series as well, and extends to future devices:
- Galaxy Tab S8
- Galaxy Tab S8+
- Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra
- Upcoming Tab S tablets
Samsung smartwatches getting four Android version updates
Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4 series is also getting attention in this area, with the brand noting that it will deliver four One UI Watch and Wear OS updates to the following models:
- Galaxy Watch 4
- Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
- Upcoming Galaxy Watch smartwatches
With the move, Samsung is effectively throwing down the gauntlet for other brands. While Google provides five years of security updates to the Pixel 6 series, it only guarantees three Android platform updates. There really isn't any other Android brand that delivers four guaranteed version updates, and Samsung is virtually unchallenged in this area.
In addition to long-term updates, Samsung has also gotten better at delivering platform updates on time — the Note 20 and S20 series devices are getting the One UI 4 update based on Android 12. I wrote two years ago that Samsung needs to take charge of the dismal update situation on Android, and the brand is doing exactly that.
Bigger and better
The ultimate flagship
The Galaxy S22 Ultra combines the latest hardware with a gorgeous design that stands out from the rest of the Galaxy S22 series. Bug the bigger story here is that you get an integrated S Pen and the latest cameras along with 45W fast charging. With Android 12 out of the box and four guaranteed updates, this is the flagship to beat in 2022.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.