1. martin2345uk's Avatar
    So having an iPhone currently I’m used to getting a major software update every year, with smaller incremental ones throughout. Most current phones are supported.

    What’s the score with Android? If I got a recent Samsung phone... how often are major updates released? Are most phones supported? Is it manufacturer dependent..?

    Thanks!
    04-10-2020 12:51 PM
  2. hallux's Avatar
    It's manufacturer and, to some level, carrier dependent.

    I can speak to Pixel devices. Pixel devices get the major OS update in the Fall, then monthly security updates on the first Monday of the month. Sometimes those monthly updates include some feature drops.

    Samsung seems to be getting better with the monthly cadence, but it also depends on the device. As devices age, Samsung reduces the cadence (which is not the case with Pixel devices). Non-premium devices might also have the reduced cadence.
    martin2345uk likes this.
    04-10-2020 12:59 PM
  3. martin2345uk's Avatar
    Thanks!! Are the versions still named after puddings? Always tickled me that.
    04-10-2020 01:16 PM
  4. hallux's Avatar
    No, with Android 10 Google dropped the sweet treat theme.

    I should note - Samsung still lags on getting the major OS updates out. The most recent devices end up getting it first (generally 2-3 months after the OS is released), with the older devices getting it at some point in the future.
    04-10-2020 01:23 PM
  5. B. Diddy's Avatar
    JR Raphael is a good authority on this: https://www.computerworld.com/articl...port-card.html. There are a lot of different facets to this, so it's hard touch on everything briefly. Some key points that I think are important:

    1. Google's own Pixel phones are the best in terms of updates, which as hallux mentioned includes both major system upgrades and monthly security patches.

    2. OnePlus and Nokia are next best (Nokia due to the fact that all of its phones are Android One devices, which means they're essentially "stock" Android without any additional bells and whistles tacked on that often require more work to update).

    3. Samsung's pretty good, as long as you have one of their flagships (although they do a pretty good job with their midrangers as well). JR gives them a D+, but I'd give them a bit of a pass considering the sheer volume of phone models and variants they have, as well as the large amount of skinning (One UI) and extra features/bloat they put on their phones.

    4. All other major manufacturers are not worth considering if updates are important to you.

    5. System updates and security patches pushed over-the-air are not the end of the story, though. Over the years, Google has been adding channels to update components of the phone separate from those system updates. For example, Google Play Service updates (which continue well beyond a device's end of support life) can provide added features as well as certain security enhancements, and a number of Google system apps can now be updated directly through the Play Store (instead of having to wait for a system update). Also, Project Treble is another way Google has been trying to separate out certain system components that can be updated more easily.
    martin2345uk likes this.
    04-10-2020 01:25 PM
  6. hallux's Avatar
    One more thing to note - Google (and I think Samsung) are promising major OS updates for 2 years after device release, and monthly patches for 3 years. After that, the device may or may not get any patching.
    martin2345uk and B. Diddy like this.
    04-10-2020 01:28 PM
  7. B. Diddy's Avatar
    One more thing to note - Google (and I think Samsung) are promising major OS updates for 2 years after device release, and monthly patches for 3 years. After that, the device may or may not get any patching.
    It's actually 3 years for both major updates and monthly patches (for Pixels, anyway). https://support.google.com/pixelphon.../4457705?hl=en
    04-10-2020 02:08 PM
  8. mustang7757's Avatar
    One more thing to note - Google (and I think Samsung) are promising major OS updates for 2 years after device release, and monthly patches for 3 years. After that, the device may or may not get any patching.
    I was surprised the Samsung s7 received security patch for 4 years


    https://www.sammobile.com/news/samsu...-after-launch/
    04-10-2020 02:26 PM
  9. mito88's Avatar
    I have a question regarding samsung and carriers.

    Do carriers modify firmware to add their customized items?
    I know carriers control the update schedule and release dates, but firmware is still under samsung's control. Correct?
    08-14-2020 11:49 PM
  10. mustang7757's Avatar
    I have a question regarding samsung and carriers.

    Do carriers modify firmware to add their customized items?
    I know carriers control the update schedule and release dates, but firmware is still under samsung's control. Correct?
    Carriers control what gets put on the phone and deleted, they can also on unlocked but that's very limited to like a feature then say bloat
    mito88 likes this.
    08-14-2020 11:51 PM
  11. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Carriers can take away certain native features as well (usually because they want to push their own version of that feature).
    mito88 likes this.
    08-15-2020 12:03 AM
  12. L0n3N1nja's Avatar
    Carriers can take away certain native features as well (usually because they want to push their own version of that feature).
    Verizon removes Samsung Cloud and Samsungs native ability to text from one of their tablets because they offered the features before Samsung in their own apps. Just as a couple examples.
    B. Diddy, Laura Knotek and mito88 like this.
    08-15-2020 10:39 AM
  13. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Verizon removes Samsung Cloud and Samsungs native ability to text from one of their tablets because they offered the features before Samsung in their own apps. Just as a couple examples.
    Thanks -- I was actually thinking that you might be able to give some examples!
    mito88 likes this.
    08-15-2020 01:43 PM
  14. mito88's Avatar
    Carriers control what gets put on the phone and deleted, they can also on unlocked but that's very limited to like a feature then say bloat
    Carriers can take away certain native features as well (usually because they want to push their own version of that feature).

    I understand that carriers have their own custom firmware versions (bloatware). I wasn't sure about the firmware code modification and compilation. Do carriers do source code modification and compiling, or they submit all changes to samsung? Samsung does the modification, compilation, testing and finally handing over the firmware to the carriers respectively. Is that correct?

    I hope I was clear.
    08-16-2020 10:27 PM
  15. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Samsung does the modification, compilation, testing and finally handing over the firmware to the carriers respectively. Is that correct?
    I think this is correct, although Samsung and the carriers probably work together on these changes. Back in the day, HTC released this comprehensive infographic about how system updates happen: https://www.droid-life.com/2013/12/2...om-pdk-to-ota/. In those days, though, carrier variants could be drastically different, so I'm not sure if the process still works the same way these days.
    Laura Knotek and mito88 like this.
    08-16-2020 10:37 PM
  16. mustang7757's Avatar
    I understand that carriers have their own custom firmware versions (bloatware). I wasn't sure about the firmware code modification and compilation. Do carriers do source code modification and compiling, or they submit all changes to samsung? Samsung does the modification, compilation, testing and finally handing over the firmware to the carriers respectively. Is that correct?

    I hope I was clear.
    I believe Samsung hands them their version to Carrier and from there carrier modify it and send it out to the device.
    Laura Knotek, mito88 and ManiacJoe like this.
    08-16-2020 10:51 PM
  17. mito88's Avatar
    I believe Samsung hands them their version to Carrier and from there carrier modify it and send it out to the device.
    this is exactly what I'd like to seek clarification.

    Where is this process documented or acknowledged by Samsung?

    while carriers specify firmware modifications andschedule release dates, Samsung does not relinquish the operational aspects of the process.
    For example, samsung tests and compiles the final version and distributes it to samsung devices or uploads it to carriers server for distribution.
    07-24-2021 10:13 AM
  18. hallux's Avatar
    @mito88 this is 8 years old but might help shed some light on the topic. I'm sure it's probably changed some since this was released.
    https://www.droid-life.com/2013/12/2...dk-to-ota/amp/
    mito88 likes this.
    07-24-2021 10:27 AM
  19. mustang7757's Avatar
    this is exactly what I'd like to seek clarification.

    Where is this process documented or acknowledged by Samsung?

    while carriers specify firmware modifications andschedule release dates, Samsung does not relinquish the operational aspects of the process.
    For example, samsung tests and compiles the final version and distributes it to samsung devices or uploads it to carriers server for distribution.
    That process you never get clear clarification, it varies from Samsung unlocked phones ,US version, international version ,carriers sometimes carrier get it before unlocked and other times unlocked get it before them and you still have which carriers on unlock will roll it out . One thing Samsung unlocked stay on same build number regardless carrier but carrier version don't .
    mito88 likes this.
    07-24-2021 10:47 AM
  20. smvim's Avatar
    Just to add to this dated thread -- Google releases monthly security patches but there's a much more complicated and inconsistent path those patches need to go through before they 'might' be released to Android device users -- basically it's a matter where Google releases security patches on a monthly basis, then the phone manufacturers review and curate them, then the carriers do the same, and then only if we're lucky we might have them pushed out to our Android devices. So there there is no brief explanation, there are too many players involved in the process and too many variables.
    This is a nice summary on the what happens before we 'might' see an OTA patch get to our device:
    https://www.xda-developers.com/how-a...-updates-work/
    The Android platform is a very different one compared to Apple. With Android, there's the base Android operating system and there's a countless number of different manufacturers who use it on a wide range of different hardware configurations. With Apple, it maintains tight control over both the operating system development and the hardware manufacturing process. So the former is a matter of an OS that runs on varying hardware, while the latter is a matter where the OS is optimized to run on specific hardware. Android is more open but less structured, Apple is more proprietary but more curated -- two different business models that essentially result in the same thing -- any typical smartphone has the same general appearance with a touch screen and we tap on icons to do stuff.
    B. Diddy likes this.
    07-24-2021 11:22 AM
  21. mito88's Avatar
    @mito88 this is 8 years old but might help shed some light on the topic. I'm sure it's probably changed some since this was released.
    https://www.droid-life.com/2013/12/2...dk-to-ota/amp/
    thanks!

    this is what I was looking for.


    Attachment 335503


    I believe samsung does tne same.


    my point is, no matter what modifications the carriers so easily impose, samsung never relinquishes control of the firmware.
    Attached Thumbnails Can someone briefly explain how Android software updates work?-smartselect_20210725-144127_solid-explorer.jpg  
    07-25-2021 01:47 PM
  22. mito88's Avatar
    Just to add to this dated thread -- Google releases monthly security patches but there's a much more complicated and inconsistent path those patches need to go through before they 'might' be released to Android device users -- basically it's a matter where Google releases security patches on a monthly basis, then the phone manufacturers review and curate them, then the carriers do the same, and then only if we're lucky we might have them pushed out to our Android devices. So there there is no brief explanation, there are too many players involved in the process and too many variables.
    This is a nice summary on the what happens before we 'might' see an OTA patch get to our device:
    https://www.xda-developers.com/how-a...-updates-work/
    The Android platform is a very different one compared to Apple. With Android, there's the base Android operating system and there's a countless number of different manufacturers who use it on a wide range of different hardware configurations. With Apple, it maintains tight control over both the operating system development and the hardware manufacturing process. So the former is a matter of an OS that runs on varying hardware, while the latter is a matter where the OS is optimized to run on specific hardware. Android is more open but less structured, Apple is more proprietary but more curated -- two different business models that essentially result in the same thing -- any typical smartphone has the same general appearance with a touch screen and we tap on icons to do stuff.
    thank you for the reply.

    the reason for my query is to gather enough info to have Samsung support refrain from dodging requests involving carrier features. They are notorious for this. They would have us believe they cannot troubleshoot something Samsung did not create. So they simply refer to the carriers, ignoring the issue being reported. That's misleading.

    Samsung should provide 1st tier support to any feature available in their products and escalate if necessary. Brushing aside legitimate support requests tarnishes Samsung's reputation.
    07-25-2021 02:38 PM
  23. mustang7757's Avatar
    thank you for the reply.

    the reason for my query is to gather enough info to have Samsung support refrain from dodging requests involving carrier features. They are notorious for this. They would have us believe they cannot troubleshoot something Samsung did not create. So they simply refer to the carriers, ignoring the issue being reported. That's misleading.

    Samsung should provide 1st tier support to any feature available in their products and escalate if necessary. Brushing aside legitimate support requests tarnishes Samsung's reputation.
    Start a petition
    mito88 likes this.
    07-25-2021 07:02 PM
  24. smvim's Avatar
    There is a very gradual process in place where Google is taking control updates and upgrades to the base Android operating system, leaving the manufacturers to focus on firmware that's relative to their hardware and carriers adding their branding fluff and bloat to devices they sell. With all our phones, there's a base OS running underneath, the software that directly interacts with the hardware, and then there's the user interface that runs on top of that, the part that we all interact with. As Google takes back control of updating just the OS itself, that should result in a much, much more consistent delivery of updates to our phones, a problem that has hampered the Android platform for years.
    So each new Android version release enables this increasing separation but the issue is there are a massive number of Android devices that are running older versions of Android and will never be upgraded/updated. Plus there are a lot of existing contractual agreements in place between Google, the manufacturers, and the carriers so the process isn't just a matter of one party wanting to do what it wants or needs to.
    07-26-2021 12:25 PM

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