Samsung has been killing it with updates recently, but there was a time when it was infamous for taking what felt like eternity to roll out major new Android OS updates for its devices. The company was also shy about letting customers beta test upcoming releases of Android and its custom experience skin, but even after addressing that void back in 2016, the speed with which public releases of these updates took place continued to frustrate die-hard fans.
All that has changed in the past couple of years. I think it was with Android Pie for the Galaxy S9 and S9+ that Samsung took its first big step at bringing new OS versions to its devices as quickly as it could. To be more precise, it was the first time we saw the company release a major update the same year it was announced by Google, with the Galaxy S9 and S9+ receiving the first stable Android Pie build in late December, 2019.
It still wasn’t perfect: That stable build was initially released to the two phones in less than a handful of markets, and it took a couple of weeks for the rollout to begin in earnest. But since then, Samsung has only gotten better and better at it. The Galaxy S10’s stable Android 10 update came in late November last year, and while it wasn’t as quick this year, Samsung has still managed to roll out the latest Android and One UI upgrade to the Galaxy S20 series at the beginning of December.
And that’s not all. This is also the first time we’re seeing the rollout of a major new update for a Galaxy device in multiple markets on the same day. Yesterday, Samsung announced that Android 11 and One UI 3.0 for the Galaxy S20 series is coming out in most of Europe, the US, and South Korea this week. More than a dozen countries have already received the update, and we can expect plenty more to join the party by the time the year comes to a close.
There’s still plenty of room to improve. Samsung could, for instance, start off its beta programs earlier than it currently does and, as a result, further speed things up as far as the public releases are concerned. It could also plan things ahead for devices like the Galaxy S20 FE. That phone is part of the Galaxy S20 family but was not included in the One UI 3.0 beta program, and it is not expected to get the update before late December. A concurrent rollout of Android 11 for the Galaxy Note 20 series would also have been nice to see.
Of course, for a manufacturer that sells as many devices as Samsung does, there are too many variables at play, so this may be the best it ever gets. But it probably isn’t, seeing how far we’ve come from the days when guessing the ETA on a new Android OS update from Samsung was akin to playing a game of Russian roulette.