Samsung only recently realized that longer software support for Galaxy phones has been one of the biggest demands of its fans. At long last, Samsung announced that it will offer three generations of Android updates to its flagships along with some mid-range devices. However, as long-time users of Galaxy smartwatches will know, the updated, er, update policy for Galaxy phones and tablets still doesn’t match what Samsung’s smartwatches have already been enjoying for a few years.
Where new features for Samsung’s smartphones and tablets stop coming in after two years on the market (at least until that new policy goes into effect), Galaxy and Gear smartwatches receive new features for far longer after they hit retail shelves. Case in point: Just five months ago, Samsung updated the Gear S3, a smartwatch launched in late 2016, with some features from the Galaxy Watch 2.
Samsung also tends to quickly bring features from its latest smartwatch to existing ones. For example, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 gained a slew of Galaxy Watch 3 features just a couple of weeks after the latter went on sale around the world. Samsung hasn’t said anything about those features coming to the Galaxy Watch Active or the Galaxy Watch, but if history is any guide, those older watches will be invited to the party eventually.
Now, while I love how Samsung’s smartwatch support has been so solid for the longest time, there is something that infuriates me about it: The time it takes for those smartwatch updates to make their way across the globe after the initial rollout.
The global rollout for these updates takes too long to complete
Samsung first announced that the Galaxy Watch Active 2 will be getting Galaxy Watch 3 features on September 10th, and the related update was pushed out in select markets soon after. But, in the US, that update didn’t start showing up for users until almost two weeks later, and for markets like India, the update only started rolling out today, almost three weeks after the initial announcement.
Software updates for Galaxy smartphones have always been staggered. And considering the carrier and country-specific customization on those phones, staggered rollouts do make sense. Not rolling out updates everywhere at once also helps make sure that any serious bugs that may have slipped through testing don’t create too much havoc. However, despite all the intricacies involved in the process, Samsung has done an increasingly good job in the last year or two at rolling out smartphone updates to a wide audience as quickly as possible.
The same doesn’t hold true for the company’s smartwatches, but I hope that changes soon and Samsung can find a way to speed things up. Despite not being an avid smartwatch user, I find myself getting annoyed by how long I have to wait before a new update — both major and minor — arrives for my watch, so I can only imagine how frustrating it must feel to those who actively use their smartwatches.
What about you? Do you think updates for your Galaxy/Gear smartwatch should come out sooner after they are announced, or are you fine with waiting however long it takes for them to arrive?