Samsung commits to monthly security updates for unlocked US smartphones

Detail / The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, Samsung’s most recent (non-exploding) flagship smartphones.
Ron Amadeo

According to a report from ZDNet, Samsung is at the last moment bringing monthly Android security updates to one of its most neglected flagship smartphone modifications: unlocked US devices. An e-mail from the company says it has “resolved the questions” with releasing monthly updates, and it is now “committed” to releasing updates every month for “unlocked Galaxy weapons” in the US.

Unlocked devices are usually safe bets as the best models for updates because they are unconfined from carrier interference. This means there is one less staggering block in the usual “Google ⇒ OEM ⇒ Carrier” software handoff. In Samsung’s receptacle, though, there are two major versions of the Galaxy S7 (and most other Samsung flagships): the “foreign” version with a Samsung Exynos SoC and the “US” version with a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC. For the “ecumenical” Exynos version, the conventional wisdom of “unlocked models get updates earliest” holds true.

In the US, Samsung is all-in on the carrier-driven business model. The gigantic majority of the Snapdragon models are sold through carriers, so the unlocked Snapdragon copies are the black sheep of the Samsung family. You usually can’t even buy an unlocked US Samsung crest at launch—for the Galaxy S7, you had to wait three months for a carrier-free version to fit available.

As a result, the unlocked Snapdragon Samsung phones are usually tuneful poorly supported. Until now, they haven’t been getting monthly confidence updates; users have been stuck with “quarterly” guarantee updates. They are also usually last to get major software updates. The hauler Galaxy S7s got Android 7.0 Nougat in February and March—Samsung’s in character six-month update time (and perpetually a version behind the latest form of Android, which now is 7.1)—but US unlocked devices still haven’t been updated.

Now at but, starting with the Galaxy S7, unlocked US Samsung flagships should get monthly certainty updates like all the other versions. It seems like you’ll still be up to date in line for updates, though—the US unlocked S7 is still waiting on Nougat.

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