Samsung is going to finally offer people who own its unlocked smartphones in the US something it promised it would do nearly 18 months ago. It will begin to roll out monthly security updates for those devices “soon”, like the unlocked Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.
You may remember that back in the summer of 2015, Google and its third-party smartphone partners were releasing patches to shut down the Stagefright exploit in Android. At the time, Samsung said it would launch a new program to push out Android security updates once a month so that it would be able to combat these issues faster.
However, while Samsung has released new general and security updates for its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge devices on carriers like Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, including the big Android 7.0 Nougat upgrade, the unlocked versions of those phones have yet to get those updates. Furthermore, the unlocked phones are currently using the December 2016 security patches for Android.
However, there is some good news on this front. ZDNet reports that, after being contacted by a reader, they have confirmed with Samsung that the company has finally “committed to releasing security updates for those devices on a monthly basis” with the March updates coming “soon”. Samsung said that its unlocked smartphones were previously only getting security updates on a quarterly basis in the US, due to unnamed “various circumstances” but it now said it has “resolved the challenges” that was keeping it from offering monthly updates to those phones.
Hopefully, that means owners of the unlocked Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will not only be getting Nougat soon, they will also be able to keep their phones updated with regular monthly security patches afterwards. However, Samsung’s response also raised a couple of other questions, chief among them being what “various circumstances” were keeping the company from offering monthly updates to those phones in the first place. It would seem logical to assume the unlocked devices would have been the first to get those updates, rather than the last.