- Samsung last month unveiled the Galaxy Fold, a foldable smartphone that starts at $US1,980.
- Buying the Galaxy Fold at launch carries a lot of risks, but the biggest issue is that Samsung phones still get Android updates months after they’re released.
The Galaxy Fold is a gorgeous, innovative smartphone. But at the end of the day, you’re still paying $US2,000 for an Android phone that gets software updates months after they have been released.
The last major Android update, Android 9.0 “Pie,” rolled out in August 2018. Google’s Pixel phones, and even the Essential Phone, got the software update almost immediately.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Note 9 phones just got Android Pie in February – six months after the software became available.
This was the case with the last major Android release as well. Google rolled out Android 8.0 “Oreo” in August 2017, but Samsung’s phones didn’t get the software until March 2018 – seven months after the fact.
Compare that to Apple’s software updates: iOS 12, the last major software update, was made available to every iPhone simultaneously, dating back to the iPhone 5S from 2013. Apple also releases routine bug fixes and smaller software iterations throughout the year, and iPhone owners get those updates the day they’re released.
Google is trying to make it easier for Android phone makers like Samsung to roll out more timely software updates.
Project Treble, which started shipping with Android 8.0 “Oreo,” is designed to streamline updates so phone makers don’t have to rely on chipmakers before rolling out every single update, which used to be the case. And according to Google, Project Treble is working, and it will continue to get better since all devices with Android 9.0 “Pie” will be “Treble-compliant.”
Still, we’re likely years away from seeing Samsung phones getting Android updates within days or even weeks of their initial release, in the same way that Google’s Pixel phones get Android updates as soon as they’re available.
This might be a hard pill to swallow for anyone considering the Galaxy Fold.
While it’s a unique hardware design, at the end of the day, the phone-tablet hybrid is still totally reliant on software to be functional and up-to-date. And when Google inevitably announces the next major version of Android, it will disappoint many Galaxy Fold owners to know that their phones won’t be getting new features for several more months.
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