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Samsung is finally moving to monthly updates for unlocked Galaxy phones

All Samsung phones are not created equally, and as such, each has its own update schedule. Each carrier sells its own model that is updated on its own terms, but you can also buy unlocked versions that get updates straight from the company. You’d think the latter phones are prioritized for Android updates, that’s not the case. But it looks like that’s about to change.

While every major carrier has pushed its own Nougat update for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge over the past couple months, unlocked versions of the phone are still waiting for it. In fact, they’re still waiting for a post-December security update, a symptom of the company’s unfortunate decision to push quarterly updates rather than monthly ones.

According to an email obtained by ZDNet, Samsung will be moving to a monthly schedule for software updates, meaning unlocked phones should get regular Android security updates in a timely manner. In a reply to an update query from Samsung Mobile Security Technologies, the company admitted to a less-than-ideal schedule and resolved to fix it: “Due to various circumstances, we have been releasing security updates for unlocked (open) Galaxy devices in the U.S. on a quarterly basis,” the message stated. “However, we have now resolved the challenges; and we are committed to releasing security updates for those devices on a monthly basis.”

That means unlocked Galaxy phones won’t be regarded as second-class citizens anymore and should receive updates at least as fast (and perhaps even faster) than the carrier-locked ones. Samsung didn’t announce a time frame for the switch, but said the March Android update (which hopefully will include the Nougat one as well) is coming “soon.”

Achievement unlocked: If you own an unlocked Galaxy phone, you know full well how frustrating it is to be at the back of the line for updates. And it’s not just about getting to play around with the coolest new features in Nougat. Google pushes out important monthly security updates that unlocked Galaxy phone users often missed, and it’s great to see that that won’t be the case anymore, especially for those of use who have our eyes on a brand new unlocked S8.

IDG Insider

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