Samsung just finished unveiling the Galaxy Note20 series, along with the Tab S7, Watch3, and a few other electronic gizmos. That's all par for the course in Unpacked, but Samsung also snuck in a surprise near the end of the stream. Because Samsung (apparently) supports using smartphones for longer, it now promises OS updates for up to "three device generations."
There's a little bit to unpack here, if you'll forgive the pun. It's odd that Samsung used device generations as a measure instead of time. We all understand what three years of updates means—Google offers three years of updates on Pixel phones. Three device generations, though? That could be something very different.
Perhaps more telling, the graphic that appeared on-screen when the presenter said this reads "up to three generations." So, don't expect three years of updates on a $150 A-series smartphone. Odds are Samsung's newfound commitment to updates only extends to flagship phones in the Galaxy S and Note series. Small text on the screen during Samsung's presentation supports such a conclusion, stating: "Availability of feature and security updates may vary by device and country. Update supported for flagship models from Galaxy S10 (Android 9) or later."
That should mean the Galaxy S10 and Note10 series, both of which launched with Android 9 Pie, will get updated all the way to Android 12, while the Galaxy S20 and Note20 series will make it to Android 13.
When reached for comment, a Samsung spokesperson confirmed the announcement made during the presentation, implying that the above interpretation is accurate.