The Galaxy S21 series debuted with One UI 3.1, an updated version of Samsung's software skin that contained several new features, such as Google Home controls in the notification panel. Shortly after the S21 started to ship, Samsung began to update older devices with One 3.1.
We've clearly got a little bias on the subject, but Android has a long and storied history filled with its own triumphs and pitfalls. It's been well over a decade now since that first HTC G1 landed, the inaugural Android smartphone, and things have changed drastically since then. Being "first" might make you think the G1 was the most influential Android phone — but was it, really?
It was only last week that Samsung started pushing out Android 11 to the Galaxy Z Fold 2. However, early adopters of the first foldable phone from the South Korean giant will be pleasantly surprised as they're also getting the One UI 3.0, and it's coming earlier than expected.
Samsung's software strategy has improved significantly over the past few years, turning the company from one of the worst OEMs for updates to one of the best. Last year, Samsung announced most of its devices would get three years of Android OS updates, and now it has updated its list of supported devices with a few additions and removals.
Samsung has been on fire with updates over the last couple of years. That continues into 2021 with the release of the January patch for several international Galaxy devices, including the S20, Galaxy Fold, and more.
A bunch of Galaxy phone users got a bit of a head start on the December 2020 security patch when Samsung released the update two weeks ahead of schedule. While that update was meant for some international beta users testing out One UI 3.0, Samsung kick-started the stable rollout of the latest patch in the US at the beginning of the month. The first device to get bumped to the December 2020 level was Verizon’s Galaxy S20 FE, most recently followed by the Tab S6, Tab S4, and the S8 Active.
The biggest question when it comes to folding devices is long-term durability. If and when things do go wrong, Samsung's customer support isn't quite as "premium" as the company claims. But adding fuel to that fire are a few new reports claiming screens are cracking due to cold weather.
The November security patch is slowly coming to more carrier-locked Samsung phones while handsets around the world have already started getting the update in October. This time around, the Verizon Galaxy Note20 series and the AT&T Galaxy Fold were the first carrier-locked devices in line to receive the patch, most recently followed by the Verizon Galaxy Z Fold2.
Samsung released the Galaxy Z Fold2 a while back, packed with a slew of features that make it significantly better than the company's first attempt at a foldable phone. But the company hasn't forgotten about the first-gen Fold just yet. It's inheriting a few Z Fold2 capabilities via a firmware update that's now starting to roll out in the US.
Samsung got incredibly fast when it comes to security patches, often beating even Google to the punch. The story is different for carrier-issued updates, but compared to prior years, they've gotten quicker, too. As such, AT&T has started pushing the update to the S20 series and the Note9 while the Verizon S9 and S9+ are in for the patches.