Samsung kickstarted its February 2021 patch rollout a bit early this time, with the European Galaxy S20 line being the first recipient. Now, these latest Android security updates are spreading to the US, starting with the unlocked Galaxy S20 models and the Note20 Ultra, and more recently followed by a couple of older and budget devices on AT&T and Verizon.
Samsung is working hard on letting users know that it's serious about providing software updates. Last year, the South Korean smartphone giant promised three major Android OS updates for its flagships, and it recently beat Google at its own game by guaranteeing four years of security updates for a bunch of its recent smartphones. Making it easier for consumers to know what to expect, Samsung just added a few devices to its security update schedule, some that haven't even been launched.
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 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 kicked off this month's security patch rollout last week with the budget Galaxy A50. Within days of that release, some of its recent S Pen-clad flagships are also being bumped to the latest Android security level. Alongside their international variants, the US Note20 and Note10 series have started getting the October update, starting with the unlocked models.
Until recently, the words "Samsung" and "timely updates" were never uttered in the same sentence, unless you were emphasizing the contradiction between them. The Korean behemoth had a reliable, albeit very leisurely update schedule, pushing Android users who valued prompt access to security patches and new features away. With Android 10, things changed drastically, and Samsung has been impressing us more and more, with both major OTA rollouts and monthly security patches. Whether it's due to a different strategy, new team or leadership, Android's Project Treble, or some magical potion, Samsung is quickly becoming the OEM to beat for Android updates and we can't help but applaud its recent efforts.
When the December security patches arrived yesterday excluding the 2016 Pixels once again, original Pixel owners no doubt wondered if they would have to wait until the end of the month to nab their update like they did in November. Thankfully, that's not the case this month as the factory images and OTAs have arrived just one day late for the first-generation Pixels.