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.
Samsung has put a lot of effort into improving its software reputation, and a big aspect of that change has been a renewed focus on issuing regular security updates. Over the last couple years, Samsung has frequently managed to beat Google to the punch, and that continues even now as the Galaxy Note10, Z Fold2, and S21 have all received the April security patch, more recently followed by the Galaxy A52, S20 FE, and the S10 line.
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.
Verizon used to be among the slowest carriers to update their phones, but that may not be true anymore. Big Red became the first US carrier to send out the Android 11 update to the Galaxy Note10 mid-January, only a couple of weeks after it debuted on the Exynos-powered international Note10 models. And now, a month later, T-Mobile is jumping on the bandwagon and has started rolling out Android 11 to its Note10 and 10+ units.
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.
The Galaxy Note phones are some of Samsung's best devices, and just because the Galaxy Note10+ is from 2019 doesn't make it a bad option in 2020. Its specs can still compete with almost all of this year's flagships, and today only, Amazon is offering the device for just $799.99 — a $300 discount.
Samsung has been pretty quick to update their devices with the latest security patches in the past couple of years, and it looks like not much is going to change for the month of September. The company is continuing to update its lineup of phones from the past few years, starting with the Exynos Galaxy Note9.