Every month Samsung gets a head start on security patches by letting one or two slip out in the days before we actually flip over the calendar — just as it did about a week or so back, further cementing its position as the king of updates. After grabbing that early lead, Samsung's continuing to release its August patch for more and more Galaxy smartphones internationally.
Samsung has been trying to improve its image in software lately, especially when it comes to security updates for Android devices. What better way than to release an update several days early? That's the case with the May security update, which is already rolling out to several devices, with new features coming to select flagships.
Samsung releases a lot of devices, which means it also issues a lot of security updates. While Google has a standard 3-year policy for Pixel devices, Samsung keeps a running list of when specific devices will receive security patches, and for how long. Now it looks like the company has made a few updates, including adding new devices to the list and dropping one older model entirely.
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.
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.
If you happen to be in the somewhat curious position where bundling all your TV, internet, and phone services with one company aligns with your best interests, you may have considered joining Xfinity Mobile at some point to complement your other Comcast services. But up until now, if you wanted to bring an Android phone over to use, there was no way to do so except to trade in and buy one from the carrier. Today, the MVNO has finally expanded its BYOD program to include several major Galaxy phones though there are three massively disappointing omissions to the list.
Samsung's long-awaited Android 9 Pie update finally started coming to phones late last year, complete with a rather sweeping interface overhaul in One UI (maybe we'll have to stop calling it TouchWiz now). The roadmap for bringing Pie to other phones tells us that the Galaxy Note8 will be getting it in February, and sure enough, the beta is now available to try.
The way that smartphones send and receive messages is changing, and the name of the game is now RCS: Rich Communication Services. Little by little, manufacturers and carriers are getting their handsets ready for this next-gen protocol, so we're always interested in seeing when some new hardware comes on board. Last year T-Mobile brought compatibility to a number of Samsung devices, and it's continuing to do so now with RCS Universal Profile support coming to the Galaxy Note8 and Galaxy Note9.
If you own a Samsung Galaxy Note8, you may soon have a bit less envy for those who bought the latest-and-greatest Note9. A recent update for last year's Note device brings AR Emoji and Super Slow-Mo video capabilities to the camera, along with the September security patch. It's worth noting that as of now, this update seems to have rolled out to only some Note8 phones running on the Exynos 8895 chipset.
When you're following tech deals, you never quite know what you're going to get. Some weeks it feels like all you're seeing for sale are smart-home devices, or sometimes it's Bluetooth speaker after Bluetooth speaker. And while we really appreciate all those offers, they just can't quite compete with the allure of saving serious money on really big-ticket items — and in this scene, that means discounts on smartphones themselves. If that's what you're craving, we're happy to deliver, as this past week has been straight-up inundated with deals on some of the biggest smartphones around.