x PhoneArena is hiring! Reviewer in the USA
  • Hidden picShow menu
  • Home
  • News
  • It took Samsung nearly 4 months and a half to update its flagship phone to the latest version of Android

It took Samsung nearly 4 months and a half to update its flagship phone to the latest version of Android

It took Samsung nearly 4 months and a half to update its flagship phone to the latest version of Android

It took Samsung exactly:

133 days,
or 19 weeks,
or 4 months and 10 days

In comparison, the Nexus 5, a phone from 2013 that is now discontinued, got updated on October 5th, 2015. Which is an eternity ago.

Nothing ever changes

And to understand the still-sad and gloomy state of Android updates, let me also mention that Samsung is actually one of the first Android phone makers to update its phones. Others like LG and HTC are still working on bringing Android 6 to their top devices.

And it just does not seem like this depressingly slow pace of Android updates is ever going to change. Year after year, it's the same story over and over again. "Something should be done," the critics nod their head in agreement. Then next year comes and nothing ever changes.

The only thing left to do is stare at this picture of a sad kitten and wonder at the depth of its emotions. This update thing... it's nod that bad, after all, right?

It took Samsung nearly 4 months and a half to update its flagship phone to the latest version of Android

  • Options

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 08:48 14

1. PeterK. (Posts: 314; Member since: 13 Nov 2013)


posted on 15 Feb 2016, 09:01 46

12. TyrionLannister (unregistered)

Such professionalism, I'm amazed. What meme are you planning for Sony rollout.

I'm sorry, but Sony and Samsung are taking the most logical steps. They are doing beta testing. Google added basically nothing in marshmallow; Touchwiz has much more change and new features on marshmallow. I'm pretty sure Sony will do the same.

I don't get what is it with flaunting latest android. OSes add basically 2-3 features, and even they are not that great. Now on tap is boring, doze is basically fixing the crap lollipop was and app permissions is nothing new. I'm excited about none of them and couldn't care less. Nexus fanboys can boast so much about it but skins in kitkat have way more features than stock will have on marshmallow.

So flaunt your android variant. As it's nothing more than a number. Lollipop was a mess and I would rather stay at kitkat than updating ever.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 09:35 18

41. PeterK. (Posts: 314; Member since: 13 Nov 2013)

Hey, everyone's got an opinion. This happens to be mine. You are free to disagree with it, I'm perfectly fine with that.

Don't know what memes will be around when Sony rolls out Marshmallow, we'll see.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 11:18 14

67. HighOnAndroidFTW (Posts: 185; Member since: 26 Apr 2015)

How about a meme for the fact it took your Apple iPhone 5 years to get widgets that android had back at launch practically?
Or maybe Samsung should just not treat stuff and break basic functions like phone app like apple does. Them push out 4 more updates in 2 months breaking more along the way and making the offer phones not even run. Lmao

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 12:42 2

78. Nopers (Posts: 469; Member since: 01 Jun 2015)

That's an awfully specific thing to pick out. iOS isn't exactly designed for widgets. I think a lot less people care about one missing feature than they do about updates 4 months later. When android offers a seamless experience (which marshmallow is close to doing) then I'll go back.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 11:21 2

68. MSi_GS70 (unregistered)

That kitty is cute best on PA :-)

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 12:10 4

75. TyrionLannister (unregistered)

I have no issue with you having an opinion. The issue is getting unprofessional. You are a writer for god's sake.

That being said that's my opinion.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 16:39 1

94. cheetah2k (Posts: 1746; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)

Lets do a "Shame Shame Shame" on apple for hiding emoticons from their user base. Lets do a "Shame Shame Shame" on apple for stealing IP from American universities and 3d touch tech from Immersion. Lets do a "Shame Shame Shame" on apple for being a patent troll

Yes we would all love to be on Marshmellow but seriously is it really necessary? There are some colossal issues with 6.0 and if I was an OEM I'd be carrying out extensive testing as well. I also wouldn't be surprised if Samsung have re-written Touchwiz code to make it even faster, seeing as this is the single most complained about issue with all of samsungs phones..

TBH there is nothing wrong with staying on 5.1.1 for a bit longer in my books. Thats my opinion though. There are far bigger more serious issues out there than bagging an OEM over not updating to the latest version of the OS

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 10:07 1

52. adecvat (Posts: 321; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)

BTW Samsung particular never install new Touchwiz with OS update for older phones.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 10:32 3

56. Awalker (Posts: 1689; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)

People tend to focus on Samsung when it comes to Android because they're the number one OEM.

And Samsung already has a lollipop version of Touchwiz so it shouldn't have taken them so long to integrate Marshmallow. As you said Google basically added nothing so it should have been easy port. They could have recycled most of the code from The Touchwiz version of Lollipop.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 20:14

107. Clars123 (Posts: 938; Member since: 16 Mar 2015)

except Samsung actually added quite a lot to TouchWIz from lollipop to Marshmallow particularly for the edge flagships..and one doesn't simply 'recycle' code and expect everything to run flawlessly

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 11:26 1

69. Furbal (unregistered)

minus security and huge feature updates (doze and permissions are about it from the past 2 years), version shouldn't matter

4.4.4 was the best OS recently stability wise. Since then is been hit or miss.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 17:33 1

98. keithtae (Posts: 542; Member since: 25 Mar 2015)

I want a phone that works well, not just running on latest software. Seriously, if I want something new, I'd buy a new phone, stop bitch in about not running the latest software or so. It's pointless.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 09:25 9

32. Nallaikumaran (banned) (Posts: 61; Member since: 14 Sep 2015)

They campaign against Samsung, Shame on Apple f**ker site PhoneArena...Misleading people. Shameful.. Dishonest media. Have you no shame? Not at all.. Y'all are a bunch of haters. They are jealous of Samsung. Because Samsung is only the brand that can f**k apple. They're Apple f**king fanboys. iSheepArena..

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 09:26 6

34. Nallaikumaran (banned) (Posts: 61; Member since: 14 Sep 2015)

Why Android Updates Are So Slow?

When Google releases a new version of the Android software, there are, essentially, three steps that must happen before the update will show up on your phone. First, the chip-makers must provide new "hooks," or code that allows the operating system to communicate with (and thus control) the hardware components. Because there are many different chipmakers within the Android ecosystem of devices, and each company has different chips that it makes, each one takes a different amount of time to develop. Typically, though, the chipmakers are able to deliver the new hooks within a month or two.

Then the software stack moves on to the manufacturers. Because each device is built with slightly different components, the new software must be custom-tailored for each phone or tablet. In other words, Samsung can't just apply its TouchWiz UI to Android OS and then push it to all of its devices. Plus, each wireless carrier has its own unique set of software requirements. That may include base-level functionality, and it may include carrier-specific apps. That's in addition to whatever customization the handset manufacturers are doing in terms of their third-party user interfaces. According to Samsung's Nick DiCarlo, it takes about six to eight weeks, on average, from when the company gets the OS update from Google to when it can deliver the finished version to the carrier. Small bug-fix updates will be much shorter. Bigger updates could be way longer.

The manufacturers' third-party UIs ("skins") get blamed more than anything for upgrade slowness, and it's easy to see why. After all, they are visually prominent and seem to be the only tangible difference from a Google Nexus phone, which typically launches with the latest Android version. But most of the work is actually fitting Google's new software to the hardware components. "It's not as simple as, if we didn't do customization, just downloading a ROM from Google. That wouldn't work," says HTC's Drew Bamford. "So, even if we did no customization, I'm not sure that the process would be much faster, to be honest."

So if not skins, what's the major delay? Don't look at the manufacturers.

The Big Hold-Up

Welcome to the wonderful world of carrier testing. The wireless carriers have to test not only every single new phone they plan to offer, but also every software update to every phone that they are already carrying. Simply put, they have to be certain that the phone will work on their network as advertized. How hard is that? Try mind-bogglingly.

"They've got limited resources, people, time, equipment," says Samsung's DiCarlo. "The test scopes for these, as the networks get more complex with CDMA, GSM, LTE, multiple bands, now getting into VoLTE next year, different regions of the network are made with different network providers, so they have to test in all the regions. So the network testing complexity is extraordinary."

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 09:27 4

36. Nallaikumaran (banned) (Posts: 61; Member since: 14 Sep 2015)

Each carrier has a validation team. They do everything from drop tests for the hardware to benchmark tests against usability metrics. They take software through automated experiences to see if there is a slowdown somewhere. When they finally give TA (Technical Acceptance) they want to be sure that they're maintaining their standards. "We try to do capacity planning," says T-Mobile's Jason Young. "We look ahead to the year and we are setting projected TA (or Technical Acceptance) dates for devices 6-12 months in advance. Then we work backward from there." When they anticipate many device updates coming near each other they ask, "What device is more important for us to bring to market?" This prioritization is a sticky subject. According to DiCarlo:

"If you are a carrier and you're running a lab and you're supporting 30 or 40 phones at a time—and from their view, they're supporting hundreds of phones. Two years of contracts over many years, right?— Do they want to spend time testing the new hotness that's coming out at the beginning of Q4, or an OS update for a phone from two years ago?"

The carriers, after all, are in the business of selling you new devices to keep you hooked into their services. For the devices already sold, it makes sense to focus on the most popular devices first in order to keep the most people happy with the least amount of effort. It's simple economics: they get more bang for their buck that way. So how long does this take?

"I can tell you that when we release a new product to carriers, we can have it running in our labs for six months before it's released by the carrier," says HTC's Bamford. "It can take a long time." T-Mobile's Young confirmed that it is typically three to six months from the time they get the new software until it goes live. Simple addition, then, will tell you that it may be as much as nine months for that new software to make it to your device, and that's only if the manufacturers and carriers agree that it's worth devoting the time and resources to update it at all.

The Boogeyman

A lot of Android conspiracy theorists have come to the conclusion that manufacturers and/or carriers deliberately delay software upgrades to older devices in order to sell new ones. Of course, not a single person we spoke to would admit to that, despite our prodding. But what's actually happening isn't quite so cut and dried.

Why Android Updates Are So Slow

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 09:28 1

38. Nallaikumaran (banned) (Posts: 61; Member since: 14 Sep 2015)

Again, it's all about prioritizing resources. Manufacturers have only so many employees, and they have to decide how best to use them. If setting them to work on applying a new update to older hardware makes them look good, they'll do it, but of course priority is given to new devices—the devices which are just about to launch, or which have recently launched and on which advertizing dollars are still being spent. And because network testing is so exhaustive, of course the carriers must prioritize, too, but different carriers will prioritize in different ways, depending on their current device lineup and what they have coming down the pipe.

According to Motorola's Punit Soni: "Some carriers say, ‘This update is really important to us, so as soon as you get it to us we're going to put it into the lab and devote all our resources to it'. Other say, ‘This is actually third or fourth in our queue, so we're going to have to wait a little bit until we can put it through our labs.'"

Via - gizmodo(2013)

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 06:04

114. JumpinJackROMFlash (Posts: 461; Member since: 10 Dec 2014)

So how come iOS doesn't have this lengthy carrier validation? It's all a matter of will. I'm certain you could update 90%+ of the OS without it having any effect on the connectivity and that should be done OTA by Google like Apple does.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 11:14 2

64. medicci37 (Posts: 1335; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)

All that being said, updates on Android are way to slow

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 17:56

99. S.R.K. (banned) (Posts: 678; Member since: 11 Feb 2016)

Great informed post.+1

posted on 16 Feb 2016, 00:12

113. greyarea (Posts: 263; Member since: 14 Aug 2015)

If only you were remotely impartial to take this information from. But you clearly have no interest in that.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 11:11 3

63. MSi_GS70 (unregistered)

PA why someone would update somethig, when everything is perfectly running..??
Seems to PA got it fixed and been possessed by marketing updates from apple.. Aah you are really pathetic..
You have no idea that in the past there were NO any updates. Not so often. And update released only because there was seroous problem..
Why u need updating when something works as it should?
It is all driven by stupid naive end user ppl (especially iphone users ppl) they think that when an update releases everything will be fixed and better.. Pleeese
PA looks like iphone has many many issues and faults so you have updates every month..
So why there are so many on ipho e why is STILL and never fixed? Then iphone will run on never ending faults?
Looks like you using rubbish phone :-D:-D:-D

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 14:48

89. Awalker (Posts: 1689; Member since: 15 Aug 2013)

Why doesn't Samsung make that case then - everything is perfect so we're not updating to newer versions of Android?

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 16:23

92. MSi_GS70 (unregistered)

It is like forcing forced .. bcos it is only naive ppl would be questioning ; ''whyy samsuung haas noo updaatess it is craaap theen , am noot buuying iit .. unfortunately .. The much much bigger mass of whining ppl are young ppl.
It is now the rule .. ''show must go on''
In reality you have nothing new in marshmallow /iOS 9 .. only the look and then different label.. if you would look at programing script the whole map it is same compare to lollipop or kitkat ..very minor .. changes..
Just look it back or go back you ar with MM .. did solve issues ?
No it didn't .. there is no way solve issues with current HW ..
You just cannot make the magic .. and make that one year HW with software better.. there are limitations.. And yet every 6 months new smartphones are out.. and with them new software..
All those little updates for phones until new phones releases means or solves nothing.. They do it just bcos naive boys would be angry at them like PA teenagers boys..
Quote ; where are the upddaateees no updates so phone is craaap theen.. am haaaving the iiiphooneee ..
This is just like 5 year old infant with the toys..

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 11:15 4

65. Kumar123 (unregistered)

Brilliant. I want to see this kind of brave and honest attitude when you review S7 and S7 edge. You people always overrate Samsung phone. Looking forward to those reviews.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 13:58

87. engineer-1701d (unregistered)

its not that bad if u think about samsung gets the 6.0 they work on integration test for bugs, i mean look at apple they release then 7 updates for bug repairs some really bad

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 17:10 1

96. Topcat488 (Posts: 1396; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)

At least Samsung doesn't turn their phones into a "brick" when you update. Plus Samsung has soooo many features in TW, that Marshmallow can first be perfected, #noerror53 here.

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 18:12

102. JGuinan007 (Posts: 692; Member since: 19 May 2011)

Preach on Brother!!! Preach ON!!!!!

posted on 15 Feb 2016, 21:17

109. simrob (Posts: 7; Member since: 06 Aug 2012)

should fact check better The Sprint HTC One M9 along with M8 has marshmallow.


posted on 15 Feb 2016, 23:01

111. Elfmonster (unregistered)

Obvious solution: Android must take a year off from letter updates to help brands code and catch up. The end.

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories