Samsung's biggest step forward this year is almost going unnoticed

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Samsung's biggest step forward this year is almost going unnoticed
We're probably only a couple of months away from Samsung's announcement of its "next big thing", so naturally, all everyone seems to be talking and thinking about is the Galaxy S11 family... since shortly after the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ were unveiled. The somewhat unusual but understandably exciting Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite are also right around the corner, making plenty of headlines and further stealing the thunder from what might actually be the company's greatest achievement in a long time.

For once, I'm not talking about some groundbreaking new piece of hardware or yet another radical redesign of Samsung's flagship lineup, even though I'm obviously as excited as the next guy to see the world's largest smartphone manufacturer move another step closer to killing the bezel and vastly enhancing the battery capacity of its high-end devices (Lite models included).

Instead, the most remarkable thing Samsung is gearing up for is an incredibly fast Android 10 update for an impressively large number of high-end and even mid-range devices. While promises often don't hold a lot of value when it comes to this stuff, Samsung was amazingly capable of bringing the latest OS version (in its stable form) to the entire Galaxy S10 family earlier than initially scheduled and promised. But before talking about the present and the near future, let's take a quick look back at how the company handled similar rollouts in previous years.

A messy history of laggy updates

Although I'm fully aware there were companies (I'm looking at you, LG) that did a far worse job than Samsung spreading the official Pie love to their Oreo-running phones in late 2018 and early 2019... and mid-2019 and even late 2019, I also think we need to hold a market leader to much higher standards than the likes of LG, Motorola, or HTC when it comes to basic software support and major updates.

While it was certainly nice to see a public Android Pie beta program open its doors to owners of Note 8, S8, and S8+ devices in addition to the S9, S9+, and Note 9, the first stable rollout for a US carrier-specific Samsung phone only began in late January 2019. Obviously, Samsung has no say over Verizon or AT&T's optimization process of a major software update, but as proven earlier this week, US wireless service providers can go fast when smartphone manufacturers are quick to stabilize their "stock" OS makeovers.

The saddest part about Samsung's Android Pie development efforts and wide-scale rollouts is that they actually felt like a substantial improvement at the time over 2018's complete Oreo fiasco. The previous OS version barely made its way to the first US carrier-locked Galaxy S8 and S8+ variants in mid-March after an international update that had to be halted due to catastrophic bugs following an early February kickoff.

Clearly, the switch from TouchWiz to One UI was beneficial, and the second version of Samsung's newest Android skin goes light enough on big changes to show us how an update schedule of an industry trailblazer should really look.

Nokia's crown is in danger

In both our subjective analysis and an in-depth report published by market research firm Counterpoint a few months ago, Nokia prevailed over all other Android smartphone brands in terms of Pie delivery speed. But exclusive Nokia brand licensee HMD Global seems to be needing a little more time than last year to bring its best products up to date. So far, only the Nokia 8.1, 9 PureView, and 7.1 have made the jump to Android 10, while Samsung has at least started to roll out the latest goodie pack in select global markets to the Galaxy S10, S10+, S10e, Note 10, Note 10+, and surprise, surprise, even the mid-range Galaxy M20 and M30.

Unfortunately, the two non-flagship devices on that list are not officially available in the US, but the Galaxy A50 is and we now have reason to believe that budget-friendly bad boy will join the Android 10 club in the not-so-distant future. Of course, the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus have to follow the S10 family's suit first across the nation's big four networks, which could happen any day now.


Speaking of the Note 10 lineup, it's also worth remembering the 5G-enabled variant of the plus-sized S Pen flagship made its debut running Android 10 on both T-Mobile and AT&T, which is yet another Samsung feat that largely went unnoticed. That's probably because we've grown so accustomed to considering Android updates as this unsolvable, irredeemable, and hopeless mess that we're no longer paying attention to the big and small steps certain companies sometimes take to stop history from repeating itself over and over again.

But what's perhaps most impressive about Samsung's little-lauded recent achievements is that speed doesn't appear to have come at the expense of stability. While some companies (cough, OnePlus, cough) often rush half-baked updates out the door to claim bragging rights... only to then halt the rollouts and fix the bugs they should have spent more time searching in the first place, we have yet to hear reports of major issues with the Android 10-based One UI system on any upgraded S10-series, Note 10, or even M-series devices. Now that's what I call stellar software support worthy of the world's number one smartphone vendor!



1. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1382; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Samsung has substantially improve in this area and that is a good thing but I give credit to Google as well for starting the decoupling of Android features that can be upgrade from the play store rather than waiting for either the OEM or Carrier. Great on both parties for finally improving the situation.

2. Locked-n-Loaded

Posts: 114; Member since: Sep 13, 2019

The reason it goes unnoticed is because it's just the same stuff over and over and over again with them nothing ever really changes. It's just innuendo of what "could" come which always ends in iterations and variation of the same thing so it's hard to want to pay attention to what they're doing when the other companies are truly evolving their phones in ways that are useful to the customer not in ways that allow Samsung to just brag about their technology which doesn't really benefit the end-user

3. Xavier1415

Posts: 234; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

Just a heads up android 10 is downloading on my Note 10 plus 5g from verizon as we speak!!!

4. legar123

Posts: 72; Member since: Mar 26, 2019

While they have improved , they are still currently lagging behind other OEMs... This shows the mess Samsung was in previously when it comes to Android version upgrades..

5. Cicero

Posts: 1159; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Please can you say that premium phones on Android 10?

6. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 782; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

And there a lot of other OEMs that lag behind them as well, so I don't really understand your point.

7. Omarc07

Posts: 590; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

Finally downloading on my Verizon note 10 plus this morning it became available!!

8. peschiera

Posts: 66; Member since: Sep 17, 2017

Adrian, it is completely irrelevant which OS Android version Samsung releases. Samsung releases at least one major version of its own Android version every year and its own version is always years ahead of the stock Android version. This means as Samsung user you are automatically always ahead. I don't understand why such a site still repeats this misleading narrative, Samsung would be late!

12. AustinPaul

Posts: 159; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

Totally agree on this. I've been on the vanilla side and but for a few exceptions, it feels like black and white vs color. I'm glad I stuck with Samsung because it just wins overall for me.

9. Omarc07

Posts: 590; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

My battery tanked after this update ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! My battery was perfect would last all day now its terrible. I'm not even thru half of the day and its already 30 percent. ......

11. ph00ny

Posts: 2079; Member since: May 26, 2011

Try resetting cache and that might help. It's usually apps that may have not "optimized" properly to the new version

10. Minademenko

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 20, 2019

Just got my update now note 10+ Dubai version

13. AustinPaul

Posts: 159; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

Got my update. T-Mo, Texas, s10. No issues, nice subtle upgrades. Only thing I've noticed is the Galaxy Good Lock app Task Changer no longer works. No biggie, but a cool app nonetheless.

14. adeelzsoomro

Posts: 37; Member since: Jan 07, 2019

Got an android 10 on 11th December and it's a sweet surprise to update the latest version of OS before the end of 2019 Good job Samsung

15. maestrotelefono

Posts: 15; Member since: Sep 30, 2019

If you need the latest and greatest OS, then go to.... Bingo! Google Pixel phones. There is huge net present value of continuously receiving lastest upgrades a security patches coming to Pixel phones. Of course, the Pixel 4XL (owned by me) doesn't have wide angel camera, and the battery is giving only 6+ hours of SoT, so forget it. Buy Samsung, much cheaper... Oh no, that's not true.... Never mind, when Android 10 will work fine on Samsung phones, Android 11 will come out

18. peschiera

Posts: 66; Member since: Sep 17, 2017

"when Android 10 will work fine on Samsung phones, Android 11 will come out" No, when Android 10 work fine on Samsung phones, you would already have those features which Pixel users would have to wait until Android 14 for.

16. redmd

Posts: 1964; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I am not in a rush for updates. I preferred bug-free updates. Better late than never though.

19. LFCRodrigues

Posts: 65; Member since: May 09, 2014

For me, the biggest thing about Oneui 2.0 is how fluid/Smooth It is. Samsung's software was always lacking behing in fluidity/smootheness but now I Pretty happy with It. And I notice that because I had the Pixel 3. Why people are not talking about that?

20. Demeaiko

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 22, 2019

My note 10 plus 5g (Verizon) updated to one ui 2.0! I actually love and appreciate this update. It feels smoother idk if it's due to the animations, battery life seems the same which is good in my opinion.

21. Koltt27

Posts: 12; Member since: Mar 23, 2018

Good job, Samsung

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