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Galaxy S22’s Android update support might be the phone’s most exciting feature

Updated Feb 8th, 2022 7:42AM EST
Leak shows purported Galaxy S22 Ultra press render
Image: Twitter

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Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S22 series on Wednesday during the most important Unpacked press conference of the year. The Galaxy S22 launch event is special because Samsung is about to deliver a unique development. The Galaxy S22 Ultra will be the first Galaxy S phone to provide a complete Galaxy Note experience. Fans of the Note will be ecstatic to get a Note refresh. Galaxy S buyers, meanwhile, will have the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus to choose from. But built-in stylus or not, the Galaxy S22’s best feature might be something you didn’t expect: Commitment for four years of Android updates.

Why software updates are so important

One of the significant advantages the iPhone has over Android is that Apple offers software support for significantly longer than Google and Android vendors. The 2015 iPhone 6s runs the same iOS 15 that launched with the iPhone 13 last fall. Sure, iOS 15 has features that the iPhone 6s hardware can’t handle. But that phone will be seven years old this fall when Apple launches iOS 16.

Moreover, the iPhone 6s got its iOS 15 release on the same day every other compatible device received the same software version. That includes new features and new security updates.

Put differently, it makes more sense to buy an expensive iPhone rather than an Android flagship if you plan on using it for more than three years. The handset already ships with powerful hardware on year one and will run with ease subsequent iOS flavors.

No Pixel, Galaxy S, or other Android flagship can offer the same support. At best, you get three years of Android updates on Pixel and Galaxy devices and five years of security updates.

We had the same expectation for the Galaxy S22 phones when it comes to Android updates. After all, Samsung committed in summer 2020 to issue three years of updates to various Galaxy devices, not just the flagships. That was a great move from the Korean giant.

Samsung still can’t match Apple’s software upgrade rhythm when it comes to releasing timely Android updates. But Samsung isn’t in control like Apple. That said, Samsung is about to extend the period of guaranteed Android updates by one year.

Galaxy S22 dummy units next to a Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Galaxy S22 dummy units next to a Galaxy S21 Ultra. Image source: Unbox Therapy/YouTube

The Galaxy S22 Android update guarantee

Samsung will take the virtual stage of Unpacked on Wednesday to unveil the Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy Tab S8 devices. We might see additional 2022 mid-rangers during the show, like the highly anticipated Galaxy A53.

But we don’t have to wait another day to go through the Galaxy Tab S8 press release. The document leaked online more than a day early, revealing everything about the tablet in the process.

The press release notes that the “Galaxy Tab S8 series will be supported by up to four generations of Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates.” But it’s the footnote that offers even better news. The same four-year Android updates guarantee will be applied to additional devices.

Samsung lists the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus, and Galaxy S22 Ultra in the Android updates footnote. That means all 2022 flagships will get the same treatment. What’s also exciting is that Samsung promises four years of Android updates for the older Galaxy flagships. The Galaxy S21 handsets (S21 FE edition included), the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and the Flip 3 will receive four generations of Android updates.

If you were planning on splurging on a Galaxy S22 version this spring with the intent of keeping the phone for well over three years, this news should convince you to upgrade.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.