All Samsung flagships up to the S6 have had support for three years. In these three years you could expect two major OS upgrades and monthly security updates. After those three years, it’s over. Your phone will no longer get security updates from Samsung.
But with the S7 and S7 edge, Samsung gave us all a surprise and after the standard three years support was up, they didn’t stop updating the S7 completely. Instead, they moved the S7 and S7 edge onto a quarterly schedule, meaning they get updates every three months.
This was last year. The S20 series was released recently, meaning the S7 is now 4 generations behind the latest. But it is still on the update scope for quarterly updates. Why?
It’s possible Samsung have decided to give the S7 duo security updates for longer because the S7 duo was massively popular. In the year of the S7, later on the doomed Galaxy Note7 was released, which was recalled for explosions, therefore making the S7 become the preferred Samsung flagship option again. Or maybe Samsung have decided to give their flagships four years of support, consisting of two major OS upgrades, three years of monthly updates, and an extra year of quarterly updates.
It is also possible Samsung are giving phone owners four years because people are still buying older flagships, mainly on contract because of the deals they can get for them. The S7 was still a popular option for a phone even in 2018 and if Samsung ended support for it in 2019 when it was still being sold by carriers months before I can imagine a lot of users would be dissatisfied.
How long will the extra support last for? Chances are Samsung will be forced to stop the support after Google ends support for the S7’s maximum OS version, Android 8.0, as then patches for the OS would no longer be provided. Since Android 7.0 support ended early last year, I can imagine Android 8.0 support won’t be around for much longer either. However, it is possible, if Samsung wants to stretch and go five years, that they could write their own patches for Android 8.0 Oreo.
What about the S8? There is no confirmation if the S8 will get the same treatment as the S7 or whether Samsung will be merciless and stop updating the S8 completely when the S20 is released. I imagine the S8 would receive the same treatment as the S7. It may not seem like much, but this new treatment for flagships could indicate Samsung may be planning to release three major OS upgrades to flagships in the future.