Samsung has just sent an update to its Galaxy S6. Yes, yes, you read that right. The Korean manufacturer has implemented a new version of its OS on a phone that is almost 7 years old. And unfortunately it is unique.
Still using a Galaxy S6? Then it’s time to update your phone. Bizarre as it may seem, Samsung has actually rolled out an update to its smartphone, which, let’s remember, is now 7 years old and technically abandoned by the manufacturer for many years.
As noted by the SamMobile site, the Korean company has taken its old phone out of the closet to implement a fix for the GPS. And the Galaxy S6 isn’t the only phone Samsung has pulled out of formalin. The Galaxy S7, S8 and even more obscure models like the S5 Neo or Galaxy Alpha have also recently had the same patch.
An unexpected update
The update seems strangely out of the blue, as most of these phones are well past their expiration date and haven’t benefited from Samsung’s software tracking for years now. Stranger, this GPS patch doesn’t even seem to have the latest Android security patches on board. As a result, these old mobiles remain stuck on a version of Android that is now largely obsolete. Deploying such efforts for a simple GPS problem seems odd, unless Samsung took the opportunity to discreetly throw in a fix for a serious bug that would require updating the few hundred million old handsets still in circulation.
Let’s be clear, it’s good news to see Samsung caring about its old phones, even if it’s just a GPS fix. But this unexpected update also highlights the sad state the Android phone market is in today. Software updates for these phones released between 2015 and 2016 have long been discontinued, forcing most owners to switch models. Still, tracking for more than 5 years is not impossible, Apple and Fairphone have proven that.
Software monitoring that amazes you
It is clear that Samsung is not playing on the same level. The manufacturer releases dozens of phone models a year, and keeping track of such material diversity is a real challenge. But this surprise update from mid-2022 proves that the know-how is there and that if Samsung puts the funds into it, the company would be able to provide software monitoring for its much more ambitious mobile fleet. Claiming such follow-up is not a whim on top of it, some manufacturers manage to do it, and phones that have been updated for longer are better secure, more durable phones, and therefore ultimately, more organic. Seeing that Samsung didn’t even take advantage of this unexpected update to at least roll out the latest security patches to its older phones is disappointing. It could have given them a new life instead of leaving them to viruses and the like. malware passing by.
Let’s be fair though, the Samsung of today doesn’t necessarily look like it did yesterday. The manufacturer now provides between 4 and 5 years of software monitoring for its latest devices. Which is better than many, many other Android manufacturers. But seeing the company bring 7-year-old phones back to life for a stupid GPS fix gives an idea of what the mobile market could look like if manufacturers took this issue seriously. An industry where durability, reliability and safety would be at the core of all concerns. In short, an industry that is slightly more environmentally sustainable.