Amid the numerous phones, tablets and accessories Samsung announced at its online Unpacked event earlier this month, there was one moment toward the end that stood out. And no it wasn’t the cameo by the group BTS when they showed off the new Galaxy Z Fold 2. As the virtual show wrapped up, Samsung showed off prices and availability for its new Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. And one of the slides the company showed read, “OS updates up to 3 generations.”
This is a huge deal. Typically Android phone-makers promise one or sometimes two major OS updates and two years of security updates. And that has always bugged me when I review Android phones, especially when Apple offers five to six years of OS updates and security patches.
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Another way to look at it is that the Galaxy Note 20 was the most affordable phone Samsung showed off this month — and it costs $1,000 (£849). And no matter how amazing it is, it’s hard to recommend anyone buy a $1,000 phone that will only be supported for two years. And keep in mind that the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra costs $1,300 (£1,179), and who knows how much the Galaxy Z Fold 2 will cost? The original Galaxy Fold cost $1,980 (£1,508).
Interestingly enough, the longer OS support applies to Samsung phones like the Galaxy S10 and newer.
Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra come in a striking bronze shade
We finally have some details about what this means. The Galaxy devices that are eligible for three years of upgrades include
- Galaxy S series: Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, S20 Plus 5G, S20 5G, in addition to S10 5G, S10 Plus, S10, S10E, S10 Lite and upcoming S series devices
- Galaxy Note series: Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G, Note20 5G, Note10+ 5G, Note10+, Note10 and upcoming Note series devices
- Galaxy foldable devices: Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, Z Flip 5G, Z Flip, Fold and upcoming Z series devices
- Galaxy A series: Galaxy A71 5G, A71, A51 5G, A51 and select upcoming A series devices
- Tablets: Galaxy Tab S7 Plus 5G, Tab S7 Plus, Tab S7 5G, Tab S7, Tab S6 5G, Tab S6, Tab S6 Lite and upcoming Tab S series devices
This year’s Galaxy S20 lineup, which hit the market with Android 10, will get support for three OS upgrades starting with Android 11. The Galaxy S20 devices will be the first Galaxy phones to get the Android 11 upgrade this year.
First Look: Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra
For more about the products Samsung announced read Samsung Unpacked: Everything revealed.
CNET’s Shara Tibken contributed to this report.