For the last couple years, Samsung's flagship update schedule for premium devices like the Galaxy S, Galaxy Note and foldable devices is as follows:
For the most part, they've done a good job at sticking to this. Turnaround times for security patches and even OS updates have become quicker and quicker, even in a couple cases beating the Pixel devices to the punch for delivering the latest security patch. That said, things aren't perfect.
Given how powerful phones have become, in some cases going toe-to-toe with tablets and laptops, along with market changes (I.E. rising phone prices) and economic instability (COVID, obviously), people are holding onto their "old" devices longer. As such, I believe Samsung should be more accomodating and offer more software support.
As a consumer, I would like to see them increase their update standard to the following:
Idealy, this change would begin with the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 Series onward. Right now, they're stuck on Android 9 and will only recieve security patches here on in. The Tab S4, Samsung's flagship tablet that released in 2018 and is bizarrely equipped with the Snapdragon 835 from 2017, currently runs Android 10 with One UI 2.1. Annecodately speaking, it's a marked improvement over Android 9 Pie in terms of features and performance. Since it is effectively a 2017 flagship that runs Android 10 just fine, I see no particular reason why the phones it shares many of its specifications with do not recieve the same update. Also, worth noting Samsung sold over 40 million S8 Series compared to the 35 million S9 Series, 16 million S10 Series and to be determined but probably even fewer S20 Series. Suffice it to say, either people are holding onto their phones or can't afford new flagships are ditching the S and Note series for other brands or midrangers. Implementing this change might give customers on the fence a reason to invest in Galaxy S but will also make sure the millions current S8 and Note 8 users are kept satisfied with the fixes, performances gains and current features One UI 2.1 brings.
This change would also apply to the Tab S Series. For some outlandish reason, the Tab S3, Tab S4 and Tab S6, despite being flagship devices in their respective categories, only recieve quarterly security patches and very late updates to the next OS version. Android tablets are a hardsell to begin with but not having basic pairity in the software department as the phones the tablet basically emulates is just insulting. You may argue that Android tablets are a DOA bad purchase, but you really should try using the Tab S Series for streaming on the go or in bed. The AMOLED experience is unrivaled and having the freedom of Android to do whatever you want with the tablet is nice too.
I already know that some people are going to comment that "People don't care about software updates", and yes that is true, many people do not, but I do. So long as I care, and I know I am not the only one, I will voice my concerns. Just because any given portion of people, whether a minority or majority, may not care about or appreciate the work that goes into maintaining a system, doesn't mean that work shouldn't be done. I also know someone is going to say something about "Qualcomm driver updates" but that's just an excuse. It's amazing how many devices using custom roms work just fine years after Qualcomm has stopped official support. Samsung, being one of the biggest names in the game and one of the largest buyers, could also negotiate more support to coinside with their new plan here. We live in a world where anything is possible, so let's not allow petty worries be the reason we don't try.
Side note, the Galaxy A and Galaxy M Series exist for people who don't care about updates and just want a device that "works". I am not-not advocating for more updates for the A and M Series, but I can understand why Samsung wouldn't care to improve that situation there since they do sell the devices for considerably cheaper. Besides, if Samsung wants to help differentiate their brands even more, this would be a step in the right direction, especially from people who pay for it. These flagships are not cheap.
In following this revised update schedule, I believe Samsung would help create good will with some of its disenfranchised users sick of not getting updates. I belive it also would act as a justification for the increasing prices of its devices, which has been going on regardless of the software situation, and also why Samsung is the best alternative to Apple. Additionally, I believe setting the bar higher also might make the competition start giving a dang. As far as consistent updates go, the only other company that comes to mind is Google with their Pixel line, but their effort is pretty weak. They'll give you all the updates and first too, but only for 3 years. Compare that to Apple's 5 year commitment and you see the problem. By pushing the only company that has shown to give a little bit of care towards improving things, we the consumers may be able to improve the assumed standards as whole. Maybe LG and Huawei, assuming the ban blows over, may start giving a dang and try to compete for your money. Who knows?
Personally speaking, I would like to see Samsung follow this guide because they've always tried to be Apple but, as of late, have only committed to removing features rather than also inching towards consistent long-term software support. I will live without the headphone jack, IR blaster and removable battery, but dang it, at least keep the phone updated for the $1000+ you charge for these things, Samsung.
Thanks for reading. Please consider spreading the message. We as consumers have a voice!