Samsung plays catch-up with Apple, promises monthly security updates for unlocked US phone...

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in General Discussion
Samsung will soon start providing monthly security updates to unlocked Galaxy smartphones in the U.S., according to the company, offering a level of maintenance more comparable to Apple.




"Due to various circumstances, we have been releasing security updates for unlocked (open) Galaxy devices in the U.S. on a quarterly basis," Samsung's Mobile Security team explained to ZDNet. "However, we have now resolved the challenges; and we are committed to releasing security updates for those devices on a monthly basis."

The company noted that the first monthly update is due in March, although it didn't say if that would come alongside Android Nougat (7.x) for compatible devices.

It also didn't say what obstacles it was previously dealing with. Phone updates typically require testing with carriers, and the situation may be further complicated by Samsung relying on a custom version of Android. Typically only Google phones can get new versions of Android as soon as they're released -- for other devices, Google code must be merged with custom skins and apps.

Apple's security update schedule isn't public, but since it makes both the OS and the hardware, it's generally free to release updates as soon as it verifies carrier compatibility.

In practice the company appears not to adhere to a strict schedule, and will push out point releases whenever they solve a collection of bugs, such as iOS 10.2.1. It will sometimes issue emergency fixes, for instance if a critical vulnerability is discovered or a previous update rendered some devices unusable.

It rarely matters which carrier an iPhone or iPad is associated with, or whether or not the device is unlocked.

Another difference is that Apple issues public betas of iOS to people in its Beta Software Program. Recently it put out a sixth beta of iOS 10.3, which in finished form will switch to the APFS file system, bring in a new reviews API, and add a Find My AirPods app.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    The joke that is Android security/updates continues....
    lkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    So this is for the USA Only?... So Samsung has decided that they don't want to sell phones in the rest of the world then?
    Android updates are very hit and miss so it is good that Samsung is committing to update unlocked phones but to restrict it to the USA is madness.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 23
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 597member
    So Samsung will have its own Patch Tuesday?  I know how the world is (and Apple patches stuff too), but a frequent patching schedule isn't really something I would want to trumpet if I were them.  When something is this flawed, I usually look for an alternative.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,678member
    Haven't we heard that sort of promise before with smartphone OSes?
    jbdragonpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,678member
    So this is for the USA Only?... So Samsung has decided that they don't want to sell phones in the rest of the world then?
    Android updates are very hit and miss so it is good that Samsung is committing to update unlocked phones but to restrict it to the USA is madness.
    That does seem F-ed up.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,447member
    So they're going to release monthly patches that were supposed to patch the patch 2 patches ago?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,013member
    This is a smoking hot idea.
    watto_cobrabrakken
  • Reply 8 of 23
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,439member
    How many times these Android phone manufacturers have kept their promises ? Very little. So, why bother when Apple IOS is well taken care with regular security patches and feature updates including many generation older iPhones across the world users. Can Samsung or other android manufacturers promise that level of support and commitment ? You know the damn answer.
    edited March 2017 watto_cobraJCee
  • Reply 9 of 23
    THIS is why I bought my first iPhone in 2017. I got tired of the lack of update support by the hardware vendors and the finger pointing between Verizon and the phone manufacturer about when/if the update would ever come out. I know, I could have gotten a Pixel in 2017 but why would I do that when Apple has demonstrated for years they know how to bring a great phone to market and provide solid support for it for 4+ years.
    lkruppSolichiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,091member
    Only unlocked phones? Oh well.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,128member
    Even Apple, with all its software expertise occasionally bungles an update... however, there is no way in hell that I would trust a shoddy operation like Samsung to put out monthly updates to keep phones up to date.  They just don't have the discipline to pull it off.  

    I wouldn't be surprise if their first update turns the phones of their unfortunate victims into bricks.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member
    The US unlocked phone isn't sold by the carriers, so how many people actually buy that version? 
  • Reply 13 of 23
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,678member
    The US unlocked phone isn't sold by the carriers, so how many people actually buy that version? 
    …and then use it in the US, as opposed to just buying it in the US to take home because it's cheaper?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member
    Soli said:
    The US unlocked phone isn't sold by the carriers, so how many people actually buy that version? 
    …and then use it in the US, as opposed to just buying it in the US to take home because it's cheaper?
    It's only available in the US, and can only be purchased directly from Samsung. It's usually not available for a few months after a model goes on sale. Say the S8 came out tomorrow, it would be 2-3 months before the US unlocked version of it would be available for purchase. 

    Edit: it is not your typical unlocked phone. These phones are specifically designed to work with any of the 4 major US carriers. 
    edited March 2017 Soli
  • Reply 15 of 23
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,678member
    Soli said:
    The US unlocked phone isn't sold by the carriers, so how many people actually buy that version? 
    …and then use it in the US, as opposed to just buying it in the US to take home because it's cheaper?
    It's only available in the US, and can only be purchased directly from Samsung. It's usually not available for a few months after a model goes on sale. Say the S8 came out tomorrow, it would be 2-3 months before the US unlocked version of it would be available for purchase. 

    Edit: it is not your typical unlocked phone. These phones are specifically designed to work with any of the 4 major US carriers. 
    …. it must have been bought during a new moon, your middle name has to contain a letter 'o', and your mother had to have been born on a Sunday."
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 23
    99.9 percent of Apples patches should not require a middle man either...

    How much do you trust your ISPs?

    I hope Apple is smart enough to authenticate everything when the patch hits the phone (because you know the ISPs are going to try to fiddle with it).

    The new FCC regulator is in bed with the ISPs.  It's all up to Apple now.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,083member
    99.9 percent of Apples patches should not require a middle man either...

    How much do you trust your ISPs?

    I hope Apple is smart enough to authenticate everything when the patch hits the phone (because you know the ISPs are going to try to fiddle with it).

    The new FCC regulator is in bed with the ISPs.  It's all up to Apple now.
    What are you smoking?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 23
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,678member
    99.9 percent of Apples patches should not require a middle man either...

    How much do you trust your ISPs?

    I hope Apple is smart enough to authenticate everything when the patch hits the phone (because you know the ISPs are going to try to fiddle with it).

    The new FCC regulator is in bed with the ISPs.  It's all up to Apple now.
    What are you smoking?
    While there's no reason to assume that Apple's signed updated have been compromised, it's reasonable to question the "chain of custody" where a middle-man has access to your data between the source and destination. And it's not like this isn't the first time an ISP has surreptitiously injected code, seen hackers violate an installers, and heard about gov't agencies looking for backdoors into the root of OSes. We've even seen Xcode itself violated to inject malware as it compiled.


  • Reply 19 of 23
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,083member
    Soli said:
    99.9 percent of Apples patches should not require a middle man either...

    How much do you trust your ISPs?

    I hope Apple is smart enough to authenticate everything when the patch hits the phone (because you know the ISPs are going to try to fiddle with it).

    The new FCC regulator is in bed with the ISPs.  It's all up to Apple now.
    What are you smoking?
    While there's no reason to assume that Apple's signed updated have been compromised, it's reasonable to question the "chain of custody" where a middle-man has access to your data between the source and destination. And it's not like this isn't the first time an ISP has surreptitiously injected code, seen hackers violate an installers, and heard about gov't agencies looking for backdoors into the root of OSes. We've even seen Xcode itself violated to inject malware as it compiled.


    Yes you're right and I get all that. I was more of less talking about not needing a middle man. Just how exactly are you going to update iOS devices without a ISP? 
    Soli
  • Reply 20 of 23
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,678member
    Soli said:
    99.9 percent of Apples patches should not require a middle man either...

    How much do you trust your ISPs?

    I hope Apple is smart enough to authenticate everything when the patch hits the phone (because you know the ISPs are going to try to fiddle with it).

    The new FCC regulator is in bed with the ISPs.  It's all up to Apple now.
    What are you smoking?
    While there's no reason to assume that Apple's signed updated have been compromised, it's reasonable to question the "chain of custody" where a middle-man has access to your data between the source and destination. And it's not like this isn't the first time an ISP has surreptitiously injected code, seen hackers violate an installers, and heard about gov't agencies looking for backdoors into the root of OSes. We've even seen Xcode itself violated to inject malware as it compiled.


    Yes you're right and I get all that. I was more of less talking about not needing a middle man. Just how exactly are you going to update iOS devices without a ISP? 
    Ah! I see. Yeah, that first sentence is impossible.
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