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Samsung promises monthly security updates for unlocked handsets

by Killian Bell | March 14, 2017March 14, 2017 5:00 am PDT

Samsung has promised to deliver monthly security updates for unlocked Android handsets in the United States. The South Korean company says it has worked through the “challenges” involved with delivering Google’s latest security patches in a timely manner so users will no longer have to wait several months to catch up.

Google has been delivering monthly security patches for Android for some time now; it stepped up its game following the big “Stagefright” scandal back in July 2015. Some third-party manufacturers have followed suit, but Samsung — the world’s biggest Android vendor — has been rolling out its own patches on a quarterly basis.

That’s because it’s not easy to update tens of millions of devices across different markets, especially when Samsung doesn’t have full control over the vast majority of its software releases (carriers like to tweak and approve them first). But it does have full control over unlocked handsets, and so things are finally changing for those in the U.S.

“We have now resolved the challenges; and we are committed to releasing security updates for [unlocked Galaxy devices in the U.S.] on a monthly basis,” a Samsung representative told ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani via email. “We plan to release this month’s security update soon and you can be rest assured that it will include all security patches to date.”

As things stand, Samsung’s most recent Galaxy handsets are currently running the December security patch, with January, February, and March still missing.

It’s unclear whether Samsung will be rolling out a similar update policy in other markets, or whether it will be working with carriers to release timely patches for locked devices, too. But for now, this is good news for those in the U.S. who have an unlocked Galaxy smartphone.


Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...