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The Samsung Galaxy S series still does not support A/B seamless system updates

Samsung is yet to adopt A/B seamless system updates. (Image source: GSMArena)
Samsung is yet to adopt A/B seamless system updates. (Image source: GSMArena)
Samsung may have committed to delivering three OS updates to its smartphones and tablets, but it remains conservative in other areas regarding Android updates. The Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra are the latest Samsung smartphones that do not support A/B seamless system updates, which has become standard among competitors. There is an advantage to not adopting seamless Android updates, though.

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It is five years since A/B seamless system updates for Android devices arrive, but Samsung continues to ignore Google in this regard. In summary, A/B system updates maintain a bootable system while a device is applying an over-the-air (OTA) update. The feature also allows devices to finish updates in the background, rather than staring at a bootloader screen for many minutes. 

Originally, it was believed that Google had required OEMs to integrate A/B system updates as of Android 11, but the Galaxy S21 series demonstrates otherwise. According to the likes of Max Weinbach, One UI 3.0 and newer does not contain the code necessary for A/B system updates.

The latest Android Compatibility Definition Document does not require OEMs to integrate A/B partitions, either. Instead, it merely emphasises that devices should support it.

A/B system updates should benefit consumers, especially when OS updates brick devices, as has happened with the Xiaomi Mi A3. However, having A and B partitions requires more storage space than having a single partition. So, not adopting A/B partitions gives people more free storage, in Samsung's defence. The South Korean company could have just continued to include microSD card readers in the Galaxy S series though, so we have little sympathy for Samsung on this one.

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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 4070 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
contact me via: @aldersonaj
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 01 > The Samsung Galaxy S series still does not support A/B seamless system updates
Alex Alderson, 2021-01-28 (Update: 2021-01-28)