In August 2015, following the discovery of a massive security vulnerability affecting hundreds of millions of Android devices, Google said that it would release monthly security updates for its OS. Major manufacturers such as LG and Samsung quickly announced that they would bring those monthly security patches to their devices too.
However, for Samsung, things haven't gone entirely according to plan. While many of its carrier-locked devices have generally been receiving those monthly updates - albeit often a month or longer after Google actually releases them - Samsung's unlocked devices have been getting the updates somewhat less frequently in the United States. Even its latest Galaxy S7 and S7 edge flagships have fallen months behind there; they've recently been stuck on last year's updates, as the company has lapsed into a quarterly release cadence rather than a monthly one.
But it seems that that's all about change, as Samsung has (re)committed to a monthly update cycle for its unlocked Galaxy handsets in the US. ZDNet's Jason Cipriani wrote to Samsung Mobile Security, asking if the company intended to do any better:
I was curious what Samsung's approach is to security updates for the unlocked Galaxy S7/S7 Edge here in the US is? [sic] Currently, the S7 Edge has the December security patch. I think it was a quarterly release cycle, but any chance that's moving to monthly?
Samsung was quick to respond, and revealed that it does indeed plan to make improvements, with immediate effect:
Due to various circumstances, we have been releasing security updates for unlocked (open) Galaxy devices in the U.S. on a quarterly basis. However, we have now resolved the challenges; and we are committed to releasing security updates for those devices on a monthly basis.
We plan to release this month's security update soon and you can be rest assured [sic] that it will include all security patches to date.
The response isn't limited specifically to the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, so it sounds like whatever issues Samsung has resolved will now allow the company to deliver more timely and more regular security updates to other devices in its range too.
Unfortunately, it's still unclear when Samsung plans to upgrade its unlocked Galaxy S7 and S7 edge to Android 7.0 Nougat in the US. Oddly, some carrier-locked models in the US have been upgraded to Nougat, while the unlocked versions are still waiting for the update there.