If you gather a random sample of Samsung phone owners and talk to them about their phones long enough, you’ll eventually notice a bit of a pattern. Timely updates are a bit of a sore issue. Naturally, this is an issue with most OEMs to a degree, partly as a result of Android’s insane market share. Tons and tons of different OEMs each use their own forked version of Android and updates can get out of hand. Just about everybody has promised to keep their phones up to date for at least two years from release. For the most part, OEMs haven’t had too hard of a time adhering to this promise. Some have faltered, of course, but Samsung in particular has been called out by consumer group Consumentenbond, the largest of their kind in The Netherlands.
The Consumentenbond had apparently been in talks with Samsung over this issue for some time, but after no positive resolution could be reached, they decided to take things up a notch. The issue in The Netherlands has gotten a bit out of hand; according to their research, the Consumentenbond says that about 82 percent of Samsung phones sold in The Netherlands reach their end-of-life before the allotted 2 years is up. They were quick to point out that Samsung is not alone in this issue, but they are the first target. Whether this is because they’re the biggest manufacturer to exhibit the issue or it’s to set a precedent, they did not say.
The Consumentenbond is demanding that Samsung not only bring their handsets into compliance, but that the rules are changed a bit; rather than two years from market, they want phones to get timely updates for two years from the date of sale. This means that when Samsung predicts having to stop updating a phone, they must shelve it two years before. This could be a landmark development for consumers, should it catch on. Spotty Android updates fuel fragmentation and, on top of leaving critical security vulnerabilities like Stagefright wide open, weigh heavy on users and developers alike. This push against OEM negligence is likely to attract significant attention.