When Samsung released the Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge last year, both devices screamed premium and were laden with features beyond all other phones. Out of the box the devices ran Android Kitkat 4.4 which was rather stable. Since then Google has released Android Lollipop 5.0 with Material Design but that release was laden with bugs like memory leaks and terrible battery life.
Due to the fragmentation of Android, many of the most expensive Android devices, from less than a year ago, are still dealing with issues because they are still running Android 5.0. Even though Samsung was testing 5.1 back in the summer, very few Note 4 devices got the upgrade to 5.1. I happen to be one of those AT&T Note Edge users who has been dealing with incredibly poor battery life, memory leaks, display issues, and laggy performance when users of almost most other flagships are running 5.1 and are not having issues. When I ask AT&T customer support for help they tell me they have no time frame but to continue to look for updates. (Thanks AT&T!)
Fragmentation is a huge issue for manufacturers and only a couple have made a firm commitment to get updates out within a reasonable time frame, which Samsung is not one of those companies. They make deals with carriers to further customize their software, and in my case I have over 20 apps that I cannot uninstall because of AT&T. Those apps and customizations add another layer of fragmentation to my updates.
If Samsung wants to fix their sales and stop laying people off from poor sales, they need to stop selling out to the carriers as well as focus on getting updates out to their phones more quickly. Sure I bought the Note Edge for $945 without tax, which was my fault for not knowing Samsung and AT&T was going to leave me hanging, but shouldn’t customers expect their phones to work for more than a year without major bugs? I almost feel as if those of us dealing with bugs should get a manufacturer’s replacement device of choice because our software does not work. My Note Edge battery life lasts an incredibly short five hours and that isn’t five hours of on screen time. That is five hours of being disconnected from the plug.
By the time most of us power Note users get Android 5.1, the rest of the Android community will be on Marshmallow 6.0.
If you bought a Note 5, S6, S6 Edge or S6 Edge plus I sure hope Samsung gives you updates after the first six months. Until Samsung makes a commitment to pushing updates out on a timely basis, my future phones will only be pure Android Nexus devices. I would never buy an iPhone ever again, but at least when an update is published, every phone/tablet within the last three years has access to it.
Most of you readers here are super users and would tell people like me to flash their devices. For a flagship device, I shouldn’t be forced to flash it and void the warranty just for it to perform normally.
Are you a 2015 Galaxy S6 or Note 5 owner? Are you worried about not getting updates?
Or if you do happen to be one of the lucky Note 4 and Note Edge users on 5.1, is it running smooth for you?
I posed the question to my colleagues here at AG ,”If you didn’t switch phones so quickly, do you think you would be okay with fragmentation?” Out of all of the writers only one, Benton, has used a phone for two years and he has a Moto X(2013) which is one of the phones to get updates on a regular basis. Personally I do not think most Android bloggers would be okay with fragmentation if they used their phones like normal people and hung onto them for two years.
Let me know how you feel in the comments.