What do you need to know
- In 2016, Google introduced seamless A/B updates to make the update process easier for consumers.
- This feature allows phones like the Pixel to install updates in the background, allowing you to still use your devices.
- Samsung hasn’t adopted this, but the new Android 13 mandate may change that for new devices that ship with the software.
We all love updates, but sometimes they can get in the way of completing tasks. If you frequently hit the “Install Later” button in your notification, you’re not alone. However, Google has made the process a lot less tedious with A/B Seamless updates and apparently wants all Android OEMs to embrace it, including Samsung.
In a report by Mishaal Rahman, senior technical editor at Esper, Google may require Android OEMs to implement seamless A/B updates for devices shipping with Android 13.
Finally! New devices launching with Android 13 MUST support virtual A/B, which means it’s almost guaranteed that they will also support seamless updates! Will the Galaxy S23 be the first Samsung device to finally support seamless updates? 👀 Details here: https://t.co/yWZauBNF2LSeptember 21, 2022
If you’re unfamiliar, A/B Seamless Updates is what phones like the Pixel 6 use to install an update, allowing you to keep using your device while the software installs in the background. That is, until the moment when you need to restart the device, which will allow you to return to scrolling as quickly as possible. It does this by creating an inactive Android OS partition that updates while you use the active one. This is much less of a hassle for consumers because it doesn’t prevent them from using their phone for an extended period of time.
It also allows users to rollback updates if something goes wrong during the update process.
However, not every Android OEM has embraced this, as many Samsung Galaxy owners can attest. In fact, Google was apparently going to make it mandatory with Android 11, but changed their mind. Notably, the Galaxy S22 also doesn’t support seamless A/B updates.
Part of the reason is likely due to the amount of memory that was needed to run when this feature first became available. However, as Rahman explains, Google has taken steps to address this issue with virtual Partitions A/B, greatly reducing the required storage.
Rahman goes into detail about these upgrade methods, but it’s basically good news for OEMs who are holding back from implementing A/B Seamless for Android phones. Plus, it’s good for consumers who were hoping that companies like Samsung would embrace it.
However, it seems that this is only mandatory for phones that vessel with Android 13, which means we may not see it on Samsung phones until at least the Galaxy S23.