Android 13 is now rolling out for Pixel smartphones and OEMs are already working on updating their handsets with latest Android software. However, it looks like that these companies will have to adopt the “Seamless Updates” feature for new handsets that ship with Android 13 if they want to receive a GMS (Google Mobile Services) licence. Samsung is one of the major OEMs that are yet to implement Seamless Updates on its smartphones. It is to be noted that the feature has been available since the launch of the first Google Pixel smartphone in 2017.
As per a blog post by Esper Senior Technical Editor Mishaal Rahman, Android 13's virtual A/B mandate would bring Seamless Updates feature to more handsets that use Google's Android operating system. In the case of a non-A/B mechanism, Android shuts down and boots into a dedicated recovery environment to install the update. Meanwhile, in the A/B format, OTA updates are downloaded and applied in the background while Android is running. After a quick reboot, the OS update is complete.
Another advantage of Seamless Updates is that they can be paused or resumed by the user as per their convenience. You also get a built-in "failsafe" feature that will allow you to roll back to the previous OS version in case the update is botched. These are some of the things that Google updated since the launch of Seamless Updates in the first-generation Pixel smartphone, while mitigating some of downsides. It has become all the more important to keep your smartphones safe by installing security patches to patch known vulnerabilities targeted by sophisticated cyberattacks.
Rahman says that A/B updates is better than non-A/B updates. However, the downside is the huge amount of storage that is required for applying OTA updates. He adds that a "virtual" A/B system solves the storage problem. Although the required storage is still more than the non-A/B option when applying OTA updates, it is lower than what is required for an A/B system.
Samsung is yet to adopt Seamless Updates to its smartphones. If the Seamless Update becomes mandatory, Samsung will have to implement it as soon as its rumoured Galaxy S23 smartphone series. The South Korean company has improved its record in the software updates department, releasing monthly updates to its handsets on a regular basis — especially the flagship models.
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