back to article Samsung now pushing Marshmallows into the Galaxy S6, Edge

Android's jerky upgrade elevator has arrived at Samsung, which has decided it's time for the Marshmallow edition of the operating system to come to its Galaxy products. Marshmallow was revealed in August 2015 and made it into Google's Nexus handsets six weeks later. Fast forward another three-and-a-bit months and the world's …

  1. fnusnu

    Amazingly the ancient and decrepit Note 2 runs Marshmallow just fine. What a shame (or thankfully?) Samsung had no part in its release.

    1. chasil

      Alas...

      ...my fascist carrier (who wishes to remain nameless) has locked my bootloader so I cannot run it.

      I'm fine with rooted KitKat, if only I could get patches.

      I really wish that a disgruntled employee at Samsung would leak the signing keys. Such people are so helpful.

    2. Morten

      My Galaxy SIII i9300 runs CM13 with Android 6.0.1 just nicely. Snappy and with UI responsiveness pretty close to the S5 and it can even multitask a little. The official JB 4.3 release for it basically bricks it, as the low memory available and RAMGUZZLING TouchWiz and Samsung "value add" apps leaves no free memory.

      But Samsung do not want to make old phones perfectly usable.

  2. noboard

    Plus one for not using the edge

    I've owned the edge plus for a few months now and just find the edge gets in the way of normal use, rather than bringing anything good to the game. Such a shame they never brought the latest Note out in the UK. I'm pretty sure it was a deliberate move to increase sales of the edge plus.

    1. mythicalduck

      Re: Plus one for not using the edge

      Now you see, that confused me when I first saw the device. I found it difficult enough already to hold an android phone without my fingers/thumb interfering with the touchscreen. I wouldn't even know how to hold the Edge. To me it sits in the "Stupid ideas" category of design. However, I've never used one (nor likely too), so I could be wrong about it

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Plus one for not using the edge

        To me it (Edge) sits in the "Stupid ideas" category of design.

        But it looks very smart and very distinctive. I'll wager that most people don't even handle the phone they order as part of the upgrade cycle, of the remainder, about half will handle a "dead" handset in the showroom, and those few who do have the chance to try it out will mostly only do so under the beady eye of a salesman for a a few minutes. They won't find the flaw before they've parted with their money.

        This really is marketing innovation at its finest: The edge design does clearly help position the S6 as a premium contender; but in reality it makes the product worse. Now look in contrast at the Moto X Force. There's really useful innovation in screen technology, but at the moment it seems few makers are rushing to copy that.

        Which proves, sadly, that the marketing droids and Apple are right: The Darwinian forces of the market favour that which is shiney over that which is good, clever or useful. And that's also why most phones have sealed batteries, and increasingly few have SD card slots.

  3. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    And tablets?

    I'm still wondering when my Tab S2 is going to actually "officially" get 5.1.1 in the UK, let alone Marshmallow.

    It's out as an OTA update in other regions, but the UK still seems to be on 5.0.2 for some reason. Not sure why as I've upgraded mine from one of those via Odin and it's running fine.

    1. Boothy Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: And tablets?

      Think yourself lucky, I've had an LG G Pad 8.3, for about a year, (was a freeby give-away when I bought an LG TV).

      It's still stuck on 4.4, despite 5.1 coming out on it in other regions in the middle of last year! :-/

      How much effort is needed to create a new regional version?

      I'm in UK also.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And tablets?

      >I'm still wondering when my Tab S2 is going to actually "officially" get 5.1.1 in the UK, let alone Marshmallow.

      You're lucky

      my 9.7 TAB S2 is suddenly crashing and spontaneously rebooting after 3 months use. Factory reset and still doing it so off it goes back to the supplier tomorrow. Hardware or ROM fault.

    3. Phil W

      Re: And tablets?

      The reason you haven't got the update is that Samsung have regional teams for ROM development and release. So before the UK version is made available it will have to be polished and customised for the UK by the UK team, then thoroughly tested. The UK team always seem to be a bit behind other regions.

      It gets even more frustrating with phones because although the same process applies to the generic direct from Samsung ROMs for phones that were purchased SIM free from a retailer, it doesn't apply to the customised ROMs for networks. Samsung only perform limited testing on operator customised ROMs and leave final testing and approval for release up to the operator, which in the case of many Samsung models results in the operator ROMs being released long before the Samung generic UK ROM is.

      In the case of the Note 3 there was a good 4 or 5 months between the first operator branded ROM for Android 5.0 being released and the eventual release of the Samsung generic ROM.

      The slight upside to this is that the Samsung generic ROMs tend to require less updates for bug fixes and stability problems due to more rigorous testing.

  4. John Crisp

    Get your act together

    When ?

    Ridiculous scenario when your Google phone gets an update immediately, your Samsung may get it months later, and your telcos version sometime never.

    My telco kindly pushed Lollipop v5.0.2 to my Alpha after yonks, but have done nothing to upgrade it subsequently for the known vulnerabilities in it. Thanks for nothing.

    My Samsung S6 is on 5.1.1 and guess it will catch Marshmallow shortly.

    The whole system is a mess. Although no lover of Apple, at least the updates are all in sync.

    I'm not sure how this can be resolved... yes it isn't Googles fault per se, but they are the ones with the leverage to sort it out. If they can force suppliers to use some of their apps, they can force them to keep updates in sync.

    Sort it out !

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Get your act together

      This could be fixed if they could mandate that all OS related updates be managed centrally, regardless of manufacturer or carrier.

      The manufacturers/carrier could still do their customising, to help differentiate their products, but this aught to be as extensions to the OS (e.g. drivers, custom controls for non standard buttons etc) and via standard app installs.

      1. Stuart 22 Silver badge

        Re: Get your act together

        Well if they did get their act together I guess that would kill the Nexus USP. The only reason I pay the premium of standardising on them.

        OK the Nexus 4 & 7 are now eventually out of upgrades from Google. But Nexus kit is almost guaranteed to get the best runnable CM version so I guess when I get time they will soon be Marshmellowed. Or should I wait for CM14 ;-)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    S2

    CM13 beat the Samsung (...) to it. Naturally.

    1. DainB Bronze badge

      Re: S2

      CM will only need ignore complaints of few thousand users while Samsung if they release anything comparable to quality of CM will get complaints from tens of millions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: S2

        I would beg to differ, I think the S2 remains alive only in the hands of a few thousand refuseniks. The milions are dribbling over the S4, S5, S6, S6edge, S6edgeplussendonedge, S7, etc. Not that I care, I only lived with stock rom long enough to root it and to install shit-less alternative (not that both are required ;)

  6. djstardust

    Which flagships?

    Samsung have so many "flagship" devices it's embarrassing.

    I had a "flagship" Note 12.2 Pro that still had 4.4.2 when I sold it recently.

    My "flagship" Galaxy Note 4 is still on 4.4.2 as the version 5 upgrade is a disaster and overheats the device whilst killing the battery.

    My "flagship" Tab S 8.4 is on 5.0.2 and seems to work sort of OK

    Samsung are a disaster and I'm done with them. Too many devices, no roadmap and crap support.

    1. jason 7

      Re: Which flagships?

      I do wonder why Android phone manufacturers feel they have to have 15 different Android phones in their range at all times for different regions/carriers etc. etc. knowing the support issues that presents when other companies/mobile OS systems get by with 2-3 models at any one time.

      A classic example of making a difficult situation...even more difficult. Some of those models must sell in just the tens/hundreds of thousands.

      Scrap em and just have a low/med and high end worldwide model.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Which flagships?

        Can't. Radio frequencies aren't universal, and they haven't invented the universally tunable cell data chip yet (some physical limitations involved).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You can have a single worldwided model that supports all bands

          That's not really true anymore, and it was never an issue of chipset so much as an issue of the discretes like power amplifiers and antenna switches, but Qualcomm sells a solution for this (google qualcomm rf 360)

          Apple sells three part numbers of the iPhone 6S (and three more of the 6S plus) that are all essentially identical world phones. The only difference between the three is that one supports LTE band 30, which is used by AT&T only and is just rolling out so no one would really miss it. There are two otherwise identical models, one is sold in China only and one is sold everywhere else, but both support all of China's special bands etc.

          I assume the reason for two identical models that differ only in part number is some regulatory thing that reduces cost. Why there's a different model that only adds support for one AT&T band is also a mystery, maybe it was a late addition after they'd already received regulatory approval in some areas - I think that one is sold only through AT&T or if you buy an unlocked phone direct from Apple.

          Having one model that supports everything costs more so it probably isn't reasonable to expect on budget Android phones, but there's certainly no reason Android flagships can't do it if Apple can.

          The real reason Android OEMs tend to have carrier specific models is because that's how the carrier wants it. That's why you might be able to buy a certain phone on AT&T but not Verizon, or T-Mobile is the only one that sells it in white, or whatever. Because there are so many Android OEMs out there making phones that are mostly the same, the carriers can play them off each other and get concessions from them that aren't in the interest of consumers. So you end up with more models and more difficult updates.

          Not sure what the fix is, if HTC says they aren't playing those games they might only be available on some carriers, or only available unlocked for full price, which would hurt their sales. So they really have no choice but to go along. That's the downside of all that competition in the Android world that gives you so much more choice and lower prices than in the Apple world.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: You can have a single worldwided model that supports all bands

            Odd. My note3 runs stock 5.x and works wonderfully. Wonder what makes the note 4 go mad.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: You can have a single worldwided model that supports all bands

            "That's not really true anymore, and it was never an issue of chipset so much as an issue of the discretes like power amplifiers and antenna switches, but Qualcomm sells a solution for this (google qualcomm rf 360)"

            I've looked. So far as I know, no one's using it or we'd see a phone that can advertise "compatible with ALL LTE bands worldwide". Since I've yet to see one and given this would be quite a selling point for a globe-hobber, I have to assume something else is getting in the way.

  7. vmistery

    I don't know why the manufacturers don't come together and agree to charge for upgrades / updates, that way it covers their Dev work and they have an incentive to keep the devices up to date for as long as possible. I would gladly pay something like £1/month to receive official, timely updates rather than have to hack around with custom roms and I am sure a lot of non techies and businesses would too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pay for updates?

      You want to be charged extra for something that's most likely already factored into the purchase price of the device anyway? Hmmmm....

      Over 6 years ago, Apple started accounting for their free iOS updates in the price of the device, to abide by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002:

      http://appleinsider.com/articles/09/10/21/inside_apples_iphone_subscription_accounting_changes

      No doubt other device manufacturers do the same too as they'd be bound by the same rules in the US.

      What delays Android updates isn't the availability of the Android OS, it's porting it to all the hardware variations, updating the proprietary manufacturer 'skins' and apps, and then, if bought from a carrier, their bloatware too. By the time all that is done, they'd rather you just buy the latest Android device with last years OS already on it.

      Even the lowly iPhone 4s (released way back in October 2011) can run the forthcoming iOS 9.3 (albeit without a few hardware related features and some inevitable slowdown).

      It's pretty obvious what the solution to receiving "official, timely updates" without needing to "hack around with custom roms" is...

      1. vmistery

        Re: Pay for updates?

        That is just an accounting side benefit, Apple have much more of an interest in keeping those legacy devices up to date as it means they can flog those users other services, Android manufacturers have no such motivation. If Android developers have factored in the cost of OS updates why don't you see those updates? I don't want to pay for OS updates but you also can't expect a manufacturer on tiny margins to update their devices beyond a minimum unless there is a financial motivation to do so, remember most handsets are not flagships.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pay for updates?

          > Apple have much more of an interest in keeping those legacy devices up to date as it means they can flog those users other services

          78% of Apple's revenue in the last quarter came from iPhone and iPad sales, whereas less than 8% came from those "other services" you mention:

          http://www.statista.com/statistics/382260/segments-share-revenue-of-apple/

          Surely, it's far more financially of interest to sell those legacy device users a new phone or tablet, than to flog them apps, Apple Music or an iCloud subscription?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pay for updates?

            Sure, it would be in Apple's short term interest to not provide updates for 4-5 year old phones since it increases the incentive to junk them and buy a new one. But that's not in their long term interest, as abandoning customers shortly after you get their money is not a good way to build customer loyalty.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: Pay for updates?

              Indeed. They junk the phone and buy another brand thus losing out to a rival.

  8. HKmk23

    Samsung?

    Is a Korean company and I suspect that "after sales service" does not actually translate in Korean...it probably equates to "time to buy another".....I have three marvelous Samsung devices (Tab2, MiniS3 and Grand Duos) and updates are not available....so as far as I am concerned I think that next time it will be a chinese device at half the price and I will not expect an upgrade. One last thing though I do suggest that you try the "Nova" desktop app from the Playstore....it is very Lollipop like especialy for older devices.

  9. JimmyPage
    FAIL

    I wonder what Google have broken this time ...

    Last year, I looked to implement WP8 "Block" feature on MrsJPs MotoG.

    That's block *SMS*s - not just calls.

    A deep trawl of the Play Store revealed an abundance of "Call & SMS" blocking Apps.

    A deeper trawl revealed that SMS blocking had become impossible when Google went from KK to LL (if memory serves) they changed the architecture so apps couldn't access the SMS stack *before* they were processed. Meaning there were (are ?) shedloads of "sms blocking apps" which have to state upfront they don't actually work.

    WTF ?

    That's Android for you.

    1. Darryl

      Re: I wonder what Google have broken this time ...

      Can't you blacklist numbers right in Google's Messenger app? If that doesn't work, try another SMS app. I recommend Textra

      1. JimmyPage

        Re: I wonder what Google have broken this time ...

        Here's an example

        https://www.truecaller.com/support#/Android/a23

        "Google introduced a limitation on Android 4.4 (Kitkat) and above, which unfortunately prevents the SMS blocking feature from working."

        Can't speak as to Google Messenger blocking, as I gave up.

        As usual, the Windows Phone implementation of this feature is flawlessly perfect.

        Here's a whole thread on how you can't block SMS on Android post KitKat.

        http://forums.androidcentral.com/nexus-6p/618966-blocking-sms-marshmallow.html

        Admittedly, SMS blocking might be regarded as a niche feature by some. But Googles making it impossible without any warning, consultation or workaround is reason enough for me to stand by my assertion that Android is OK for toys, but not ready for business.

        1. Darryl

          Re: I wonder what Google have broken this time ...

          I think the blocking add-ons have been borked, but they've just moved the functionality into the texting app itself. Just long-tap the name and choose 'blacklist'. No add-ons or workarounds needed.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: I wonder what Google have broken this time ...

            Sms blocking works for me on stock lollipop.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: stock lollipop.

              There's no such thing - you either have a manufacturer, network, or Cyanogen version.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I wonder what Google have broken this time ...

            Just long-tap the name and choose 'blacklist'.

            Not available on my - Lollipop - phone.

            Having used several various Android phones, I have yet to find a consistent set of features across them - especially after network operators have had a fiddle.

  10. Cuddles Silver badge

    Samsung is not the problem

    Android 6 was only released a few months ago, so this doesn't seem like a particularly bad delay on Samsung's part. On the other hand, my S6 is still stuck on 5.0.2, despite 5.1 having been around for nearly a year. It doesn't matter what Samsung and other manufacturers might be doing if the telcos refuse to actually make updates available to their customers.

    1. Rob Crawford

      Re: Samsung is not the problem

      My last phone was a Galaxy S4 and EE mistakenly sent me a bare EU device with no EE crap on it whatsoever.

      Last year I received 4 or 5 updates (couple of them security related) while friends with 'proper EE' S4s received 2.

      I also started receiving the Samsung equivalent of the Google monthly security updates on October, my 'proper EE' equipped friends have never received such an update.

      After seeing the difference in service, I got myself a Nexus 5X and have been very happy ever since, it may not be as shiny and flash as the S6 that I was considering, but I gave a straight Google build and get the monthly security updates quickly (and Android ones PDQ too)

      If only EE would stop saying that Google have to bake their WiFi calling code into the Nexus and admit that they are using the standard Google code I would be a bit happier though

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe it's time..

    to try iOS..

    > arguably better value..

    -- Aesthetics - if taken care of, iPhones tend to look pretty decent after e.g. 4 years of use compared to most same-year-of-release non-iOS alternatives

    -- Support - even after 3+ years, multi-generation-iPhone owner/users can still receive the latest OS update directly from Apple, as soon as it's out for their region

    -- Resale - the combination of typically better aesthetics and stronger support in older devices typically results in great resale value for iOS devices (I'd say rule of thumb is MAX 30-50% depreciation after 3 years for a clean, boxed device which had screen and body protection from date of purchase)

    1. Lamont Cranston
      WTF?

      Better aesthetics?

      Most phones are a rectangle with rounded corners.

    2. jason 7

      Re: Maybe it's time..

      Those problems are not enough of an issue for me to become...one of the herd.

      Thanks for the thought though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe it's time..

        One of the herd? Seriously?

        Next thing you'll be telling us WinMob is a herd too and BBOS 10 and Symbian too while we're living in this fantasy land.

        With a market share getting towards 90% I can only see one "herd" in the global mobile market, often in different and sometimes ill fitting disguises maybe, but a herd by any sane measure.

        1. Darryl

          Re: Maybe it's time..

          I think 'The herd' is more about how you have two options for which phone you buy (soon to be three??) and those phones look and act exactly the same, as Apple decrees. There is no choice and no personalization allowed. Unless you order a bedazzled case, I guess.

          It's kind of ironic, considering Apple got famous with the '1984' commercial and now they're looking more like the other side.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: Maybe it's time..

            How much would it cost for an iphone with 32gb+64gb storage? Will a 3 year old iphone run rhe latest ios? (Technically my galaxy s2 will run later os but not very well)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Maybe it's time..

              Apple would require that you procure a 128GB capacity device - it's your choice whether you go for an iPhone 6, 6s 6+, 6s+ or the incoming 7/7+ at that capacity.

              The cost depends on what you're recovering from a previous device (if anything), how you're gonna pay (full cash upfront, payment plan, or as part of a carrier contract) - generally the more you have from a previous sale, the less 'new' money you have to find - that works regardless of whose 'flagship' device you're looking to buy..

              Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (5.1" display) 128GB - £719.00 from Samsung

              Apple iPhone 6S+ (5.5" display) 128GB - £699.00 from Apple

              You take your pic, you make your choice :D

    3. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Maybe it's time..

      My iPad is running iOS7. It came with 6 and the update was fairly simple. However since it is a 16GB model, upgrading beyond not only requires me to clean a lot of stuff off the device AND manage to download a 5GBish file with my slow rural Internet, the doubling of the size of the OS means that much less space on the device.

      It's a shame one can't install a base OS and then the options you want/need...

  12. JimmyPage

    It's a shame one can't install a base OS and then the options you want/need...

    Cyanogen OS ?

    Wileyfox ? (Although I can happily plug the phone, as a *company* Wileyfox need to get their act together sharpish).

  13. Adair Silver badge

    Perhaps it would be helpful for everyone to run a two track service where punters know up front they are either buying a phone with an OS that will be updated, but never upgraded - cheaper. Or, one that will be upgraded in a timely fashion (say, within two months) whenever a newer iteration of the OS is released - more expensive.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Then you end up with something like Stagefright which is a potential total pwnage exploit that means practically EVERY phone is vulnerable, including the ones that are EOL but can still put Google in the hole for the security hole.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On a semi-related note, my US Verizon LG G3 got the Marshmallow upgrade notice today and it is now downloading.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      On the Samsung side, the S7's will have Marshmallow built in, the S6's should be getting it now, and the S5 should be along later this year. I think S4's and below are considered EOL.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stay away.

    Been there, done that, went back to Lollipop.

    Can't stand Google's insistence that "they know better" regarding external sd cards.

    Can't use USB mass storage anymore (removed), internal mode means you can't use your fast phone stororage anymore, portable that you can't get applications I choose to be able to read and write to the external sdcard.

    For this kind of antics I'd just the apple fanboi army. Google can go screw themselves if they keep pulling this crap.

  16. Neoc

    <sigh>

    So I'll get to see the Australia-generic (XSA) update sometime in August, if history is anything to go by.

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