Android 13 is now rolling out for Pixel smartphones and OEMs are already working on updating their handsets with the latest Android software. However, it seems that these companies need to use the “Seamless Updates” feature for new handsets that ship with Android 13 if they want to receive a GMS (Google Mobile Services) license. Samsung is one of the major OEMs yet to implement seamless updates on its smartphones. It should be noted that the feature has been available since the launch of the first Google Pixel smartphone in 2017.
According to a blog post by Esper Senior Technical Editor Mishaal Rahman, Android 13’s virtual A/B mandate would bring the Seamless Updates feature to more handsets running Google’s Android operating system. In the case of a non-A/B mechanism, Android is shut down and booted into a special 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 benefit of seamless updates is that they can be paused or resumed by the user at their convenience. You also get a built-in “failsafe” feature that allows you to revert to the previous version of the operating system in case the update fails. These are some of the things that Google has updated since the launch of seamless updates in the first-generation Pixel smartphone, while softening some of the drawbacks. Keeping your smartphones safe has become all the more important by installing security patches to fix known vulnerabilities that are the target of sophisticated cyber-attacks.
Rahman says A/B updates are better than non-A/B updates. The downside, however, is the sheer amount of storage required for applying OTA updates. He adds that a “virtual” A/B system solves the storage problem. While the storage space required when applying OTA updates is still more than the non-A/B option, it is lower than what is required for an A/B system.
Samsung has yet to apply seamless updates to its smartphones. If the seamless update becomes mandatory, Samsung will have to implement it as soon as the rumors about the Galaxy S23 smartphone series start. The South Korean company has improved its reputation in the software updates department and regularly releases monthly updates for its handsets, especially the flagship models.
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