A Samsung is ending official support for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 +, its flagships of the year 2017. The devices hit the market running Android 7 “Nougat” and in 2019 were updated for Android 9 “Pie”, but still received security updates.
The decision was expected. About a year ago the Galaxy S8 left the monthly update schedule and started receiving quarterly updates, a sign that it was at the "end of life". Now, it has been completely removed from the list of devices that are updated.
Only two members of the S8 family will continue to be updated: the Galaxy S8 Active is still receiving quarterly updates, and the Galaxy S8 Lite is on the half-yearly update schedule.
When launched, the Galaxy S8 drew attention for its screen: it was one of the first devices on the market with an 18: 9 aspect ratio screen (twice as wide as it was high), and without side edges. And the small edges above and below the screen already signaled a trend towards smartphones current, where the screen occupies the entire front.
The end of support does not impact the functionality of the device: the Galaxy S8 in the hands of users will continue to function normally, but will no longer be updated. An alternative for those who have a little more adventurous spirit is to use an unofficial version of Android, such as the Lineage OS.
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In February of this year, Samsung announced a new updates policy for their smartphones launched since 2019. Now, the devices will receive security updates, monthly or quarterly, for four years after launch.
Security updates are crucial to keeping smartphones safe from vulnerabilities discovered after their launch, which can be exploited by criminals in spying campaigns or for the spread of malware.
Google launches monthly packages with Android security updates, but few manufacturers distribute them regularly to consumers, if only in the long term.
Remember that security updates are different from operating system version updates (such as an upgrade to Android 10 or 11). A device may be running Android 9 and still have all the latest updates for that version of the system.