Last week Samsung did the right thing. It stepped forward to admit both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are suffering performance problems and promised to deliver a speedy fix. The company has been true to its word…
Today GSMArena confirms Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge owners are now starting to receive the fix – just one week later. My Galaxy S6 review sample has yet to be one of the lucky handsets, but, while the official changelog for the ‘G920FXXU1AODG’ firmware is disappointingly vague, GSMArena confirms it makes a substantial performance difference.
Of course some may be shaking their heads right now. Why would a smartphone which has been widely reported as one of the fastest on the market need an update to make it even faster?
The Galaxy S6
The reason is surprisingly simple: a glitch in how the Galaxy S6 handles memory means the hit isn’t immediately noticeable, but only after a few days.
In short the phones don’t free up RAM well from apps which are not currently in use. Consequently over time the phones get slower and slower and eventually start forcing apps to crash. It is possible to individually close apps from the multitasking menu, but that doesn’t work as well as a complete reboot.
Now given it is standard to review smartphone performance from a fresh boot many reviewers actually missed this fault the first time around – it is something I only noted in my one month later review.
The new firmware is being released over the air, so you should get it automatically. Then again those determined to hop aboard ASAP can keep checking manually by going to Settings –> About device –> Software update –> Update now.
Google At Fault?
Interestingly while Samsung now appears to have the issue in hand, many have questioned if the finger of blame should actually be pointed at Google.
Android Lollipop has suffered memory management problems since it was originally launched in October and Android 5.0.1, 5.0.2 and 5.1 have all failed to fully fix it. Android 5.1.1 is next in line and Samsung is actually working on getting this to both phones in super quick time, which is a potential game changer.
Still it appears Samsung has beaten Google to the punch here, quite a scalp given Nexus devices still struggle with the same issue
The Galaxy S6 (left) is a super phone, but it feels new range rather than a Galaxy S5 successor
Memory bug aside, it is currently unknown what G920FXXU1AODG brings to the party with no information available on its reference to “New and / or Enhanced Features”. But given the size of the update – 138.32MB – I doubt they will be significant. This is primarily a performance fixing update and that is the priority.
Of course looking ahead the other big challenge for Samsung would be to squeeze more battery life out of both phones. With all the (perfectly fair) discussion over the merits of whether the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge should have removable batteries, a better answer would have been to give them better stamina from the off.
Still this is a start…