I have very little experience with Android, or any other mobile device operating system.

I'm accustom to using Linux operating systems, where any time there is an update I can typically upgrade to the very latest version of the operating system without any roadblocks.

I have Galaxy Tab A (Model SM-T550) tablet, that I've barely used the entire time I've had it, and I'm wanting to give it to my Godson as a gift. Before giving it so him, I wanted to upgrade it to the latest Android OS, so that he wouldn't be limited by any missing features that this tablet's older Android version might have.

In the settings menu, I found a Software update feature and tried to update. This is what it said:

The latest updates have already been installed:
Current version: T550XXU1CQJ6/T550XAR1CQJ6/

When I go to "About Tablet", I see that this device has Android 7.1.1 installed and I read somewhere that Android version 10 was released in 2019.

Is this the type of support that I can expect from Samsung when buying one of their Android devices? If so, this will be the last dollar they'll get from me.

Is there any way to upgrade this Galaxy Tab A (Model SM-T550) to the latest Android, or at least a later version than 7.1.1?

I'm very technically savvy on laptops and PCs, if you could direct me to a thorough guide, where someone has accomplished this, I could probably pull it off, its just that I've never really tried to do anything like this with tablets or mobile phones.

Please advise me. Also, if this isn't doable, and I wanted to buy him a new tablet, which brand would be the best about always allowing upgrades to the latest Android? If there's a brand that does that, that will be the only brand I'll buy in the future.

1 Answer 1


If you are lucky for a phone or tablet you can get one major Android version upgrade and security updates up to 2 years after the device has been released to market. For cell phone it the support period depends on how cheap or expensive the device was and how many devices of that type were sold. Usually the more expensive and the more devices were sold the longer you may get updates and upgrades (e.g. ~3 years).

After that time span usually do won't get any official updates or upgrades anymore.

This situation is sad. Samsung is one of the manufacturer who release updates for a long time for it's premium devices.

If you want to get a newer Android version you need to unlock/root the device and install a custom ROM (if there is a working one available for your device).

The only manufacturer on the market who provides updates to smartphone and tablets for a long time is currently Apple.

Edit 2024-05:

Some manufacturer like Google, Samsung, FairPhone have now extended the time span they provide updates for certain device models. They now provide up to 5-8 years of security and/or Android version updates (depends on the device model).

  • Wow! Thanks Robert. What about the tablets sold through Google's own store? Surely those will run the latest Android for many years, no? Jul 9, 2020 at 10:12
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    @LonnieBest Google usually promises two Android major version upgrades and 3 years security updates. In my opinion still half the time I expect as a customer. The short update time is also bad considering the world wide increasing electronic scrap problem.
    – Robert
    Jul 9, 2020 at 10:14
  • I'm astonished that the Android customer base tolerates this non-sense. This leads to so much confusion. Every time I look up an article, on how to do something on Android, the steps are never exactly as instructed; menu options are missing or the route to a destination is different than described. The only way to eliminate this atrocious non-uniformity is to develop devices that are always upgrade-able to the latest OS (similar to Firefox and Chrome as web browsers). This is the best case I've heard for choosing Apple over Android. Jul 9, 2020 at 10:31
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    @LonnieBest Even if all Android devices world wide would use the same Android version most articles won't match your device because all the manufacturer modify the ROM (some nearly undetectable, some manufacturer totally rewrite parts of the system), especially the device settings look different for every manufacturer.
    – Robert
    Jul 14, 2020 at 15:16

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