Android didn't change the way they work, Google simply started releasing non-mandatory monthly patches
imo your sentence contradicts itself. to me that's a change.
you and some people get updates, but not everyone does.
The samsung updates only happen on some carriers, the carrier has to approve it.
on carrier branded firmware yes. I've never bought a handset with carrier branded firmware. my OTA updates come from Samsung, without o2/ee/Vodafone etc adding more bloatware.
Older samsung phones dont have that facility at all.
Older iPhones don't get updated either. all new Samsung's get monthly security patches.
I wouldn't call it burying my head in the sand. I wouldn't call this an Android issue at all. It doesn't affect all androids. it's a Qualcomm issue if anything. Or you could call it the handset manufacturers issue.
I'm not an Android fanboy. I owned only iPhones till the 4S came out. Also bought the original iPad. I've since had 3 Flagship Samsung phones, and 2 different Android tablets. I may at some point go back to owning an iPhone. Just way overpriced. I usually root my phone and stick a custom rom on it right away. Held off with my current handset due to Knox/warranty, but it will get rooted further down the road.