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The Samsung Secret - Why U.S. Galaxy S Phones run Android 2.1 Still

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By The.Samsung.Secret, Junior Member on 14th January 2011, 11:42 AM
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I’m going to step across the NDAs and explain the issues behind the Android Froyo update to Samsung Galaxy S phones in the United States. I think most of you have come to this realization yourself now: the withholding of the Froyo update is a largely political one, not a technological one: Froyo runs quite well on Galaxy S phones, as those of you that have run leaked updates may have noticed.

To explain the political situation, first, a primer on how phone firmware upgrades work for carriers. When a carrier decides to sell a phone, a contract is usually written between the phone manufacturer and the carrier. In this contract, the cost of updates (to the carrier) is usually outlined. Updates are usually broken into several types: critical updates, maintenance updates, and feature updates. Critical updates are those that resolve a critical bug in the phone, such as the phone overheating. Maintenance updates involve routine updates to resolve bugs and other issues reported by the carrier. Finally, feature updates add some new feature in software that wasn’t present before. Critical updates are usually free, maintenance updates have some maintenance fee associated with them, and feature updates are usually costly.
In the past, most phone updates would mainly consist of critical and maintenance updates. Carriers almost never want to incur the cost of a feature update because it is of little benefit to them, adds little to the device, and involves a lot of testing on the carrier end. Android has changed the playing field, however – since the Android Open Source Project is constantly being updated, and that information being made widely available to the public, there is pressure for the phone to be constantly updated with the latest version of Android. With most manufacturers, such as HTC, Motorola, etc. This is fine and considered a maintenance upgrade. Samsung, however, considers it a feature update, and requires carriers to pay a per device update fee for each incremental Android update.

Now, here’s where the politics come in: most U.S. carriers aren’t very happy with Samsung’s decision to charge for Android updates as feature updates, especially since they are essentially charging for the Android Open Source Project’s efforts, and the effort on Samsung’s end is rather minimal. As a result of perhaps, corporate collusion, all U.S. carriers have decided to refuse to pay for the Android 2.2 update, in hopes that the devaluation of the Galaxy S line will cause Samsung to drop their fees and give the update to the carriers. The situation has panned out differently in other parts of the world, but this is the situation in the United States.

Some of you might have noticed Verion’s Fascinate updated, but without 2.2 : This is a result of a maintenance agreement Samsung must honor combined with Verizon’s unwillingness to pay the update fees.
In short, Android 2.2 is on hold for Galaxy S phones until the U.S. carriers and Samsung reach a consensus.

Some might wonder why I didn’t deliver this over a more legitimate news channel – the short answer: I don’t want to lose my job. I do, however, appreciate transparency, which is why I'm here.
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14th January 2011, 02:15 PM |#2  
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Interesting.. thank you for that

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14th January 2011, 04:07 PM |#3  
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this has been an issue since the Samsung Omnia (SGH-i900) came out. Promises of updates to no avail. No updates, just do it yourself!
14th January 2011, 04:09 PM |#4  
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Finally something that makes sense to me. I do have 2.2 on my phone thanks to the folks here on XDA.
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14th January 2011, 09:31 PM |#5  
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I work for Sprint at a service and repair store. We had a memo that the Epic was suppose to get Froyo on Dec 26th, but that they pulled it because it bricked half their test phones and needed more work. I do know that the Intercept had an official update go out for Froyo that bricked roughly 10% of customer's phones and we were instructed to put them back on 2.1, I do know someone who has a legitimate carrier copy of Froyo on their Intercept, its not a Galaxy phone but its still Samsung. What you're saying Samsung is doing(which sounds right/true) is pretty petty. HTC released an update to Froyo for the Evo about 2 weeks after the phone launched. That's what manufacturers should do IMO.
14th January 2011, 11:50 PM |#6  
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In regards to the Epic, i'd like to remind people that originally, it was marketed as having 2.2. Then, closer to release, they changed it to 2.1 "with 2.2 coming soon after." Well, "soon after" has come and gone.

I bought the Epic partly because it suited me better than the Evo, but also because of 2.2. I knew that i would have a current version running. Froyo was part of the basis of my bargain. At this point I'm fed up with samsung. We've been getting teased with 2.2 almost every month for literally 5 months now, and at least for 1-2 months prior to the phone being released (which makes it upwards of 6 months). It is ridiculous.

People who have this phone should just return it when something new comes out. Samsung has breached their promise. Im sure there will be people here who will comment about the fact that you can always root your phone or that they are happy with eclair; that's fine. I bought this phone with the assumption it would perform on par with 2.2, and not have any annoying lags and bugs.

If everyone complains and ditches boycotts samsung phones, then maybe they will change their ways. From everything i have ever read, i never see anyone mention the fact that samsung marketed this device as having 2.2 and subsequently, promising it within a short period of time.

Just my .2 cents
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16th January 2011, 03:17 PM |#7  
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This is one major reason that I am contemplating trading my Epic out for an Evo, I am tired of Sammy's bullshit.

I am realizing that even though it is a good phone, it will soon be "out of date" with the lack of support from every one.
16th January 2011, 03:47 PM |#8  
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All this is bullshit. Us cell carriers suck.

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16th January 2011, 06:23 PM |#9  
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Thumbs down samsung
personally after owning a moment i will never own a samsung phone again. thank got i got an evo shift
16th January 2011, 08:22 PM |#10  
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Interesting. Kinda contradicts with Samsung's marketing agenda during launch of the Galaxy S line in the States. During the launch event in NYC it was clearly stated by Samsung that all variants of Galaxy S line will receive Froyo firmware update, no where it was mentioned that if you are on a US carrier the device upgrade will be subject to terms and conditions set between the manufacturer and the carriers
FF to 4:45
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16th January 2011, 09:01 PM |#11  
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I think it's pretty god damn egregious that they'd charge large sums of money for code thats open source and freely available. I'd also think it has to be against some sort of law or license.
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