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

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The.Samsung.Secret

New member
Jan 14, 2011
1
227
Hello,

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.
 

aar0nix

Member
Jan 21, 2009
10
0
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! :)
 

tangstang

Senior Member
Dec 21, 2010
62
1
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.
 

blada4life

New member
Dec 23, 2010
1
1
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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mikeschevelle

Senior Member
Dec 27, 2007
1,434
111
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.
 

lqaddict

Senior Member
Jul 19, 2010
1,347
71
NYC
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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wf3uGTAeQy4
FF to 4:45
 
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Hot_Hands

Senior Member
Jul 12, 2010
175
29
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.
 

emuneee

Senior Member
Mar 20, 2008
803
96
Raleigh, NC
www.emuneee.com
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.

Disclaimer: I am not defending Samsung. Upgrading an embedded platform (regardless is the software is open source or not) is an extensive process that takes the time of engineers and testers...so it does cost Samsung money. I think the argument that just because Android is open source, Samsung has no reason to charge carriers for updates is off-base. This type of R&D cost money....maybe not a whole bunch, but some investment dollars are still allocated.

With that said, if Samsung led the public to believe that US Galaxy S devices would be upgraded to Android 2.2, then they need to absolutely hold up their end of the bargain. A lot of these corporate types lack long-term thinking. Samsung could begin to build a good fanbase if they pickup the slack in the customer support department by providing timely upgrades, fixes, and other types of support. This fanbase will continue to buy their products and recommend others to do so. This is why Apple consistently ranks highest customer satisfaction, they provide software support for their products for at least a year, mostly two.

At this point, their public image (in my eyes) has taken a dive. I own the Captivate, a Samsung monitor, and digital camera. But these will be my last three Samsung products forever and I will not recommend any others Samsung products.
 
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mistermr

Senior Member
Nov 16, 2010
114
4
Fredericksburg, VA
Thanks for bringing this side of the story to light, and risking your job to do so. If this story holds any bearing, Samsung is an entirely terrible company who hold zero care for their customers. They are only concerned with profits and pushing out new products instead of making their current customers happy and possibly turning them into repeat customers. Pitiful.
 

ScratchSF

Senior Member
Sep 6, 2010
94
13
Great OP, which leads to three comments / thoughts.

First, if a carrier, such as T-Mobile USA decided to carry the rumored Vibrant 4G, this would suggest that either 1) they have renegotiated their contract with Samsung or 2) that they don't care about their customer base - given what their existing Vibrant customers have experienced. We will know, in due course, what path T-Mobile USA has chosen to walk.

Second, it sounds like the iPhone has an advantage over Android based products because Apple is in a position to update the operating system without involving the carrier. If this is the case, then financially, one would expect carriers to start pushing the iPhone to their customers. I don't see this happening yet as many carriers have really built up their Android lines. But it will be interesting to see what happens now that other carrier(s) start to carry the iPhone.

Third, it seems like this is an area where Google really needs to step in and set expectations - with carriers, manufacturers, and consumers. Right now, we are witnessing a growing dissatisfaction with Samsung. However a recent report showed that the best manufacturer for pushing updates - HTC - only had a 50% track record. Consumers, who are locked into a 2 year contract, will grow frustrated if their only means of getting the latest operating system (including some "non-critical" bug fixes) is to purchase another phone at full price. This will affect how Android and Google are perceived.
 

Scrtcwlvl

Senior Member
Aug 4, 2008
260
21
Seriously, why do we need to keep telling people this:
Never
Ever
Ever
Buy a phone for promised future updates.

You buy it for what it can do now, if it can't do that, then you have zero right to complain when it doesn't.
Yet in all seriousness, what does it matter to anyone on this forum? We all have the capabilities to upgrade our devices to the latest roms. Yes, pushed out updates give us updated drivers, packages and all around system fixes, but seriously guys, even with a N1 I don't even wait for OTAs.
 

Shipyaad

Member
May 23, 2010
27
3
OP, can you maybe link to some official documentation on this? Not that I doubt you for a second, but putting out some dox would light a serious fire under Samsung's ass...
 

Moxie3000

Senior Member
Jan 15, 2011
75
11
So does this have anything to do with the fact that AT&T was/is(?) dumping the Captivate on the marketplace?

Last July, it was giving away Captivates. I have heard rumors that some folks are STILL able to procure free Captivates.

Is this the beginning of a falling out between Samsung and AT&T?
 

Acid'sMark

Senior Member
Aug 25, 2010
219
13
Awesome, thanks for the news. This article explains a lot but on a different note, I'm not sure about "effort on Samsung’s end is rather minimal" is 100% accurate. Have you seen how crazy TouchWiz is integrated into stock Android OS, it is pretty ridiculous when comparing to to Motorola's Moto Blur...
 

probation

Member
Sep 2, 2010
22
1
No update - No problem

No worries. The lack of update to Froyo forced my hand. I found the wonderful world of XDA and also taught myself how to choose custom ROMs, tweak features, and remove Sprint bloatware that I never wanted anyway.

So this little spat of theirs has actually provided great benefit to me. I've learned how to customize my phone and I've learned that Samsung is a ****ing nitwit of a company. The Galaxy S is my first and last Samsung phone. I'm very happy with it, currently, with my custom ROM. However, when the time for an upgrade comes, so long Sammy.

I hope your extra fees for open source software covers your future losses from me and others jumping ship.

Oh wait, no I don't. :)
 
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    Hello,

    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.
    2
    The way Samsung operates.

    I have recently written this comment on Ars Technica article on Android update percentage for manufacturers and it seems like more people will be able to read what I have to say here.

    Haven't proofread it at all but I hope I can get the message across the people here.

    It's quite long but I'd appreciate it if you read it all. You can contact me @dong1225 or mail me [email protected].

    Please try not to buy Samsung products.

    To be more specific, any product that requires product update and proper software support.

    They are one of the most evil tech companies I have seen although it can be argued otherwise that there are rarely non-evil companies in today's capitalism society.

    First of all, many of the price reduction for their production comes from the exploitation they impose on their home country, Korea. Samsung charges about 3 times the price they do for the handsets they sell in US ($100 for subsidized Galaxy S = $400 subsidized in Korea. $450 and $1200 accordingly unsubsidized) and claims it is due to "localized hardware features" like DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) which in fact costs $20 in parts to add and takes out many features and locks them down to carrier provided over charged functions. Then they go on to portray themselves in advertisement as the "National" defense against waves of foreign smartphones invading and claims to "defeat" iPhone and other foreign smartphones whether HTC or Motorola or Blackberry. In Korea, we have a strange sense of nationality in that we were invaded by both China and Japan in the past and was colonized, and also ended up a warground for Communism and Capitalism during the Korea War.

    It proved quiet effective and this has led to Korea being only countries with Android taking up more than half of the smartphone market share with 91% of the phones being Samsung made. For the same reason before, Blackberries, which unarguably, still takes up a huge chunk of smartphone market in many countries, failed miserably even before the Android or iPhone handset appeared before. (Samsung was still making craptastic WinMo phones and was also advertising them as "iPhone Killer" with product cycle of essentially 4 months and each product being dropped support with many getting NO UPDATE AT ALL AFTER INITIAL RELEASE)

    Secondly, they have been exploiting the venture start-ups and parts manufacturer to monstrous degrees resembling the business tactics of Commodore back in the 70s.
    To simply describe in a memetic way.

    Step 1. Strike a deal with manufacturer/License a technology from start-up.
    Step 2. Make products using those tech and advertise as their own.
    Step 3. Don't pay up and keep delaying them or pay in small amounts.
    Step 4. When they complain, threaten them that you will no longer take orders from them. (You have the biggest buying power in Korea after all and they NEED money to work for other company now)
    Step 5. When deemed worthy (usually a start-up with ingenious tech) purchase them for dirt cheap price (they're on the brink of bankruptcy from you not paying up)
    Step 6. Advertise the product as the innovative pinnacle of Samsung itself!
    Step 7. ?????
    Step 8. MASSIVE Profit

    Sure this probably isn't only happening in Korea but they are effectively abusing their sheer size as No.1 Electronics manufacturer and force companies into submission unlike "comparatively" desirable eco-system of the Sillicon Valley, where start-ups can find proper funding and get purchased if they desire for fair price with proper competition and market laws applied.

    Lastly, extending upon abusing their financial power, they control the country's press and politicians.
    Sure, you may say, that happens all the time!
    People accuse press of being bought out for their "opinion" all the time. It is not simple as that.
    They practically blackmail major newspaper publications (no need for that for major broadcasting stations as they already have ties with people in the industry) into writing favorable stories on the company and their products in terms of ads.
    That's right, they don't do ads for papers that badmouth them and the sad reality is that their ubiquitous full page ads apparently take up around 50% of most of the newspapers' ad income. Thus their marketing of Samsung phones as "Pro-Korea" products and justification of charging 3 times the price for national customers, and just how much superior in their products are in comparison to the foreign ones whether they be Blackberry, iPhone or the same Android, HTC and Motorola, is in its literal sense, branded and brainwashed into the public's mind in every direction possible.

    This is not something I am just making up as conspiracy nor am I affiliated with any of their competition.
    I am just letting the people of the Western world see how Samsung treats their home country and what their business mind is.

    I can confidently assert that rumor of Samsung holding back updates is not merely a rumor. It is a business move for them, a way to maximize their profit in any way they can.

    Thanks for reading my rant/story, pardon any gramatical errors I may have made as I didn't proof read this and I hope you consider this information when you make a future purchase, even in the smallest degree.
    2
    All this is bullshit. Us cell carriers suck.

    Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk
    2
    Seriously, why do we need to keep telling people this:
    Never
    Ever
    Ever
    Buy a phone for promised future updates.

    You buy it for what it can do now, if it can't do that, then you have zero right to complain when it doesn't.
    Yet in all seriousness, what does it matter to anyone on this forum? We all have the capabilities to upgrade our devices to the latest roms. Yes, pushed out updates give us updated drivers, packages and all around system fixes, but seriously guys, even with a N1 I don't even wait for OTAs.
    1
    Finally something that makes sense to me. I do have 2.2 on my phone thanks to the folks here on XDA.