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Is Samsung Blocking Updates To Froyo? 459

Posted by timothy
from the my-captivate-weeps-for-froyo dept.
jfruhlinger writes "One of the complaints about Android is its fragmentation; many different versions of the OS are out there in the wild, and often users are held back from upgrading by their hardware or their carrier. But now a disturbing rumor has it that Samsung is strong-arming T-Mobile to prevent an over-the-air upgrade to Android 2.2 (Froyo) for Samsung Vibrant owners. The reason? Samsung wants people to shell out for the new Vibrant 4G — which, other than the fact that it ships running Froyo, is largely identical to the Vibrant." Reader CWmike contributes an informative link if you'd like to know which Android vendors are actually delivering timely upgrades.
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Is Samsung Blocking Updates To Froyo?

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  • Open Platform? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @08:59PM (#34871748)

    Hows all that "open platform" "not locked to a walled garden" "no need to jailbreak" Android working out for all the people that rant and rave against the iPhone?

    • by loftwyr (36717) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:01PM (#34871776)

      How's them sour grapes tasting?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gstoddart (321705)

        How's them sour grapes tasting?

        That's not sour grapes, that is deliciously sardonic.

        He has a point, how often do you see someone saying "my Android is the bomb because it's open and I don't need Apple's permission to install software." Apparently you need the permission of Samsung and/or T-Mobile.

        Surprise, every vendor in the world wants to love you in, and Android isn't the silver bullet.

        • Re:Open Platform? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by geniusj (140174) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:20PM (#34872016) Homepage

          I find that I'm free to install whatever I want on my Nexus One. I suppose it depends which vendor you decide to get into bed with.

          • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

            by jo_ham (604554)

            Right, but it can't cut both ways - that argument works, but it counteracts the "fragmentation is not an issue" argument that people like to also air on slashdot (in a 'android can do no wrong' sort of way. (although I agree with your argument)

            It's exactly this sort of thing that serves as a good example; there are totally open, upgradable, do-anything-you-like Android phones (I've used one or two and they are very impressive [my main phone is an iPhone 3G]), and there are phones like the one in the article

          • Re:Open Platform? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by the_womble (580291) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @10:55PM (#34872968) Homepage Journal

            Exactly. There are multiple vendors with open platforms that let you install whatever OS you like. IF you care about open, you should buy one.

            The specs for Archos internet tablets actually says you can install Agnstrom Linux (or another distribution) instead of Android.

            I am unfortunate enough to live in a country where neither the Nexus or Archos tablets or anything else open with a tablet of smaller format seems to be available .

          • by jimicus (737525)

            I don't know how it's working out for people with Google-branded phones, but most of us get the version of android the manufacturer ships and - if we're lucky - the manufacturer feels like updating it at some point in the product's life cycle and the carrier decides to roll the upgrade out.

            If the next version of Android introduces API changes that vast numbers of developers start to work with but my handset doesn't get an upgrade - oh look, a whole bunch of apps I can't run. Gee thanks. Upgrading the hand

        • by alvinrod (889928)
          Which is why there are some people who are still waiting for a MeeGo phone. Given Nokia's past track record, I don't foresee MeeGo users running into the same walls that Android phone owners have.
        • Re:Open Platform? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by HoldmyCauls (239328) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @11:39PM (#34873320) Journal

          You mean T-Mobile needs Samsung's permission. I can run 2.2, 2.3, Cyanogen or another variant, without anyone's permission. I just don't get the support level they would promise. That's been the issue from day one. If I don't need support, why follow the rules?

        • Re:Open Platform? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Friday January 14, 2011 @12:14AM (#34873616) Homepage Journal

          Those people haven't figured out how to install their own version of Android on the phone yet, that's all.

          My (very old) G1 supposedly only runs 1.6, final stamp, last year. I'm running 2.2 on it right now thanks to CyanogenMod [cyanogenmod.com], as are many others.

          How many roll-your-own distros are there of iOS allowing you to upgrade any old phone to the latest version? Hmmm?

          Android is a silver bullet, the problem is people forget to pull the trigger.

          • All models of iPhone with the exception of the original can be updated to iOS 4.x via the regular old Apple process. And given the hardware limitations of the original iPhone, I can't imagine the user experience would be even close to tolerable on that device.

            So no, there are no "roll your own" distros of iOS. No one needs them.

        • Actually, this isn't a matter of permission. The Samsung Galaxy S phones are easily rooted and you can put any of the many awesome community ROMs on there...

          It's more of a matter of Samsung not providing the update. Which despicable just the same, but an entirely different matter.

          Now Motorola on the other hand - Far too few updates, false advertising (Flash on the Milestone, anyone?), AND locked bootloaders that prevent you from installing community ROMs with custom kernels.

      • JUSTIFIED TOP POST (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Lord Ender (156273) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @11:03PM (#34873034) Homepage

        The Samsung Intercept, at least the one distributed by Virgin Mobile, is going to the the Froyo update soon. So any insinuation that Samsung blocks all android updates is false.

        http://twitter.com/virginmobileus/status/24854959556136961# [twitter.com]

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Oh, the platform is open.

      So open that the vendors can make it closed.

      Sad, really.

      • by MrEricSir (398214)

        There's no reason that Google couldn't include rules like "No DRM" or "Upgrades must be allowed." That would certainly make it more open.

        But they didn't do that.

        • Re:Open Platform? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Lazareth (1756336) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:15PM (#34871960)

          Most vendors would never allow that. Not necessarily out of malice, but because it would remove their control of a phone which the customers ultimately will blame them for if it stops working. They would also risk getting in some unwanted crossfire regarding "no DRM". When you get down to it, you have to acknowledge that they're just a business and not necessarily the guardian of your personal opinion about how it should be.

        • Re:Open Platform? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by alvinrod (889928) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:15PM (#34871962)
          It is funny you mention that since I believe Microsoft managed to negotiate terms for their new WP7 phones so that the carriers couldn't block an update for more than one update cycle. They've also been more aggressive about ensuring the manufacturers meet some minimal hardware specification.

          The truth of the matter is that Google probably doesn't care. They just want a phone out their that's making Google searches and serving up Google ads through apps. They don't care if it's a 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, or 2.3 Android phone. They just wanted to ensure that they couldn't be cut out of the new mobile market that was starting to take off. Google is only as open as serves their own interests. They're perfectly willing to make Android entirely open so that manufacturers will adopt it instead of something else like Windows Phone 7, but it will be a cold day in hell before Google open sources their search algorithms.
        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          There's no reason that Google couldn't include rules like "No DRM" or "Upgrades must be allowed."

          Except that it would make the platform really unattractive to networks and manufacturers, or at least as unattractive as the iOS platform. It's called the Open Handset Alliance, not the Open Handset User Alliance.

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          There's no reason that Google couldn't include rules like "No DRM" or "Upgrades must be allowed." That would certainly make it more open.

          But they didn't do that.

          Because it is technically impossible - in the general case - to impose the "Upgrades must be allowed" - it would be akin to ask "Run Linux kernel 2.6 and latest XWindows on a x486 with 16 MB RAM" only because Linux (can't recall the version) used to run quite nicely on such a machine back in 1993-ish.

          However, given the many competing device manufacturers, I believe the balance between the rights of vendors and the rights of consumers will stabilize on a more normal situation in time.
          For the time being, I

    • Re:Open Platform? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:05PM (#34871826)

      Hows all that "open platform" "not locked to a walled garden" "no need to jailbreak" Android working out for all the people that rant and rave against the iPhone?

      Quite well, as long as the Nexus S and/or the various Android Dev Phones are available.

      • Quite well (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall (25149)

        Quite well, as long as the Nexus S and/or the various Android Dev Phones are available.

        Yes, just as the iPhone is a great open platform, for after all we have jailbreaking.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          No amount of Jailbreaking will let you modify the OS.

        • by cduffy (652)

          Huh?

          I can buy a Nexus S, just as you can buy an iPhone 4.

          My Nexus S doesn't need a jailbreak. Your iPhone 4 does.

          What exactly was the point you were trying to make?

        • by Rakishi (759894)

          Yes, just as the iPhone is a great open platform, for after all we have jailbreaking.

          Unless I turn off my iphone then I need to find a computer with the right software before I can use it. Or live with old version of the software assuming I suppose I wasn't stupid enough to upgrade before I decided to jailbreak. That's after I dig through the information to figure out the exact details of how to jailbreak my particular version of the phone and with what limitations. But yeah, other than that it's got a perfectly useful jailbreak.

        • by Redlazer (786403)
          Jailbreaking is an exploit - my phone is open by design, and I unlocked it myself. Just me and a command prompt - the way it ought to be.

          Well, it oughta be totally unlocked regardless, but we're getting closer.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)
      Upgraded my Samsung Galaxy S to Froyo with no issue. Other of course that the Samsun Kies software is incredibly poorly written and it amazes everyone when it works at all.
    • Dunno, [xda-developers.com] it seems okay [xda-developers.com] to me. [xda-developers.com]
    • by msauve (701917)
      What are you prattling about? Whether or not one can upgrade the OS, the Android marketplace is still open to any/all developers who are interested, and apps are not subject to arbitrary review.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Great, I am enjoying CyanogenMod on my Droid.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Hows all that "open platform" "not locked to a walled garden" "no need to jailbreak" Android working out for all the people that rant and rave against the iPhone?

      Bitter-sweet like the real-world freedom:
      a. "fragmentation" still allow for choices. As always, freedom is not gratis, always come with a price (as anything in this world).
      b. one of the sweet consequences: having many competing device manufacturers and the free-flow of information, I can still pick a phone from a manufacturer with less restrictive OS upgrade policies. Can the iPhone owners do the same?

      And to answer to your (potential) question: "what about those that cannot afford to pay the price for th

    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      Well, I don't know about the rest of the Android owners, but I upgraded my Android device to Froyo not long ago. And it's got Angstrom Linux. And the original Android (1.6) OS, triple booting. That took all of half an hour to get set up. Would have been faster but I ignored half the directions because I thought I knew exactly what I was doing, and had to redo some of them later. Oops.

    • by Eil (82413)

      It's working out pretty well for those of us who bought the right one [htc.com]. I don't at all believe that choosing an open platform relieves you of the burden of comparison shopping.

    • Hows all that "open platform" "not locked to a walled garden" "no need to jailbreak" Android working out for all the people that rant and rave against the iPhone?

      With root access, it's working out fine :) Unlike the iPhone, there's a very active development community that's brought completely open builds of the Android Open Source Project to most popular phones. Installing these is extraordinarily simply -- there's even an app in the Android Market (ROM Manager) which will do it all for you (including downloading the latest rom of your choice) in one click.

      Most Android phone users currently have access to not only to multiple different builds of Froyo, but also so

  • by lorenlal (164133)

    So... It's officially the rumor to go along with what we were all thinking would happen anyway. It's nice that an "anonymous T-Mobile" employee can provide the evidence.

    Don't get me wrong, I fully well think this is what will happen/is happening... But I'm going to need to see someone attach their name to this... That or see the Vibrant 4G be out on the market long enough to reasonably justify that something is indeed up beyond pure laziness.

    • by Qwavel (733416)

      This /. article is based on an Android site that I've never heard of is quoting an unnamed person at T-Mobile (the janitor perhaps).

      If we are going to stoop to discussing rumours of this calibre it's going to be a long night.

  • screw vies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Speare (84249) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:03PM (#34871804) Homepage Journal
    I want an OTA update for my Samsung Vibrant. It's a Galaxy S on 2.1 Android, and it's a nice bit of hardware. I don't really need the upgrade but I do wonder why they're not putting anything out OTA. They are dragging their heels on the Kies update. Well, even if it were on Kies, I wouldn't use that piece of junk. Oh, wait, they don't make it for the Mac. It's silly to have such an advanced phone, which can't update itself over the air like pretty much every other smartphone in the past few years can do.
    • Eh, the latest i9000 (European Galaxy S) ROM has OTA updates, and it'll most likely be in the Captivate release.

      If you want to update on your mac, I suggest using Heimdall [xda-developers.com] , 512.pit file, and this ROM [xda-developers.com] . It's most likely the 2.2 update that's been "blocked"

    • by peragrin (659227)

      Random question if your carrier starts limiting you to 2 gb a month for data do you really want to waste 500MB of that for a single update? Sounds like stupidity to me.

      Especially since no carrier stops apple from constantly updating the OS. Yet Android phones are only rarely being updated. 2.2 has been out for 10 months 2.3 is due in a couple of months yet there are still phones being shipped with 2.1 and never being upgraded to 2.2 or beyond.

      Those OTA updates sure seem to be worth it.

      • Apple updates aren't pushed out OTA, and since Apple controls the full stack they also control the timing and pace of updates. For Android device makers, the underlying updates are pushed to them by Google but ultimately it's up to the device manufacturer to lay on the customisations and tweaks for their devices and push it out, with the co-operation of the carriers if they're doing it OTA. So if a device maker sees more profit in differentiating devices with different OS versions than in pushing out an upd

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Panoptes (1041206)
      Samsung has a reputation for not providing OS updates in the hope that Galaxy owners will fork out for a new phone. Visit any of the Samsung user forums around the web and you'll find this to be the hot discussion topic. In spite of producing good phones (mine is a Galaxy Spica/Tab) there are annoying idiosyncrasies that Samsung has persistently refused to address - such as limited Bluetooth functionality, driver issues with USB-PC connection, and no easy way to hook up a keyboard. My next phone is very unl
  • by alvinrod (889928) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:04PM (#34871812)
    The good thing about Android is that it's open and anyone can add features, customizations, etc. to it.

    The bad thing about Android is that the manufacturers and the carriers usually end up raping it and making it a worse experience.

    The ugly part is that Google doesn't seem to care all that much and is perfectly willing to put up with this kind of crap.
    • The good thing about Android is that it's open and anyone can add features, customizations, etc. to it. The bad thing about Android is that the manufacturers and the carriers usually end up raping it and making it a worse experience. The ugly part is that Google doesn't seem to care all that much and is perfectly willing to put up with this kind of crap.

      The ugly part is not actually as ugly as it sounds.

      It is that ugly part which allows me to brew a super-awesome homemade tablet, install Android on it, and then beg people to buy it without getting into the legal mess.

      Translation: That Google is willing to put up with it is same as saying that the consumers can choose what is best for them instead of Google deciding it for them. This is a lot more than which can be said for the other platforms out there.

      • by alvinrod (889928)
        As soon as you do that, let me know. I might consider buying one.

        The reality of the situation is that it results in a worse experience because there aren't people making super-awesome homemade Android tablets.
        • by grumling (94709)

          Well, not yet anyway. Remember that it took a few years for Compaq to re-create the BIOS, and Asian mass-producers to standardize motherboards.

          Once the general form factor is stable we'll see standard parts and connectors. It will likely take a much longer time than it did with PCs (look inside a PC case at all that air), but it will happen.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wall0645 (1665631)
      Perhaps Google is just at that stage in the game. Let Android become the #1 mobile OS, and let everyone want it really bad. *Then* Google can start telling manufacturers to quit the crap, because if they don't they don't get to put the OS everyone wants on their phones. Until then they can't risk losing a potential manufacturer to Microsoft or whoever else is out there.
    • by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @10:09PM (#34872588) Homepage

      The good thing about Android is that it's open and anyone can add features, customizations, etc. to it. The bad thing about Android is that the manufacturers and the carriers usually end up raping it and making it a worse experience. The ugly part is that Google doesn't seem to care all that much and is perfectly willing to put up with this kind of crap.

      And why should it? How many Android phones would manufacturers be able to put on the market if every single one of them had an identical experience, but on slightly different hardware? Allowing phone makers to innovate on top of the base OS is the whole point of releasing Android as an open OS. In case you hadn't noticed, Google even competes with the other manufacturers with its own branded phones! If handset makers can't develop UIs that people like, is Google to blame? Don't buy those phones.

      Honestly, I hear all this about "Android fragmentation" and how terrible it is, but all it really seems to amount to is that people always want the phone they could have bought six months after they bought theirs. We've had that problem with computers for years.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        Honestly, I hear all this about "Android fragmentation" and how terrible it is, but all it really seems to amount to is that people always want the phone they could have bought six months after they bought theirs. We've had that problem with computers for years.

        Wholly agree. It would be similar with speaking, back in the '80-'90, of an "IBM PC market fragmentation" and presented in opposition the "monolithical market of Macintosh computers": haven't heard of it at that time, doesn't ring any truer now for the Android case (and the results of a de-facto situation could be easily seen some years later. Apple should keep inventing to avoid its fate during '90-ies)

        I'm not excluding that, some years in the future, there would be alternative OS-es for the phones that wi

  • Vendor dependence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith (54737) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:05PM (#34871844)

    Not to say this rumor is true, but this is why forced vendor dependence is a bad thing. I'm not sure if Samsung is doing it (and they aren't yet, as I understand it) but if Samsung was doing what Motorola was and signing the kernel, then such fixes and updates would be impossible to install.

    As it stands, you can root a Samsung device and load whatever ROM you want on it. But beware, this is the sort of behavior that they want such lock down for. Not for your security, but to deliberately limit the lifespan of your device and make you buy a new one.

    • this is why forced vendor dependence is a bad thing

      But it can also be a good thing - witness an iPhone untouched by the broad clown-makeup brush of Verizon.

      • by kimvette (919543)

        The problem with Verizon isn't so much the clown-makeup, but the nickle-and diming. In fact I am SHOCKED that Verizon is open-upping AT&T by including tethering. Verizon has long been notorious for locking down ringtones (so you can't make your own, but have to buy from Verizon), locking down or deleting apps (especially games) that ship with the original factory firmware, and otherwise crippling the phones, and then selling you back the features the phone originally shipped with.

        That they are leaving t

    • by peragrin (659227)

      And yet happens when you root and load that ROM and brick your phone? you can no longer take it to the factory for repair. Even if it was working fine with the new ROM your warrenty is void, so when you drop the phone they won't replace it for you.

      You lose all the protections that you can get. If something happens to my iphone i can take it and get it replaced for free. Once you root your phone that is no longer an option.

      • by Kaenneth (82978) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @10:07PM (#34872566) Homepage Journal

        http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/15C50.txt [house.gov]
        -CITE- 15 USC Sec. 2302 02/01/2010
        -EXPCITE- TITLE 15 - COMMERCE AND TRADE
                CHAPTER 50 - CONSUMER PRODUCT WARRANTIES
        -HEAD- Sec. 2302. Rules governing contents of warranties
        (...)
        No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name;

        (some exceptions, etc...)

    • by Solandri (704621)

      But beware, this is the sort of behavior that they want such lock down for. Not for your security, but to deliberately limit the lifespan of your device and make you buy a new one.

      They don't care if you buy a new device. Except for T-Mobile, none of the carriers will give you a discount on your monthly bill once your service contract is up. Since most to all of the cost of a new phone is subsidized by your monthly bill, it makes little to no difference whether you buy a new phone or stick with your old o

  • Demand your rights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by straponego (521991) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:15PM (#34871972)
    Customers should demand that the phone's come with documentation stating A) What upgrade rights the customer has, B) The minimum span for which the vendor promises to support the phone by issuing upgrades to the standard Android build or a variant, and C) In the event that the company cannot fulfill (B), for example, because that particular model sold poorly, or the company goes out of business, that the phones will be completely unlocked (except for the black box components that let you violate FCC regs) and third party vendors or OSS hackers can issue their own upgrades, at the customer's own risk. Oh, and include a revert to original state option in case an upgrade goes south.

    These rules could probably use some fine tuning, but I believe that this will make purchasing decisions simpler and budgets more predictable. It will also establish a sense of trust and even loyalty with the vendors that follow this model. As it stands, very few phone makers or telcos have earned any trust whatsoever. We just have to guess who will screw us hardest-- and when the contestants are Microsoft, Sony, AT&T, Verizon, Apple, Samsung, that's not a fun game.

    Smart phones are expensive, and they're taking the place of PCs in many areas. PC vendors don't restrict your ability to install an alternative OS. We should expect the same from phone vendors. The status quo encourages forced waste-- which is always profitable for a few scumbags, but it's bad for all other life on the planet, consumers included.
    • by alvinrod (889928)

      Customers should demand—

      Good luck with that. Most customers don't understand the technology behind what they're buying, let alone care. A small minority of phone buyers might even be able to understand what your post is about.

    • by vought (160908)

      PC vendors don't restrict your ability to install an alternative OS.

      Nor do they subsidize the purchase of your PC by signing you up for a monthly service contract. There's no ETF when you sell your PC after six months to but a better one.

      The carrier can do what it wants with its equipment.
       

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by PCM2 (4486)

      Customers should demand that the phone's come with documentation stating A) What upgrade rights the customer has

      None. The product was sold as-is. You have the rights delineated in your warranty, which is included in the box. Next question?

  • This rumor is interesting. I wonder if there's a similar situation with Motorola/T-Mobile's failure to keep their promise of updating the Cliq XT from 1.5.

    • by alvinrod (889928)
      It's all attributable to economics.

      It takes so many work hours to ensure that the new version doesn't cause the device to completely brick for any number of reasons. It takes more hours to make sure the carrier will let the device be upgraded and that it will work on their network.

      There's a strong incentive not to update the device at all. Everyone having the latest and greatest reduces the incentive to buy a new device. There's also less incentive when you don't know when the next update will come fr
  • 2.2 froyo is on mine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by charnov (183495) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:29PM (#34872152) Homepage Journal

    My tmobile vibrant runs just fine with froyo because I put it on there. It would be nice if it was an ota update but it works great all the same.

    • by 6ULDV8 (226100)

      Would you really want the OTA version? Complete with all the carrier specific crap they load?

  • by gavron (1300111) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:30PM (#34872166)
    Samsung isn't blocking, T-Mobile is. Samsung put forth the effort to develop the update. T-Mobile wants to sell more phones and new contracts.

    It's bad enough the two worst cellphone carriers are making the iphone (AT&T) and android (T-Mobile) look bad... but let's not blame the manufacturers. HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and others have done a great job of providing open upgradeable platforms... AND developing upgrades for them with hardware specific vendor modifications.

    Blame AT&T and T-Mobile for sucking. Samsung is ok in my book.

    E

    • Please, PLEASE take Motorola off that list. Milestone and Defy owners are STILL waiting on Froyo, and the bootloaders are signed so that you can't roll your own updates. The lowest of the low, when it comes to Android device manufacturers.

      Gingerbread on those devices, whether officially or community builds? Very unlikely... :(

  • by feepness (543479) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:42PM (#34872306) Homepage
    I really like it actually. GPS is spotty compared to iPhone, but other than that it is world's better (in my opinion). The OLED is gorgeous.

    That said I will never purchase another Samsung device that needs updating. I was promised Froyo in September after purchasing in June. Still haven't gotten it. Sure I got my own Froyo update in December, but I expected an update and got shafted. I'd read bad reports about Samsung not updating in the past and thought "this time will be different... this is a flagship device." Nope.

    I dislike the "this group messed up, so hate the whole company" attitude, so I would consider a TV or the like. But not a phone.
    • by xenoc_1 (140817)

      Consider a TV only. Anything that needs software from Samsung is worthless. Google the BD-P1600 Blu-Ray player as example. Won't play Warner Blu-Rays and each update makes it worse.

      • by adolf (21054)

        Consider a TV only. Anything that needs software from Samsung is worthless.

        My Samsung TV has needed a variety of software updates.

        FWIW.

  • I know the fix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr_Plattz (1589701) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:45PM (#34872346)

    Call me naive, but it seems to me that a lot of these problems can be resolved by Google allowing (and release a application to do it) for any device to be flashed reliably to a stock Android [stable] release. Past and present.

    Manufacturers don't want to update there fancy phone and custom UI to the latest? That's fine. But the user is still allowed to manually update themselves and lose the original features they bought into. Guess what -- those fancy features that brought them to your phone may prove to be optional and there's a much better chance they won't choose your hardware platform moving forward. This may be a big enough kick up the butt that the manufacturers need.

    • I don't think there's anyway to reasonalby expect this to work. First off, you'd need to root the device first, second stock android might not even fully support your phone's hardware.
  • Just want to say thanks for this info. I haven't been keeping up with Android developments.

    The only things that draw me personally to Android is the thought that I have control over the software because, of the last 3 phones I've bought I've been forced into it because of outdated software. (p800 Symbian UIQ went outdated, K750i SonyEricson software outdated, c900 poor warranty service, n95 s60v3 not too outdated yet but I'm sure will be soon and nothing can do about it). I basically caved in 3 months ago a

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:54PM (#34872448) Journal

    The thing is, Samsung preventing the users from upgrading may cause us to abandon the phone, but in what bizarro world would we ever buy another device from Samsung? The thing about Android is that many different manufacturers sell handsets, and if I have to buy another device anyway, I might as well buy from a manufacturer that delivers TIMELY UPDATES.

    So, I'm thinking this will play out as just another rumor caused by severe update anxiety.

    • Samsung preventing the users from upgrading may cause us to abandon the phone, but in what bizarro world would we ever buy another device from Samsung?

      How about the world in which the only viable competitor to iPod touch, a pocket size Android device that isn't a phone and has the Market, is the Samsung Galaxy Player [brighthand.com]?

  • Not surprising? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by samfisher5986 (1927786) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:55PM (#34872460)
    Samsung have done this since their first Android phone, the Galaxy i7500. Why do you continue buying Samsung phones when you know they will do this?
  • by mattbee (17533) <matthew@bytemark.co.uk> on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:56PM (#34872470) Homepage

    We're still working out which vendors are going to support their phones for the long run, like Apple does with their iPhone, and which ones are expecting you buy a new one every year, like Nokia. My expectation in 2011 is that if I spend £500 on a new phone, I expect to get software updates for as long as the hardware is viable, *especially* when the manufacturer isn't bearing the cost of building the software! If Samsung don't deny this rumour and confirm they'll be issuing minor Android updates, I don't see how they expect to compete against Apple, and every other Android vendor out there. The ridiculous, wasteful "fire and forget" model of smartphone development is long dead, and manufacturers that try it will fix it, or exit the market pretty quickly.

    Even 8 years ago, I never understood why Nokia didn't try to sell their phones as long-term investments, and ship better software for their premium phones as they developed it, rather than trying to hawk us a new bit of plastic every 18 months.

    • by slapout (93640)

      Personally, I think if the carriers want you to sign a two year contract, they should make updates available for two years.

  • by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated AT ema DOT il> on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:57PM (#34872472) Journal
    I frequent XDA a lot and the warnings were clear. If you're not buying a Nexus device (Nexus One/Nexus S), you will most likely be left in the dark for an official upgrade path. The G1 and the original, slower Galaxy, for example, never received an official upgrade past 1.6. Personally, I don't think carriers/OEMs have a lot of demand from most of their consumer base to engineer upgrades. This news might gain much more attention since it's blatantly obvious that Samsung was gunning for obsoleting one of their flagship phones so quickly, but unless video calling really takes off (doesn't seem to have done so yet), it's not the biggest deal for many.

    From a technical standpoint, it's completely irrelevant. Save for the upgraded modem and the front-facing camera, it's the original Vibrant. (They probably added more tricks in the hardware to make rooting harder, though.) Additionally, it's pretty trivial [xda-developers.com] to add a front-facing camera to the current Vibrant and there is an unofficial carrier-engineered version of Froyo for it floating around on the Internet. For starters, it has Wifi Calling natively bundled into it. It's also somewhat faster. I flashed my Dad's Vibrant with it before I gave it to him as a Christmas gift and it works amazingly for him.

    Just the mere existence of that ROM suggests that an update might be around the corner. The question, though, is how wide T-Mobile and Samsung is making that corner for people.
  • Real Reason (Score:5, Informative)

    by canajin56 (660655) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @10:06PM (#34872558)
    The real reason they are stonewalling on the 2.2 update for Vibrant is this: When they released the 2.2 update for the Vibrant in Canada, the update worked fine for a week or two, and then like clockwork bricked a huge percentage of the phones that updated. And when I say bricked, I'm not being liberal with that word, after a week or so running the Samsung 2.2 update, the SD card would become corrupt, and recovery mode would be unable to format it. My wife and I both have Vibrants, and it happened to them both one day apart. Samsung has been silent on the matter. Not surprising they'd avoid moving sending the 2.2 update out to US Vibrant owners, and also not surprising that they're refusing to explain why. Bell at least is fixing them, but lots of people on the XDA forum are saying their "repaired" phones are bricking again in short order.
  • I think that if there was real capitalism in the mobile phone world this would not happen. Vendors would be competing on price and performance so they would offer free, or very low cost firmware upgrades to keep customers happy.

    In the world as it exists now, commerce is about lying and tricking users into contracts that are effectively organized theft. How about the %6500 markup http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/news/1001/gallery.americas_biggest_ripoffs/ [cnn.com] on the cost of text messages? Same kind of non

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

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