Sunday, January 16, 2011

More on Samsung; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Well my last post was the good... now we're about to see some of the bad and ugly. I've been on a lot in the last couple months, (I've got over 100 posts there). Today an anonymous tipster posted some insight into why none of the Samsung Galaxy S phones have received Android 2.2 (FroYo) officially yet.

Anyhow, read past the break, I'll let his post speak for itself.

 Posted by The.Samsung.Secret:
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.

Pretty enlightening stuff... the question will be who will ultimately cede defeat in this dispute. The carriers (and thus, ultimately, us customers) or Samsung?

UPDATE: Samsung has fired back a response, stating that they do not charge for FroYo updates and hope to have some more details on FroYo's status shortly. Who do we believe?


  1. I'm thinking this was just someone trolling.
    The fact that Samsung was so quick to deny it and nobody that worked for Sprint confirmed it.
    I'm more inclined to believe that " 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."

  2. It could very well be Tom, at least I hope that that's the case.

    The statement by "The.Samsung.Secret" was very well-worded and seemed to be an educated opinion, but it's possible that it's an anonymous stab at Samsung from a disgruntled employee or even another smartphone manufacturer.