In the next couple of weeks Samsung will unveil the successor to the Galaxy S (rumored to be a dual-core Tegra 2 device). I’m sure it will be an awesome piece of hardware, but many Android fans will steer clear of the device based solely on Samsung’s reputation of poor software updates.
For unknown reasons, Samsung has struggled to deliver the Android 2.2 FroYo update to the 4 million U.S. customers who purchased a Galaxy S phone. It might be easier to give them the benefit of the doubt, but Samsung has a poor track record with software updates going back to the their first Android phone (the Behold II) and we see no signs of things getting better.
We wondered aloud before any Galaxy S phones went on sale if Samsung could upgrade their reputation when it came to software support. After six months of waiting we finally gave up and claimed that Samsung had failed to change the impression that they don’t support their products after releasing them.
In the absence of information from Samsung, rumors and speculation have begun to grow wild and I’m sure you have read the crazy stories about why Samsung has yet to deliver the Android 2.2 update to U.S. customers. I have no idea what the real cause of the delay is, but I would agree with those that suggest it might be a political issue between the carriers and Samsung.
The truth is Samsung has delivered Android 2.2 to many Galaxy S phones around the globe. It also appears that the 2.2 update is already finished for most Galaxy S phones in the U.S. because we have seen test builds leak out.
Samsung hit their goal of becoming the top manufacture of Android phones in the U.S., so there is little reason for them to change their current business strategy. The average Android user does not even know what FroYo is, but that is slowly starting to change.
Last week on The Android Show we had a Verizon employee call in and tell us his story about why he stopped recommending Samsung phones. He said that more and more customers were complaining that their new Samsung Fascinate could not play Flash movies (like their friend’s Droid or EVO) and several ended up exchanging their phone for another model that could. This is just one incident, but we have to wonder how many other cell phone salesmen are no longer pushing Samsung phones for fear of the customer complaints they have to deal with.
We just interviewed Samsung at CES and were told “the wait is almost over“, but we emailed Samsung Mobile again to see if they had any new information about the FroYo upgrades.
“We are working to make the Android 2.2/Froyo upgrade available to all U.S. Galaxy S owners as soon as possible. Due to the complexity and unique functionality of each Galaxy S device, we are performing additional testing. Samsung feels it is important to make the Android 2.2/Froyo upgrade available only after we feel that we can give the millions of U.S. Galaxy S owners a simple and reliable upgrade experience.”Samsung Mobile
So just like six months ago, there is nothing new to report. The Android 2.2 upgrade is “coming soon” to U.S. Galaxy S owners and it could arrive at any moment.
Hopefully Samsung delivers these FroYo updates before February 13th, but I doubt that will happen. Most likely we will get the Galaxy S2 announcement and then the Android community will ask again, “But will they ever update it?”