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Is Samsung Blocking Updates To Froyo?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the my-captivate-weeps-for-froyo dept.

Cellphones 459

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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Open Platform? (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Open Platform? (5, Funny)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871776)

How's them sour grapes tasting?

Re:Open Platform? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34871820)

Like sadness.

Re:Open Platform? (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871856)

nomnomonom

Re:Open Platform? (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871894)

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? (4, Insightful)

geniusj (140174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872016)

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:Open Platform? (1, Redundant)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872506)

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, which is worse off than the supposed "totally locked down" iPhone because it is now clear that the manufacturer wants to artificially stall the phone and keep it in amber, never to be updated to newer versions of Android for no technical reason. Sure you can jailbreak or root it, but I thought the whole point was that you went Android *not* to do that.

It is looking more and more like there are two entirely separate Android markets - the market that is attempting to replicate the iPhone as closely as possible, including its ecosystem (tightly controlled user experience, less user freedom), and then there's the original Android market, with the freedom to do anything you want. Unfortunately the former is more attractive to vendors and carriers

Re:Open Platform? (2)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872040)

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? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872722)

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."

I have a cousin in high school whose hobby is video game programming. He asked me to order an Archos 43 for him for just this reason, and every other weekend, he asks me whether it has come yet.

Re:Open Platform? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871792)

Oh, the platform is open.

So open that the vendors can make it closed.

Sad, really.

Re:Open Platform? (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871854)

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? (4, Insightful)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#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? (4, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Open Platform? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872496)

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.

Re:Open Platform? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872532)

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 think Android is a young platform (younger than iPhone and Blackberry anyway), we are seeing "transient" regimes ("growth pains" rather than "artritis pains").

Re:Open Platform? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872632)

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.

Bingo.

Because for all their marketing hype (from an ad agency?!?! whoda thunk!) Google is all about milking as much $$$ from their customers that they can.

The difference is Google's customers aren't you, me, or any other normal person. Google's real customers are the ones who pay for ads, or pay for special placement in Google's "it's not a seach result" search results.

Why do you think Google's so big on Net Neutrality? If Verizon can charge someone to send bits across Verizon's considerable networks, that all the less money available in the market that Google can charge? Don't think so? Between Google and Verizon, which one has a private jumbo jet?

Hell, even Microsoft licensed then-Sun's Java patents for C# and .Net. Not Google, because Sun actually wanted a good chunk of change to allow Google to use that IP. Nope, Google tried to be underhanded and subvert Sun's IP.

Google's all about money - for Google.

Hell, Google outfitted a boatload of vehicles to, among other things, go around and snoop private wireless networks.

And yet, there's always some fanboi who's bought into the "don't be evil" marketing tripe.

Re:Open Platform? (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872022)

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.

Re:Quite well (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872328)

No amount of Jailbreaking will let you modify the OS.

Re:Quite well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872560)

No amount of Jailbreaking will let you modify the OS.

You are absolutely incorrect. I have flashed various kernels, modems and Android code-bases onto my phone in the last three months.

Re:Quite well (1)

Tordre (1447083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872636)

I assume the parent was talking about jail-breaking on iOS. From what i can gather you can't do all the things you listed on iOS.

Re:Quite well (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872336)

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?

Re:Quite well (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872406)

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.

Dell Streak (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872674)

Working out perfectly for me. Updated mine by myself from 1.6 to 2.2 without any hassles. Beats the heck out of a locked iPhone, or windows phone. I can side load any android app I want to, plus, without a carrier locked rom, I have tethering, wi-fi hot spot and no bloatware.

Re:Open Platform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34871862)

Oh, simple ...

iPhone is one device from one supplier.

Android is available in high tech toilet brushes. If you want an completley hackable phone get a nexus phone.
The rest the carriers do as they please and they are judged by their customers. This year there will be a lot more players
as well as small time chineese anonymous players.

You choose, it is like branded PC or non branded PC.

G

Re:Open Platform? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34871938)

Apple is the the strict parent that doesn't say they love, but makes sure all of your needs are taken care of. Google is the parent that leaves you the car keys and some cash for pizza, but also may have left the front door open when they left for their vacation.

Re:Open Platform? (1)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872730)

Well that make you sound like you need a lot of assistance in your life :p
I pretty much like being able to decide if I should buy pizza with the cash or another thing and if I wanna take the car or not. I'm old enough! ;)
And that's also why I prefer Android (while far from perfect) to iOS on an ideological point of view

Re:Open Platform? (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871974)

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.

Re:Open Platform? (0)

geniusj (140174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872042)

You "upgraded" from gingerbread to froyo? ;)

Re:Open Platform? (4, Informative)

malkuth23 (451489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872212)

The Samsung Galaxy S comes with Eclair. It can be upgraded to Froyo if you have the patience to work with Kies... Maybe you are thinking of the Nexus S.

Re:Open Platform? (3, Informative)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872708)

Actually you can upgrade via heimdal, odin or even just "self update" it - read XDA forums for details. I never use KIES - it's really really bad software :p
The Galaxy S also has GingerBread through community ports but it's not fully functional for now. (Froyo 2.2.1 is through Samsung updates)

Re:Open Platform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872714)

Most Galaxy S phones initial shipped with eclair (2.1). The Nexus S shipped with gingerbread.

Re:Open Platform? (2)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872034)

Dunno, [xda-developers.com] it seems okay [xda-developers.com] to me. [xda-developers.com]

Re:Open Platform? (2)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872076)

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.

Re:Open Platform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872184)

Quite nice, thanks.

--A Nexus One owner

Re:Open Platform? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872230)

Yeah, that 'choice' thing really throws some people. You 'choose' to get a phone from a company which provides updates. Oh, and before you mention fragmentation:

http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/platform-versions.html [android.com]

It's not a problem. Well, unless you have an old phone or something. Looks like Android is outselling iPhone too, so it looks like people are happy to buy 'open platforms'.

Re:Open Platform? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872310)

Great, I am enjoying CyanogenMod on my Droid.

Re:Open Platform? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872410)

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 their freedom"? Well, I'll argue that they are in the very same situation as an iPhone owner (no better but again not worse). Is this enough of an argument why relying on Android (in general) is better then on iPhone?

Re:Open Platform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872424)

It's terrible. Samsung Behold 2 Owner stuck on 1.6.

Re:Open Platform? (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872492)

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.

Re:Open Platform? (2)

Eil (82413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872612)

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.

Re:Open Platform? (1)

shellbeach (610559) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872704)

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 some very good builds of Gingerbread available. As far as the Vibrant is concerned, from a quick look on xda it appears as though there's at least one very good Froyo rom out there together with a currently experimental build of Gingerbread. Obtaining root access on the Vibrant appears trivial.

The great thing about Android is that you don't have to rely on the phone manufacturer to provide an update. Personally, this seems a much better philosophy than being locked into a single, closed-source system ... but ymmv :)

OK? (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871782)

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.

Re:OK? (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871970)

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.

Re:OK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872276)

The article also says:

"That HSPA+ advantage, however, has nothing to do with the hardware. The reason the Vibrant 4G can take full advantage of those speeds is because it ships with Froyo pre-installed."

Which I'm 99% sure is incorrect. The "HSPA+ advantage" would come from dual 3g modems like the t-mobile G2 has (provided this phone is even real, since it's still rumored). Anyway, just adds to the discredit of this source.

screw vies (3, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871804)

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.

Re:screw kies* (1)

teh31337one (1590023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871988)

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"

Re:screw vies (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872086)

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.

Re:screw vies (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872322)

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 update for which the user isn't paying, they're not necessarily going to be the keenest to jump on the update bandwagon.

it's a bit of simple economics from the device manufcturer, and fair enough too if they want to continue operating as they did 10 years ago.

Re:screw vies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872334)

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.

Turn on wifi, walk into a mcdonalds, order a big mac and an apple pie. Sit down in the grossest booth you can find and click on update. Then you'll feel great that you didn't waste 500MB, but you'll feel sick because of all the other stuff.

Re:screw vies (3, Informative)

Panoptes (1041206) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872698)

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 unlikely to be a Samsung.

The good, the bad, and the ugly (4, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:The good, the bad, and the ugly (1)

Musically_ut (1054312) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872080)

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.

Re:The good, the bad, and the ugly (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872186)

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.

Re:The good, the bad, and the ugly (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872562)

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:The good, the bad, and the ugly (1)

chowdahhead (1618447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872552)

I don't know how Google could assert control over this. Android is open source and under the Open Handset Alliance, of which most phone and tablet manufacturers, and some network carriers are members. Furthermore, tthe mechanisms that lock out third party roms from being installed are based in hardware. Correct me if I'm wrong on this. I appreciate the diversity of Android devices but I also think that people should have the freedom of choice to void the warranty on a device they own and use it how they choose.

Re:The good, the bad, and the ugly (3, Interesting)

wall0645 (1665631) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872216)

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.

Re:The good, the bad, and the ugly (0)

uprise78 (1256084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872270)

Duh. Of course they are. Do you think they released Android for you or so they can learn more about you to better target ads for you? They run a fucking business. It isn't a missionary. I wonder when/if all the fanboys will take off their "but it's open" Google Goggles and get with the picture.

Re:The good, the bad, and the ugly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872274)

The good thing about Android is that it's open and anyone can add features, customizations, etc. to it.

Yes, gotta love it.

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

And if Samsung tries to lock someone to a certain Android version in order to sell a new (hardware-wise similar) phone with a newer version of software that they even got for free, then I'm sure there are other cell phone makers that are willing to step in and sell a non-crippled phone. It's pretty much a tivoization.

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.

Google released Nexus S, which pretty much is the opposite of said tivoization. Hack away. This is the phone the others should benchmark themselves against. "It's x times faster than the Nexus S" or "It has everything the Nexus S does, plus a lemon squeezer." Nexus One has been upgraded to 2.2 and is promised to be upgraded to 2.3, so they've proven that it's good for exactly that.

Re:The good, the bad, and the ugly (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872588)

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.

Vendor dependence (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

When forced vendor dependance is good (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872050)

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.

Re:Vendor dependence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872110)

How are they -making- anybody buy a new one?

Don't get me wrong - I'm sure it's quite nice to put Froyo on an Android device and get all the benefits thereof. Similarly, it's quite nice to unlock my navigation system (based on Windows Mobile) and run apps on that.

But it's not like there's a contractual obligation from the seller/carrier (in case of phones)/manufacturer to provide these updates or capabilities for your device.

If the argument is that the updates also fix security issues that are being actively exploited, and you're effectively withheld from those, then I would suggest taking it back to the store pointing out that you essentially bought a faulty product.

But in terms of just getting something newer, faster, with more features.. well that's just not what you purchased in the store. That might have been what you were -hoping- to have purchased - but unless the contract and/or advertising actually states that this is what you purchased, you really just purchased the product that you got right then and there.

Re:Vendor dependence (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872138)

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.

Re:Vendor dependence (3, Insightful)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872566)

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...)

Re:Vendor dependence (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872634)

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 one - you're still paying the subsidy.

In fact, I'd postulate that they make more money if you stick with your old phone. With a new phone, at least your subsidy payment is going to the phone manufacturer to help pay for the new phone you're holding. If you don't upgrade and continue using your old phone out of contract, the subsidy is going straight into the service provider's pockets.

Demand your rights (4, Insightful)

straponego (521991) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Demand your rights (2)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872010)

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.

Re:Demand your rights (1)

vought (160908) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872390)

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:Demand your rights (1, Troll)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872608)

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?

obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34871982)

in soviet russia, froyo updates you why not ?
but on the other hand, i might become a wealthy doctor, prehaps.

Motorla Cliq XT (1)

ichthus (72442) | more than 3 years ago | (#34871984)

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.

Re:Motorla Cliq XT (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872132)

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 from Google, meaning the whole support process must start again.

They probably didn't sell enough of those devices to make it worth their time or effort to keep updating them with the newest versions of Android. Updates aren't coming. Either jailbreak your device and do it yourself or buy a new phone.

Ridiculous (1)

sircastor (1051070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872084)

I was concerned about something like this. The Behold II stopped at 1.6, despite only being on the market for a mere 9 months. I bought the Vibrant with the expectation the 2.2 was coming within a few months. That's what I was told. Then it was October, then it was December.

According to Cnet Samsung has said that they're still doing testing to make sure it works well. This is absurd. Is it going to take another year for us to move onto Gingerbread?

I bought this phone thinking that I was going to get a great phone with all of the features advertised. The GPS is still garbage *when* it works. "Media Hub" does nothing, even after being activated it doesn't work. These problems should have been solved before the phone was released.

2.2 froyo is on mine (4, Interesting)

charnov (183495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872152)

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.

Re:2.2 froyo is on mine (1)

EntropyXP (956792) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872466)

Mine too...running Nero 4.1 on it and works pretty damn well...better battery life as well....I have no gripes....Screw Samsung and Tmobile both.

Not Samsung... T-Mobile (3, Interesting)

gavron (1300111) | more than 3 years ago | (#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

Up in Canada.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872180)

The update to Froyo was supposed to save the Vibrant, which was having issue after issue, and a ton of half assed fixes (forcing it to 850mhz for example) has actually bricked at least a dozen of these things that I have seen.

It's been so bad that any calls to customer care are now leading to brand new replacement hardware as well as a $100 bill credits on the account.

The Vibrant is a piece, stands out in my mind as the worst phone I've sold in the last 5 years. Absolute rubbish.

Inform yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872200)

My girlfriend got a Motorola Cliq last year from T-Mobile. To this day it still runs Android 1.5. She was promised updates that were never delivered

I've got a Samsung Captivate... (4, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872306)

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.

My Samsung Galaxy is running FROYO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872308)

I am running FROYO on my Samsung SGH-T959D (Galaxy S Fascinate). I obtained the OS update directly from Samsung (via their Kies software) the day after I received the phone a few weeks ago. Perhaps it has something to do with T-Mobile (not my carrier).

Re:My Samsung Galaxy is running FROYO (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872684)

Kies doesn't recognize the TMO Vibrant without some screwing around, and even then it doesn't work very well, from what I can tell.

I know the fix (5, Insightful)

Mr_Plattz (1589701) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:I know the fix (2)

pseudonomous (1389971) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872744)

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.

Major factor in not choosing android for me (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872362)

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 and went for another phone that does what I want but suffers from the same problem because of the Nokia free predownload mapping it came with (E55 s60v5 non touch).

For me, the ideal situation is for Vendors to be free to act like jerks. But for consumers to be educated enough and disciplined enough for vendors to have no motive for doing so. Clearly users are idiots though because this stuff happens; you need a critical mass of educated people because anything happens and even then you need a break in the line from manufacturers. So instead the realistic solution I feel is to tax wasteful manufacturing.

The next time someone chats about phones with me I'll say `Yeah, been there 5x before and they all blocked software updates in the end`.

Related Problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872384)

I have a samsung android device.

When I plug it into the computer keeps telling me there's an update. Spends 30 minutes downloading, then fails the checksum. Always. Regardless of which computer I use.

Not sure how related it is...

Having a hard time believing this (2)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872448)

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.

When it's either Samsung or Apple (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872696)

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? (4, Insightful)

samfisher5986 (1927786) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

It's still early days for Android (3, Informative)

mattbee (17533) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872470)

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.

Standard operating procedure. (4, Informative)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872472)

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 (4, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Put the OS in the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872582)

I think the best solution would be to deliver the base OS via the market. Sort of like what they did with gmail. Remember when it was part of the OS so it only got updated when you got a kernel etc. They split it out and now you can grab a new version as it happens from the market store. They should do the same for the kernel. ie. Google should put the vanilla OS (Froyo, Gingerbread etc) as a simple app store upgrade.

I guess that buggers up the customisations and overlays, like Sense, Moto Blur but who cares. I actually prefer vanilla anyway. The carriers would probably have to have clear disclaimer that if you upgrade the OS you will no longer get support, which is fair. They do that already, so whats the big deal.

Why can't do this? I'm currently burned by the Milestone. Its sitting at 2.1. They indicated that it would move to 2.2 but its not happening...

Is this capitalism? (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872586)

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-competitive market manipulation.

Of course the corrupt practices of telcos are minor compared to what the banks/credit card companies do. Even with the new regulations, credit card rates and practices are like allowing someone to pick you pocket on a daily basis.

It all goes back to lack of meaningful regulation. The "invisible hand" is a fictional device intended to dupe consumers into thinking that their choices make a difference. When all the big players conspire in a pseudo-cartel environment buyers are sheared like sheep, and cost is decoupled from price.

Some combination of real competition and government oversight is the only way to restore actual capitalism. Competition is preferable but that requires breaking up the big dominant players, and right now they own the political process through campaign contributions, so that is not going to happen. The best hope in the short run is decent regulation, if we can keep the corrupt government/business complex from shutting it down the way they did in the Bush administration.

I would upgrade (1)

coopaq (601975) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872670)

I love my Galaxy S. I think I'd pay $99 or so for a hardware upgrade with dual core processor etc.

Even so if this story is true then... fucking pricks. I will never forget and it will affect my future purchasing and recommendation behavior.

Already had to use the One Click Lag Fix. Which really made me love the Vibrant more, but it should have been updated by Samsung anyway in the first place.

If you want Latest & Greatest, buy a Nexus dev (1)

cnkurzke (920042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872692)

It's interesting to see how many people here are jumping on the bandwagon and either claim that vendors act maliciously by delaying updates, or blame Android for this.

Fact is - you bought a phone which did everything you needed at the time, and it still does.
The phone didnt suddenly stop working or lose features.
No, people are just giddy that there is another "new big thing" and want to update to it.

Please note that 99.9% of the USERS of those devices dont care.
They are still happily browsing the web, sending emails, and checking flight status with their Android 1.x devices.

For geeks, nerds and people who compare version numbers of their phones at cocktail parties, there is a simple solution.

Buy a "Google Experience" device, like the Nexus-One or Nexus-S devices.

Those devices receive the update straight from Google, and come unlocked and "open" to update the OS.

Now you say - but - you can't afford to spend 500+ bucks on a phone, if you can get one for $99 from your carrier.
Well, in that case, if you buy a carrier subsidized device (actually, you didnt buy it, it's more a LEASE), then you shouldnt complain that it comes with strings attached, and your carrier remains free to make a business decision which phones to upgrade, and which not.

Unless the other 99.9% of users who dont care, start calling the help desk and start asking for upgrades, until then - you're out of luck.
 

I was just looking into this (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#34872734)

My Verizon Samsung Fascinate was finally updated today, but not to 2.2

They put out a 2.1 patch.

Next step is to find out what the state of the downloadable ROMs are these days. I put Cyanogen on my old G1 when I found out I could get Google Navigate that way.

I was told I'd be able to choose another search engine besides Bing with the update. If so, they didn't put it in search setup.

Not putting too much into the rumor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34872752)

A simpler explanation is just that T-Mobile just sucks dick for Android updates. I've had a MyTouch from them for ~9 months now, and since I bought it they've been blowing smoke up my ass about how they're going to upgrade it. First it was 2.0, then oh you don't want that, then 2.1, then 2.2, then finally the released 2.2 for the crappier version of my phone. I just recently got the text from them that they're going to update it in "the next two weeks". I'll believe it when I see it.

Never ascribe to malice when simple incompetence will do.

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