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Samsung won't upgrade Behold II, shows Android fragmentation

updated 07:50 am EDT, Fri May 28, 2010

Samsung says Behold II can't go past Android 1.6

Samsung triggered a furor among owners of the Behold II with a statement that it won't upgrade the phone beyond Android 1.6. The company said the T-Mobile smartphone would move to 1.6 soon and add features like Swype's keyboard, but claimed that the phone was "not upgradeable" to 2.0 or later. It came despite T-Mobile representatives and even a Samsung promo video mentioning upgrades in the past.

The decision not to upgrade further has left some owners signing a petition and others either boycotting future Samsung phones or demanding refunds for the devices they bought. All of these have contended that they were misled into buying the Behold II when Samsung had no intention of supporting the phone significantly past launch.

"The Behold II is upgradeable beyond 1.6, but [Samsung] won't develop for it any further," one forum poster wrote. "Fail on Samsung, never again will I buy from your company, and I will point this phone's debacle to anyone even considering a Samsung product."

Samsung has so far been hesitant to support its small Android phone line significantly past whichever build of the Google OS shipped with the phone. While it has said it would upgrade the Galaxy Spica to Android 2.1, the original Galaxy has remained on Android 1.5 while Samsung has said it would never upgrade the core OS version, locking the year-old phone out of Google Maps Navigation and other features that are taken for granted in newer devices.

The uproar highlights the fragmentation of the Android platform as a major obstacle to its long-term success. While the many different hardware configurations and custom interfaces are touted as important advantages, they have also prevented many phones from getting timely upgrades, if any at all. Special interfaces like those from HTC, Motorola and Samsung have been particular problems as they have prevented quick upgrades where stock phones, like the Droid or Nexus One, have upgraded faster. Apple in contrast can guarantee that all non-jailbroken iPhones can upgrade at the same time and will only start invalidating devices this year as hardware requirements make iPhone 4.0 impractical for the very earliest handsets.

Google is already believed to be addressing fragmentation with some parts of Android 2.2 but will only more fully address it through Android 3.0, where core apps will get updates without needing completely new firmware.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -3

    and?

    They're getting upgraded to 1.6. How is that not being upgraded? h***, when the iPod doesn't get an update everyone's told you got what you paid for, what more do you want?

    And to say the 'custom' interfaces from HTC or Motorola are what's holding back updates is an iffy supposition. It could be these manufacturers aren't spending all their time looking to update their OSes every time Google releases a patch.

    As for the fractured nature of Android, that is more hype than reality (like most people care?). There are only three options for phone makers: Everyone make the same phone, everyone makes their own OS, or everyone uses one OS and customize their phones accordingly.

    Option one is ridiculous. The 'Apple Way' doesn't work beyond one company. Option 2 would create an even more fractured market than what they supposedly have now. So they're left with the best option, #3.

    And Apple only has one phone line to upgrade. And they upgrade just once a year at that.

  1. robttwo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005

    +3

    And once again....

    We see why Apple makes hardware and software that seamlessly go together. Android is all so wonderful right now, but when you don't control the hardware, you eventually turn into Microsoft - developing for compatibility rather than innovation.

  1. jdonahoe

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2006

    +1

    Welcome to my world!

    When the Samsung Omnia was released with winmo 6.1, they promised that it would be upgradable to 6.5. It never happened! So get over it.

  1. JulesLt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2005

    +2

    Testosteronodudo

    Most actual consumers out there don't care - a couple of friends with iPhone's didn't even know that they get an annual update with new features - the concept of phones that get updated software is unknown to them.

    The same was true with computers - they're used to the idea you might get a new OS with a computer, but not OS updates.

    Now mobile companies obviously want people to do the same with their phones - but as phones increasingly become about software rather than hardware features, the only way to do that is through restricting software updates.

    I do think that firms should commit to supporting their devices for at least 36 months - but another part of me thinks that you get what you pay for - Samsung's marketing and devices have been very much 'want a cheap iPhone copy?' with relatively little emphasis on it being an Android phone (compared to, say, the Nexus or Droid).

    The one person I know with the Samsung is pretty happy with it - like early iPhone users, he is happy with what it does, rather than disappointed with what it does not do.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -4

    JuletNT

    Most actual consumers out there don't care ...The same was true with computers - they're used to the idea you might get a new OS with a computer, but not OS updates.

    Now mobile companies obviously want people to do the same with their phones - but as phones increasingly become about software rather than hardware features, the only way to do that is through restricting software updates.


    But, as you point out, most people don't care. So why should these companies spend time and money on an upgrade that a very small minority of their customers will want?

    I do think that firms should commit to supporting their devices for at least 36 months

    Define "support". For what that means is different to different people. Your comment implies it means "provide future OS upgrades, including any new versions of the OS that's on the phone". That's not support. That's more 'upgrades' than anything.

    And, BTW, iPhone users so far have gotten 'free' updates to their handsets. But there's no saying when Apple will stop providing these updates, or when they'll not 'support' any particular model. This is because Apple has no support policy in place for any of their hardware devices when it comes to software/OS. At this point the iPhone is still growing, so Apple doesn't need to push updates. But as you've seen with the iPods, updates on those stopped coming because Apple wanted you to buy a new one to get a new feature.

  1. Paco01

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2007

    +1

    Testuclo

    - "But, as you point out, most people don't care. So why should these companies spend time and money on an upgrade that a very small minority of their customers will want?"

    How about: because they used upgradability as a selling point? Nowadays, these phones are actually small computers, so keeping your phone up-to-date for at least three years does matter.

    "I do think that firms should commit to supporting their devices for at least 36 months"
    - "But as you've seen with the iPods, updates on those stopped coming because Apple wanted you to buy a new one to get a new feature."

    How long after their release did they stop the support of the firmware?
    Get your facts right.

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