updated 06:50 am EST, Fri December 23, 2011
TouchWiz skin culprit in Galaxy S missing ICS
Samsung has confirmed that it will not be releasing an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) update for both the original Galaxy S smartphone and the original Galaxy Tab. The company has explained in a blog that it cannot upgrade the devices and keep its TouchWiz layer as the devices do not have enough available memory to support both the OS and Samsung's overlay. This is despite the fact that the Samsung Nexus S, which has virtually the same hardware, is in the process of being upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich.
Samsung says that the reason the over 10 million users who bought the Galaxy S last year won't get the update, but Nexus S users will, has to do with the fact that they Nexus S runs a 'plain vanilla' version of the OS. The Galaxy S would have to be able to run TouchWiz, carrier services, video calling software as well as mobile TV in some markets.
When it recently published its detailed timeframe for Android 4.0 updates starting in Q1 2012, the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab were notable omissions. Samsung has in the past been criticized for being either slow to roll out updates to its devices, or not roll them out at all. In the main, the reason for this has lied with its practice of skinning of the basic Android OS.
Samsung is not the only Android manufacturer to guilty of this, and pushing timely software updates out to devices has remained an Achilles heel of the Android platform. By comparison, Apple has made the latest version of its iOS 5 operating system available to its two-year old iPhone 3GS as well as the recently superseded iPhone 4. The updates arrived just before the release of the iPhone 4S and brought with them additional features and functionality.
News that the Samsung Galaxy S, which launched as recently as June 2010, will not be getting an upgrade from Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) will likely stir some debate about the value of adding an 'experience-enhancing,' as Samsung terms it, OS overlay. [via The Verge]