Samsung today officially announced that the latest Android version ‘Ice Cream Sandwich” will not be coming to Galaxy S. Company also tried to justify the decision by giving a poor excuse. Before we come to that, I must admit that it was fairly expected from the Korean manufacturer, but the sheer number of device users should have deterred Samsung from making this decision.
By Samsung’s counts in October 2011, company was just about to sell the 20 millionth Galaxy S and with today’s decision, I am pretty sure that those 20 million consumers aren’t going to be happy. Coming back to Samsung’s lame excuse, according to the firm, Galaxy S would not have been able to give satisfactory experience with ICS because of the available memory on the smartphone (both RAM/ROM) and the size of firmware (ICS + Touchwiz).
I can hear those 20 million users shouting right now that this argument is flawed and Galaxy S indeed has all the required hardware to give a rocking ICS experience – remember NEXUS S. Coming to Samsung’s dear Touchwiz UI, which seems to be the root cause of this problem, why can’t company just get rid of that for the sake of giving people what they want and need. Touchwiz might be necessary for Samsung to differentiate its devices from hundreds of other devices in the market, but not after consumers have already bought a phone. On the user experience front, I am pretty sure that no one would say that ICS needs Touchwiz on-top to improve any kind of user experience.
So, if ICS does not need Touchwiz to improve anything, then there is no need for this to hinder the update. At this point, Samsung needs to learn from HTC’s similar goof-up with Desire Gingerbread update. Earlier this year, HTC had announced that it would not be able to update Desire because of low disk space and presence of HTC Sense, but later retracted and removed the unnecessary Sense crap to accommodate Android 2.3 on OG Desire.
There is another argument about the economics of updating an over 18 months old device in this market, when that device has already got two major Android updates. Well, this is where Samsung needs to step up and say yes we are ready to update Galaxy S for the third time and this is why we are the leader in the Android market and this is the reason consumers should get our phones not our competitors’. If you want fans to lineup for your devices and develop a brand loyalty, decisions like Galaxy S ICS update matter the most. You might be making rocking phones and great tablets, but that does not mean you can’t support them year after year.
Samsung should not update Galaxy S because it has been sold these many times or it is a popular phone or consumers need their money’s worth, but it should update because this phone is capable of supporting the update and company needs to set an example.
PS: Samsung might or might not learn from the backlash around the blogosphere, but I am sure, within a few weeks, our dear developers will release a stable Ice Cream Sandwich build that will work perfectly fine on Galaxy S phones.