Samsung phones stuck on Android 2.1 might stay that way for a while, according to a post on mobile site XDA Developers via Hacker News.According to an anonymous writer, carriers would have to pay a fee to Samsung every time Android was updated on a Samsung handset. The carriers are refusing to pay the fee, and therefore Samsung’s Android users are stuck with Android 2.1 instead of 2.2, which is the latest available version of the software.
Unlike Apple, which has iTunes and allows users to plug in and update their phones, Android and its hardware partners are mostly reliant on the carriers for upgrades. (You could hack it yourself … but not many people will do that.)
Apparently, carriers make upgrade deals with handset makers when they agree to sell a phone. As part of the deal, they agree on how to handle software updates. If there’s a “critical” need for a software update, it goes through without charge. If there is a “maintenance” update it goes through with a small charge.
If there is a “feature” update, like upgrading to the newest version of software, then it gets more costly which is why the carriers aren’t playing ball with Samsung.
It also devalues Samsung handsets, which makes people more likely to buy another and reup with the carrier.
Until this situation is resolved, assuming what this person says is true, then Samsung phone owners could be stuck with the older version of Google’s mobile software.
We’ve reached out to Samsung, as well as AT&T and Verizon for comment. None of them responded.
Update: We still haven’t heard from Samsung, but a rep reached out to Phone Scoop and denied that the company is charging for the Android upgrade: “No. Samsung is not charging carriers for Froyo updates to Galaxy S. We hope to have more detail on status shortly. Promise!”