Whether you believe the rumors about Samsung's Android upgrade plans or not doesn't really matter - the company has proven again and again that when it comes to older devices (read: released more than 3-4 months), your chances of an update drop dramatically. Froyo has been around for over 6 months now, but 3 out of 4 flagship Galaxy S devices in the U.S. (Captivate, Fascinate, Epic 4G) are still sporting outdated and Flashless Eclair builds, while the rest were only just upgraded in the last month or so. And this is just Froyo - let's not even talk about Gingerbread.
A few weeks ago, Samsung USA tweeted that Froyo updates for the Galaxy S phones are being delayed due to further testing. Then, just 4 days ago, AndroidSPIN reported that the Vibrant update (if not others) wasn't rolling out so that the Vibrant wouldn't steal the Vibrant 4G+'s thunder. And now the saga continues, as a new anonymous source has stepped forth to clarify the issue.
Reportedly an insider who has stepped "... across the NDAs [to] explain the issues behind the Android Froyo update to the Samsung Galaxy S phones in the United States," he/she says:
If you've been waiting for Android 2.2 "Froyo" to officially hit your Samsung Galaxy S device, be it Fascinate, Vibrant, Epic 4G, or Captivate, prepare to be disappointed, as Samsung is still stuck doing complicated testing required for the upgrade to go live. Countless over-promises and delays have upset many Galaxy S owners over the last months, but after releasing and pulling back Froyo upgrades in Canada, Samsung wants to really do things the right way this time. Back to the waiting room we go.
A number of Android Central tipsters have noticed something rather interesting while looking at the product pages for the US Galaxy S devices: the Epic 4G, Vibrant, and Fascinate all show as rocking Android 2.2 (Froyo). The funny thing is, the actual update is nowhere to be found. Could this be a hint that the update is imminent? It would certainly make sense.
Unfortunately, the Captivate and Continuum are still listed as running Android 2.1 - either their pages have yet to be updated, or (more likely) the update isn't quite ready for prime time.
Take a look around Google and you can see that people are seriously peeved by the lack of notification LED in the Samsung Galaxy S line of devices (excluding the Epic 4G). Developer and i9000 owner Michael R. - better known as neldar on the XDA forums - was annoyed enough by the glaring omission that he decided to come up with a solution. The result: BLN (BackLight Notification).
The basic idea behind the app is quite simple: as there's no LED on the devices, the logical decision is to light up the soft-touch keys. Doing so isn't quite so simple as the layman might initially think, requiring a modified kernel to be flashed in conjunction with the BLN app.
If you thought the news that Samsung shifted more than a million Galaxy Tabs was impressive, just wait 'til you hear this one: the company today announced that over three million of its Galaxy S smartphones have been sold in the US alone. This not only means that Sammy now owns 32.1% of the Android market in the US; it also makes Samsung the #1 supplier of Android devices in the US. Unfortunately, it's clear that the rollout of Froyo hasn't been able to keep up with the devices' sales.
All together now: finally! After several broken promises and recalled updates, Samsung's just announced that Android 2.2 FroYo will be available through a "brand new version of Kies" (that's Samsung's software upgrade system) early in November for Galaxy S owners in the UK, while "all operator versions" are "expected" to be available by the end of November (hopefully that includes the "operator versions" of the Galaxy S that Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are currently carrying here in the States). One could complain that it's about four months late, and that's likely due to the evils of custom UIs - but then again, it's better late than never, right?
We have good news and bad news for Samsung Galaxy S owners. The good: the Froyo update source code released a few days ago is now officially being rolled out by Samsung. The bad news: they're starting with the Nordic countries... then "gradually" moving across Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, and everyone else.
The word "gradually" isn't exactly encouraging, and neither is the fact that North America is towards the end of the list. Still, the news alone should be enough to brighten the day of a whole bunch of people.
[Source: Samsung via Engadget]
Full press release:
Samsung GALAXY S Offers New Android 2.2 Upgrade
New platform upgrade provides enhanced experience on the go
SEOUL, Korea – October 18, 2010 – Samsung Electronics Co.
Who thinks strictly black and gray phones are gloomy and boring? I do and, thankfully, so does Best Buy. A few months ago, the retailer announced an exclusive white EVO 4G, and today we got word of not 1 but 2 more white Android phones arriving on October 24: Verizon's Samsung Fascinate and AT&T's slightly outdated Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. While the exact pricing on either of these is unknown, you can head over to Best Buy today and reserve the device of your dreams with a $50 deposit. Unfortunately, there's no word on whether other outlets will be receiving these handsets - all we have to work with is the picture below.
Recently, I got ahold of Verizon's Samsung Fascinate and shot the following video review (and yes, I have a capacitive stylus - start getting jealous):
For a quick refresher, here, once again, are the specs of the Fascinate:
- 1GHz Hummingbird processor
- Android 2.1 (Eclair)
- 5MP camera wih LED flash
- 4" Super Amoled capacitive multitouch (5 point) screen
- 2GB internal memory
- Bluetooth 3.0 (with stereo output)
- 3.5mm Headphone Jack
- Supports HD (720p) video recording
Here are those pictures I promised. They look pretty good:
One other thing I didn't really get to touch on in the video that I really wish I had shown you is the media playing on this phone.