Halfway through this month Google gave us an early Christmas present, a new Android update. Gingerbread brought quite a few UI changes and some back-end updates to improve overall performance and battery life. Unfortunately, we all know how the Android updating process goes and most of us will have to wait quite a few months to get the official update for our handsets.
We are now four days from the end of 2010 and according to promises from Samsung and rumors, all Galaxy S devices should have already been updated to Froyo. Back in October, they released a statement claiming that all of their Galaxy S like would be upgraded to Android 2.2 before the end of the November. Nearly an entire month later, most of those Galaxy S users are still without Froyo and have been given little word of the update.
Seeing how slow Samsung is at actually getting these updates out (now seven months behind the release of Froyo), shouldn't they just forget 2.2 and work on 2.3? That would genuinely be a difficult decision for any Android device manufacturer to make, but a necessary one. Based on the -- now passed -- estimated release dates, they have to be nearing perfection. It would be crazy for them to just stop something when it's almost completed and move focus to an entirely different update, and I highly doubt Samsung would do something like that anyway. But it's what their users want. They definitely aren't the fastest at updating software but I know they've put a lot of time and effort to getting Froyo out there.
What really boggles my mind though, is how they've managed to update some lower-end devices before their bread and butter. The Intercept has been on Froyo for weeks now. Some may be prone to argue that it runs a stock version of Android, but that also leads to another question. Why did it take them so long to update a handset that runs a stock version of Android? That means it took them six months to make minute changes, strip some features, and push out the update. Of course Sprint had to approve of the update, but that is no excuse for it taking five or six months. As for devices running TouchWiz, we expect them to take longer to get updates, thanks to the custom UI. But in no way should it take this long, especially since the Galaxy S I9000 has already received the update in most parts of the world.
My answer to the first question is...no. Samsung should not skip Android 2.2 and go with 2.3. The 2.2 update has to be nearing completion for all devices, and they've obviously shown how (un)important it is to get updates to their users in a timely manner. Samsung updating to Gingerbread would only mean users having to wait months and months to get an update that was heavily based on UI updates for it to be masked by TouchWiz. It would be best for them to tackle what they have left with Froyo and maybe even skip Gingerbread for Honeycomb. Android 2.4/3.0 will be a major update; from what I'm guessing it will be both major in the UI department and with back-end changes. If they start working on Honeycomb as soon as it is released to them, maybe it won't take them a year to push it out to users.
The Galaxy S line is full of great devices that give other flagship Android devices a run for their money; however, they've fallen victim to fragmentation and a manufacturer's laissez-faire approach to updating. As Galaxy S users, would you prefer Samsung to skip Froyo for Gingerbread? Or would you rather get Froyo now and wait for a long time for Gingerbread or Honeycomb?