What exactly is Samsung up to?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: January 12, 2011

It seems like Samsung is getting all of the attention nowadays. I'm sure you're all aware of the increasingly popular Froyo-less Galaxy S debacle. They assure you all that your updates are coming and that they're still testing to make sure the update will be simple and easy. Whatever their reason, they're taking forever and people are beyond frustrated. But I'm not here to beat a dead horse.

Lately, their lack of Froyo updates haven't exactly been the center of attention. Instead, their eagerness to prep slightly updated versions of current devices has been the cause of jutting neck veins and broken computer monitors. So what exactly are they up to?

Back at CES we were introduced to an updated, LTE-ready Galaxy Tab on Verizon's network, sporting some updated features like a faster processor and better cameras. The funny thing though, is that nowhere in the announcement of the revised tablet did they mention Honeycomb in the works for it. The press release solely stated that it would ship with Froyo, just like the original Galaxy Tab. Imagine that.

Late last night, our pals over at TmoNews got some inside word of an updated Vibrant, named the...you guessed it, Vibrant 4G. The original and 4G versions have almost identical specs save for a front-facing camera, Android 2.2, and HSPA+ 21 support. (No, I didn't forget the digital copy of Inception.) But you already know all of this.

If you weren't mad that your Vibrant hasn't been updated to Froyo yet, a Vibrant 4G just six months after the release of the original should be enough to turn some knuckles white. Not to mention that a “reliable source” (so says AndroidSPIN) is claiming that Samsung is holding back the Froyo update just to boost the Vibrant 4G's sales. Add that with the fact that the tipster claims the original Vibrant can fully utilize T-Mobile's 4G network with the 2.2 update, and you have yourself a perfect storm and Samsung is George Clooney.

As if that wasn't already enough to push angry users over the edge, ol' Sammy may be at it again, this time with a previously unheard of device. According to Engadget, the GT-i9023 just passed through FCC, with T-Mobile bands and a familiar frame. Coincidentally, the model number and outline of the device are strikingly close to that of the Nexus S. That's right, a month old device has a nearly identical friend passing through FCC. To put the icing on the cake, it's running Android version 2.4, which – according to the shaky video – looks like Gingerbread. Of course, the About page could have easily been faked. But I digress.

Samsung is on a spree right now, making everyone mad in the process. I'm not one for crackpot theories, but something unusual is going on here; and I mean something deeper than Samsung being fairly pitiful at future-proofing their devices. I'm not sure I can believe all of what AndroidSPIN's source was saying, and I definitely don't think Samsung is intentionally making anyone mad. But they honestly can't be so naive to think that this isn't dissolving their reputation before their very eyes.

Why would Samsung be sending a Nexus S-like device through FCC?  Beats me. Could they really be holding out on current Vibrant owners? I surely hope not. There's nothing wrong with releasing slightly updated versions of phones. But doing it repeatedly, just months after the predecessors' releases, is unacceptable.

Let's just hope this is the worst to come from Samsung. I'm not sure these customers can handle much more. If nothing else, I hope they are learning from all of this, like how to build a phone with future in mind. What do you think they're up to? Does it smell fishy to you?