Samsung needed the Value Pack for the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: January 3, 2012

The Samsung Galaxy S was one of the most popular phones out there. Actually, up until late last year, it still was one of the most popular devices out there. Samsung is releasing new phones this year that are still based on the original Galaxy S outline. But, while the Galaxy S was a great phone when it launched, and many still consider it a great phone, Samsung has moved on to bigger and better things. The phone’s successor, the Galaxy S II, saw plenty of its own improvements and is now considered a smash hit. Its popularity is unmatched, and it’s not just considered a flagship device for Samsung, but for the Android Army as a whole. But, it seems to be pretty obvious that while these phones are great, Samsung wants you to enjoy them for what they are, and for what they think they should be, and that’s it.

If you’ve been following the latest news about the Samsung Galaxy S, whether you own the device or you’re just curious as to how the Android update process is going, then you know that Samsung issued an initial statement saying that the Galaxy S, and the Galaxy Tab, wouldn’t be receiving an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. They claimed this based on the hardware and memory limitations of the device, coupled with the proprietary software that Samsung puts on their phones called TouchWiz UI. All of these things came together to make an experience on the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab that they felt would be worsened by the addition of Android 4.0.

Obviously the public raged, and so did the media. There isn’t any surprise that people would do that, either. The Galaxy S is a powerful phone, and it seems unlikely that Samsung couldn’t “figure out a way” to sneak Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich onto the device, and still create an experience that owners would love. Even if that meant you put vanilla Android on the phone, completely foregoing TouchWiz UI, that would still be better. Why? Because Android owners want updates. That isn’t a surprise in the slightest; it’s never been any different. Android fans want updates, and when there isn’t a logical reason as to why a phone can’t get that update (even if there is a logical reason, sometimes), people get angry. Upset, even.

The whole brouhaha led to all sorts of options for Samsung, as well as the Android platform itself. Maybe people would be willing to pay for updates, for instance. Samsung came up with their own idea, though: a “value pack.” Now, while they apparently couldn’t get Android 4.0 on the device, they thought that they could get some of Android 4.0 features onto the device, and people would be okay with that. Whether or not the majority would be, though, is anyone’s guess. But that was Samsung’s plan, at least until today when a new report came out and confirmed that Samsung wouldn’t be doing that at all, and brought the whole situation back to square one.

And that’s where Samsung really, really screwed up. Yes, it’s bad enough that Samsung isn’t going to put Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy S or Galaxy Tab (apparently), but the fact that they are so stuck in their ways that they won’t even put a “value pack” of features onto the phone is just absurd. I couldn’t figure out why that would be the case, and then I read one sentence that made it so clear:

Are limited to and fully optimised for the Gingerbread experience.

That’s direct from the statement. The Samsung spokesperson is referring to the Galaxy devices in question, the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab. And, after reading that statement, it all makes sense to me. It makes sense. We’ve all known that Samsung, and pretty much every other company out there that sells something, only cares about you as a customer for as long as you buy a product. After that, you’re on your own. And, well, Samsung has just made that painfully clear. You’re right, the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab are optimized for the Gingerbread experience, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be optimized for the Ice Cream Sandwich experience, too. Don’t be ridiculous. But thanks for pointing out that you want owners to have a completely insular experience. Once you buy that phone, the way that Samsung intended it, then that’s it. It’s all over, ladies and gentlemen.

So, moving forward, we shouldn’t expect Samsung to ever talk about upgrading a device ever again. Unless, of course, when they announce it, they say something along the lines of, “This device is launching with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but it is upgradeable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.” You know, just like Motorola did with the DROID RAZR, and HTC did with the Rezound.