The Samsung Galaxy S was released June 2010 and it has been a huge success for the company selling some 10 million devices. It was released with Android 2.1 and upgradeable to 2.3 Hummingbird. It is, however, not going to be upgradeable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the South Korean company has announced.
According to Samsung, the reason that it won’t officially see the latest version of Android is that it lacks sufficient RAM and ROM to run the new OS alongside TouchWiz. TouchWiz is Samsung’s proprietary interface that it puts on top of Android, supposedly to get a consistent look, feel and functionality across different devices.
You could understand that in another way: that the Galaxy S is perfectly capable of running a plain Android Ice Cream Sandwich, just not with Samsung’s own software added to it. Why not then give users the option of running plain Android 4.0 in their smartphones?
In contrast, Apple released the iPhone 3GS in June 2009. The original operating system on the 3GS was iOS 3, but it is upgradeable to the latest iOS 5. Not everything will work on the 3GS of course. Especially things that are dependent on some particular piece of hardware that only exists on newer devices will not work on older ones even if they are updated to the latest operating system.
So, the company that dominates the smartphone and tablet space, and rakes in the vast majority of the profits in these markets, is also the one that cares most about its customers. Can you see a connection?
It would seem like Apple is not only concerned with selling you new products but also to make sure you can keep using your device once you paid for it.
Apple is not perfect and you can fault it for many things. But one thing that Apple does better than most other tech companies however is to make sure that its products age gracefully.
When you spend money on an Apple product you are, by and large, assured that you can keep using it for many years and the company will take care of you in terms of software updates. There have been exceptions to this. Most notably the switch to Intel processors in Macs in 2006, which meant quite a bit of software did not run anymore.
It will be interesting what devices will be supported by iOS 6 once it rolls around. My guess is that the iPhone 3GS will not be supported. That’s based on the simple fact that you cannot put iOS 5 on iPhone 3G, at least not officially. But then again, Apple’s support for iPhone 3GS has already outlasted Samsung’s commitment to Galaxy S by more than a year.
Magnus Nystedt, @mnystedt
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