Galaxy S4 rumored to come with new update services, may not be as good as it sounds

February 1, 2013
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With months to go until this Samsung smartphone hits stores, the Galaxy S4 rumors continue today with an update on a rumored future software update policy that will kick in once the new flagship device is launched.

Historically, Samsung has not been the most reliable company when it comes to timely Android updates. But then again what Android OEM was able to release fast software updates considering that they all have to release everything with supervision from mobile operators?

Will that change once the Galaxy S4 gets released? Sam Mobile would have us think that’s something that will happen, although it may not be as good as it sounds.

Will Galaxy S4 users get faster Android updates? That may be the case, but today’s report talks about a different Samsung policy, which aims to better keep track of sales and updates.

According to the publication, the company wants to know exactly how many devices it sold in each country, and plans to prevent certain retailers from selling Samsung gear that’s supposed to be commercialized in a specific country to other countries.

The problem with such a system could be that Samsung device buyers that will purchase their products from a different country may have a tough time updating to future Android versions once this policy is in place:

Samsung won’t give devices updates if you bought a phone outside your home country. This could mean retailers need to pay more for devices and the prices could go higher. Also customers could have to wait longer on their new devices. So far we can conclude from our information Samsung will start to test this way by no longer notification trough OTA (over the air).

Another thing to know is that Samsung will still use both KIES and OTA services. But could test in the future IMEI based updates. If Samsung decides to use IMEI tracking for updates this is most worst way for developers. We do not expect Samsung to choose this way at the moment. For Samsung at the moment KIES and OTA are fine. IMEI could be dangerous for Samsung self too. [sic]

On the other hand, if you purchase your Galaxy products from local retailers, then you may end up getting faster updates – with KIES and over-the-air (OTA) remaining both in place as update methods for Samsung Android devices.

But let’s not forget that mobile operators are still going to act as the middle man for Android updates, so there’s no guarantee that Samsung will be indeed able to offer faster software updates, no matter how it plans to organize its regional software releases.

It was only in 2012 that the South Korean giant was able to finally negotiate with carriers from a power position and impose a single Galaxy S3 design and commercial name – that was a first for the Galaxy S family. The same goes to say for the Galaxy Note 2, although Verizon somehow managed to score a Verizon-branded button, which delayed the Galaxy Note 2 launch with the U.S. carrier.

Sure, the fact that Google will offer its Android partners access to the Android PDK should speed up the whole update process, but we’re yet to see any results from this Google initiative.

With all that in mind, we’ll tell you again that the Galaxy S4 is rumored to be announced in March and then ship to consumers starting with early or mid-April, depending what rumor out there your prefer. By the time the 2013 flagship Samsung handset launches we’ll probably get more details about these new Samsung updates and sales policy changes, if they’re indeed real.

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