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back to article Samsung Galaxy S II punters get a lick of Ice Cream Sarnie

Samsung has started upgrading its handsets, with the Galaxy S II getting Ice Cream Sandwich. The aging Galaxy S, meanwhile, will be upgraded to Gingerbread with extra bits. They include face-unlocking and a photo editor, but it's the Galaxy S II and the Samsung tablets – including the Note – that will get a full upgrade to …

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Anonymous Coward

Arrrgh... "and a photo editor"

There's an app for that.

A freely downloadable app.

A user installable app for anyone who wants it.

An app that can be removed if you don't want it.

An app that isn't forced into your phone taking up space you could have installed games into.

In fact there's a whole variety of apps for that.

So why force this one on on people. By all means publish your app, and allow people to install it, just stop forcing unremovable crapware onto phones.

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Re: Arrrgh... "and a photo editor"

Who says it can't be removed?

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Stop

Re: Arrrgh... "and a photo editor"

"Who says it can't be removed?"

If it's distributed as part of the ROM update, it is baked-in and thus can't be removed unless you have root.

Although with ICS you can supposedly "freeze" these apps so they don't boot up and take precious memory or whatever.

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Re: Arrrgh... "and a photo editor"

If you had been running one of the ICS betas that have leaked out of Samsung, then you'd know that the photo editor can be removed - without requiring root access.

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So...

Does this include the original Galaxy Tab (GT-P1000) ?

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Re: So...

XDA forums have some excellent ics roms for the original tab. Really gives it a new burst of life and appears to run great (apart from the Camera, that works/doesn't work every release, but 3rd party cameras appear to work around that for now).

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Unhappy

"The ageing Galaxy S"

It's slightly disconcerting that a decent phone that's only been on the market for just under two years is already referred to as "ageing" and isn't considerer a candidate for a full upgrade. Looking at the specification it's doesn't look like it couldn't handle it.

It's a petty that the company that's tasked with providing your OS update is primarily in the business of selling you a new phone.

Just a thought.

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Re: "The ageing Galaxy S"

This is a good argument for buying a phone with vanilla Android on it, rather than a branded version.

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Re: "The ageing Galaxy S"

"This is a good argument for buying a phone with vanilla Android on it, rather than a branded version."

Fair point, although Google's Nexus One is also "aging" and won't be getting ICS officially. Unofficially it's a different story, but then the same thing goes for the Galaxy S.

I used to think it was worth only buying Nexus devices, but now that a lot of manufacturers have officially-unlockable bootloaders I am considering other handsets as long as the community looks big enough to support an official CyanogenMod build.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The ageing Galaxy S"

Galaxy S is quite capable of handling ICS - mine has been running it happily for some time now. Just a shame we seem to have to rely on hobbists like the guys at XDA to support handsets more than six months old.

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Re: "The ageing Galaxy S"

If anything I'd have expected ICS to run better; obviously it's not the only factor but the Google I/O presentation on how drawing has finally and definitively moved over to the GPU as of Android 3.0 sounded like a major performance win and the Galaxy S has a pretty good ES 2.0 compatible GPU.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The ageing Galaxy S"

Well it is Samsung and it is Android, what does one expect.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The ageing Galaxy S"

Ageing? Aren't we all, but the SGS reamains a damn fine phone -does everything I need and then some.

No nice as I'm sure the SGS2 is, I don't feel it is so very much better, that the S2 becomes a 'must have'. Now the S3 - who knows.

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Anonymous Coward

Coming to the UK

Next week - March 19.

After the carriers have finished 'testing' it and putting their own crap interfaces on it you might have it on your hand set by the time Jelly Bean comes out. If you're lucky.

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Re: Coming to the UK

Precisely why I don't buy carrier branded phones any more.

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The second wave of Galaxy Tabs (7.7, 8.9, etc) run Honeycomb

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"with Google spitting out a new Android version every six months it's not easy for handset manufacturers to keep up."

Well here's an idea, remove all the operator crap from the phone and supply the manufacturer ROM and there's no need to spend all that money making the phone worse.

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...and I'm going to sound crazy for it

But put all the carrier and device specific crap into a VM host (think ESX) and let the mobile OS just be a VM.

That way the OS could be updated much more cheaply, and the hardware experience from an app standpoint could be more normalized.

All the carriers and hardware mfrs would have to worry about customizing is the host, which is by an order of maybe two or three magnitudes less complicated than an entire OS.

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@PikeyDawg

Ah, we'll there in lies the problem that Google built in to Android without really thinking about it.

Apple RIM and Microsoft can push updates out to their customers with with a high degree of independence from the network operators. This provides a long term assurance to customers that their handset is going to be looked after for the duration of their contract (mostly). Whereas with Android you're completely depending on the handset manufacturers and the network operators, a much less certain proposition. Most people won't know how to root their handset.

As for a VM, with the ARM A15 cores that's not necessarily so hard to do. Don't know when they make it in to handsets...

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Anonymous Coward

i don't want to come across as a clueless dimbo but

How do I go about upgrading my (O2) Samsung Galaxy S?

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Re: i don't want to come across as a clueless dimbo but

There is no official release of ICS for the SGS1 coming so you have to do your own thing here.

You could go down the root of a custom ROM built for it:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1398223

Or you could go for the excellent CyanogenMod ROM which is similar but with some 'extras':

http://www.cyanogenmod.com/devices/samsung-galaxy-s

You can find the relevant information on the what the ROMs are and how to update to them on the sites. Hope that helps.

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Re: i don't want to come across as a clueless dimbo but

I have been using the teamhaksung ICS port for SGS and it really is very stable at this point. See here http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1363593.

The CM 7.1.0 Galaxy S ROM (Gingerbread 2.3.7 iirc) linked above is also very good... but I would recommend the ICS goodness at this point.

None of this is for the faint hearted, but it is worth making the effort as the official Samsung ROM is quite dodgy in my experience. All of the ROMS mentioned here are more stable, with better battery life and performant than the last (leaked) version of the SGS Samsung ROM I was using (2.3.5 from samfirmware i think).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hope that helps

It certainly does. Thanks to alexh20 and "An afternoon alone" - not feeling so lame now.

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"Porting each new version of Android is expensive"

I thought this was the case only if the handset manufacturer decided to move away from the stock ICS code base.

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Anonymous Coward

Mfr... Nope (as I understand it at least)

The world of phones and phone OSs isn't standardized like the PC world - with published drivers and plug and play hardware. All that has to be written into and packaged into the OS distribution... Oh, and tested too :)

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True, chatting to some techs from one of the bigger hardware providers, who probably wouldn't want their remarks to get back to the telco's, it's all the telcos fault.

They've had ICS ready for their devices for MONTHS. Tried/tested before the public ASOP release of ICS. It's the carriers that are dragging their heels and not wanting to upgrade. And if they DO want to upgrade, they insist on their own testing (which is only fair of course), AND their own bloatware added (that then takes yet further testing, and if there's a problem found with THEIR bloatware, they apparently do everything they can to blame the phone manufacturer).

Very frustrating for the hardware sellers. They get the reputation as not wanting to support their hardware and nothing could be further from the truth. Well, sure they're not against someone buying new phones/tablets from them of course, but long term they know it's working against them when customers think they won't upgrade their phones.

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Anonymous Coward

The beta I tried of ICS on my SGS2 about 2 months ago was a right crock, this full release had better be a darn sight better or I will crack it open with a custom ROM and keep it back at the current O/S.

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What's weird is that the beta releases of ICS got progressively more stable and reliable, but then became really unstable and buggy in a release from late January. The final beta reverted to being really stable and bug free, which was just as well since I'd almost decided to revert to the stock O2 release.

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Nexus S

Still hugely dissappointed with the way Google has failed to give the Nexus S (the previous flagship Android device) any ICS love to date, as promised. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Nexus handsets are always in line to receive the latest updates before anyone else". Really Google?! So how come there is now a huge swathe of handsets enjoying ICS whilst the Nexus S still sits unloved? Couldn't be because you don't give a damn about the eager buyers of Nexus handsets once the spotlight moves onto THIS years bright happening handset, could it? Harumph!

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Re: Nexus S

What's worse is that Google rarely tell you their thought processes about anything they're doing. Google - If the Nexus S ICS update (which was pushed out OTA for a while before being abruptly stopped months ago) is buggy and you're working on it, fine, just say as much so people don't think you're basically doing nothing.

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Re: Nexus S

Yep. Not a peep out of Google or Samsung since December when they pushed it out for a few days, then quit. I think they basically are doing nothing, or at least the Nexus S update is waaay down the priority chart.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nexus S

Umm, my Nexus S has had ICS since December - yes an official OTA - what network are you on?

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Re: Nexus S

FWIW, I'm running ICS 4.0.3 on my Nexus S (I9020) with no problems for a month or so. I couldn't figure out whether the reported problems affected all handsets and variants or what, so I decided to man up and try it, so far so good.

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Re: Nexus S

My network is irrelevant. I too got the update notification which I downloaded, JUST before I was about to go into a cinema screening. So I reluctantly put my phone away, the better to enjoy the installation once home and undistracted.

But Google pulled the update, due to a plethora of reported bugs, so I never got to install it.

Totally agree with chap suggesting Google simply communicate better with users - it takes the frustration of being ignored away, and helps to appreciate that ironing-out bugs take time and testing. But no, keep blaming my network, it's bound to be because you're on the best one there is!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nexus S

"My network is irrelevant. I too got the update notification which I downloaded, JUST before I was about to go into a cinema screening..." "But Google pulled the update, due to a plethora of reported bugs, so I never got to install it." ... "But no, keep blaming my network, it's bound to be because you're on the best one there is!"

Asking what network you're on is not blaming your network. The network operators perform their own testing of OTAs before agreeing release. This is why the Nexus One on Vodafone received Gingerbread 3 months later than Nexus One's bought direct from Google.

Also, the 4.0.3 update you're talking about was updated within weeks to 4.0.7 so it could very well be your network operator delaying it. But no, keep excusing your network, it's bound to be because you're on the best one there is who would never delay an OTA.

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Re: Nexus S

To get ICS for the Nexus S go to http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/12/16/ice-cream-sandwich-now-rolling-out-to-the-gsm-nexus-s/. That is where I downloaded it from. I installed it back in December and it ran on my phone with no problems until last week which is when I sold it due to buying the Galaxy Nexus.

ICS on my Nexus S was a big improvement and made my phone run much smoother.

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Given that most phones are replaced in 12-18 month cycles, why spend extra resource developing the update for the older models?

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Reason I was told was that they can continue to sell that old hardware in new markets with the updated software. The prices of that old hardware can drop a decent amount and it sustains a decent profit margin. So they've got new software, put it in a new box, new people are happy, old customers are happy it's being support and the brand is raised. They can keep selling that older hardware for a /bit/ longer in older markets.

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Rare but... Some have brains

People who got used to their handset tend to do more online which means increased data money, better performing device also helps them even in tower level.

Also people who gets upgrade will have extremely increased brand loyalty for the network and likely trust the brand when they feel like (not forced) upgrading.

Obviously, as long as carriers act like some little, evil phone shop with questionable little minded trickery, they won't see these benefits.

These guys actually see why people root their devices (mostly to get rid of their junk) via carrier IQ or old fashion service reports and yet they still put layar to ROM as system application.

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Anonymous Coward

"Given that most phones are replaced in 12-18 month cycles"

And there it is, ladies and gents, the almighty crux of the problem. The phone industry has us exactly where we need to be in order to give them as much of our money as possible; sign into a 18/24 month contract, pay huge amounts of our money over the odds for the handset and once we've done that, we're quite literally encouraged to simply throw it away.

Why?

I, personally, expect my SII to still make a phone call, send a message, read & write email, check FaceBook and get me from A - B for years to come, just the same as it has for the last 12 months.

Maybe I'm being naive, missing some fundamental point, I admit it could happen but unless Samsung have hard written a command telling my phone to self-destruct after 24 months, what's wrong with keeping it? I know, faster things will come by but that won't suddenly make my phone actively slow down.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Given that most phones are replaced in 12-18 month cycles"

This sort of common sense will not do. Please report to your mobile provider's head offices for attitude adjustment at your earliest convenience.

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Re: "Given that most phones are replaced in 12-18 month cycles"

But then, I don't see this as a problem :)

Mobiles haven't been about making/receiving phone calls since the iPhone was released.

£300/year for my SII is hardly huge amounts of money. And your SII (and mine) will still do all those things in a year's time, regardless of which version of the OS it's on. And if there's no new phone I want at that time, I won't change handset.

I think it's the carriers, not the handset manufacturers that have created this scenario too.

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Re: "Given that most phones are replaced in 12-18 month cycles"

Share and enjoy!

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Pirate

Re: "Given that most phones are replaced in 12-18 month cycles"

"£300/year for my SII is hardly huge amounts of money."

Well that depends on the size of your wallet and the priorities of your life. As far as I'm concerned, £300/year is a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a phone, so I don't think you can make blanket statements like that.

"Mobiles haven't been about making/receiving phone calls since the iPhone was released."

Believe it or not, as far as the carriers go mobiles are very much about making and receiving calls because that's where a large part of their revenue comes from.

The handset manufacturers, on the other hand, have known for a long while that if everybody kept their new phone for 5 years phones would have to cost £1000 each or most manufacturers would go bankrupt. Their business model relies on people buying new handsets every 18 months or so, and this is why we're constantly being offered new "features" we "can't do without". Apple, of course, have been selling hardware for years and understood this better than anyone.

I used to work in the mobile phone industry. I got out partly because I realised it really is mainly about selling as much unfinished, malfunctional shit to as many gullible idiots as possible.

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Re: "Given that most phones are replaced in 12-18 month cycles"

"I, personally, expect my SII to ......just the same as it has for the last 12 months."

Actually, whilst I get your point, I fundamentally disagree. You are trying to suggest a mobile phone (or smartphone in this case) should be the same as any other piece of consumer electronics. But that is just untrue. My TV/DVD stay stuck on the wall. My radio-alarm stays on the bedside table. The PC sits on a desk.

My phone goes everywhere with me. It is exposed to drops, bangs, knocks, rain, sweat, beer, smears of greasy food etc etc. It has been used in 37C and down to -12C. I'm probably an extreme example as I use mine as a hill-search navigation device but then, these are marketed for navigation. Google includes on-foot navigation mode in the OS so why shouldn't I?

But given all of that I actually find it remarkable that in 13 years of smartphone ownership I have only had one device die from anything other than, what I would describe as, wear and tear inside a reasonable period.

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Re: "Given that most phones are replaced in 12-18 month cycles"

"Well that depends on the size of your wallet and the priorities of your life. As far as I'm concerned, £300/year is a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a phone, so I don't think you can make blanket statements like that."

Fair point, should have qualified that statement. I didn't upgrade to the SII until it reached a price I was willing to pay. Although the point is, that's a top-end phone, on £25/month, how many monthly contracts come in under that, or compare on pay as you go?

"Believe it or not, as far as the carriers go mobiles are very much about making and receiving calls because that's where a large part of their revenue comes from."

Sorry, that's not what I meant. With the release of the iPhone, making sure your handset had the best call quality, signal strength etc as a selling point became moot, as making/receiving calls was no longer the primary (or secondary, or tertiary...) function of a mobile phone. (Ok, probably more at the point the App Store started, rather than the original iPhone release).

This also marked the shift in power from the carriers to the handset manufacturers. It used to be a choice between Orange, Vodafone, O2 etc... Now it's iOS, Android, (RIM? Nokia?). The network you're on is largely irrelevant. Especially since cross-network plans came in. Witness the mergers/consolidation in the carrier market compared to the success of the handset makers.

That £1000 figure isn't far off - some handsets have cost near that sim-free. Which is why we got the subscription model from the carriers in the first place - they subsidised the upfront cost to get phones into the hands of users, so that they could make money from them making/receiving calls. And at that point the handset makers were pitching to the carriers, not the users. It's a little different now :)

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Spoiled developers

I am not a facebook user but I saw that disaster app working on a fairly new dual core phone.

Said this to phone owner: "they would never get certified on Symbian with an application performing this way and uses that amount of memory."

Wonder why new, trendy, Starbucks/ Mac type developers hated Symbian? It forced them to write good code. Device makers hated too since nobody felt need to upgrade device every 6 months since the core OS was designed to force developers write real, professional mobile code.

Posted on an android device, thanks to Nokia.

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Re: Spoiled developers

> Wonder why new, trendy, Starbucks/ Mac type developers hated Symbian?

I am not new or trendy and I hate Starbucks with a passion, but I am a Mac Developer (and PC, and iPhone and Android). Why did I hate Symbian?

I don't - the core operating system is great. But one day I saw an iPhone and discovered how much fun you could have with a phone if you didn't have to spend huge amounts of your time trying to work out where the settings to do what you want to do was.

Are we all using Androids or iPhones because device makers wanted to stop us using symbian? No, we are using them because even though their core systems are not as well optimised for mobile use, they are just much easier and more entertaining to use.

No, I never understood why Nokia didn't pick up on that either.

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Re: "Given that most phones are replaced in 12-18 month cycles"

Yep, I see you're first point but I don't think that's the reason the industry *expects* handsets to be replaced so frequently. I may be being pedantic but an extremely large selling point of all of these devices regardless of cost, brand, age etc is their ability to be "mobile", they are / should be designed to be just that. If my SII grinds to a halt after 18 months and I hear my insurance company tell me, "you were too mobile with it" well, how would you react?

Incidentally, like you, I also use it for a fair bit of navigation/tracking work, in the car as well as on foot and two wheels in the form of cross country, all-mountain, hiking, biking etc, that's why I chose to equip it with a double skin gimp-suit and a decent screen protector, that was just my idea of prudence I guess.

Generally speaking I have a "Use to Destruction" policy on the things I buy; clothes, bikes, boots and phones. I buy what I judge as good quality based on experience and advice I trust, then I use it until I can no longer. But that's just me.

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Asus tablet upgraded to ICS weeks ago

My Asus eee pad transformer tablet automatically prompted me to upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich a few weeks ago. Asus seem to have really embraced giving Android upgrades to existing customers, I had several Honeycomb updates previously.

Only issue is I think it is crashing sometimes (come back to use it and looks off and won't power on without holding down power button for 10 seconds). Arh, just found out it is and is well known http://www.zdnet.com/blog/burnette/asus-transformer-ics-update-leaves-tablets-unusable/2433

I've not had it that unusable myself, seems ok when I use it, Dolphin browser does hang but then I don't need to use it now the main browser is much better.

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