Samsung holding back Android updates to drive sales - Samsung

Samsung is rumoured to be deliberately holding back the update to Android 2.2, FroYo, on its Vibrant smartphone to drive sales of its upcoming Vibrant 4G, which will come with the newer version of the operating system.

AndroidSpin received a tip-off from an anonymous source at T-Mobile, which read:

“Some disturbing things have happened the last week or so concerning our “Vibrant”. Samsung has NOT allowed us to push the update OTA for 2.2 because they feel it will decrease the value of the upcoming Vibrant4G +. While from a marketing aspect i totally understand, as the Vibrant 4G is what the original Vibrant should have been in the 1st place. But to shun off and bold face lie to customers is NOT what T-Mobile is about.

“…Being that, Vibrant 4G and Vibrant have exactly same stats, added FFC and a new movie and the 4G. But i will tell you this, the original vibrant CAN utilize 4G FULLY. Yes FULLY. not what they are telling you.”

The rumour has yet to be confirmed and Samsung is remaining tight-lipped about the affair, but the suggestion is clear: Samsung is delaying the update so that users will go out and buy the Vibrant 4G.

This definitely should not be the case, as the updated phone should be significantly better than the original on its own grounds, rather than the selling point being a newer version of Android. When coupled with the reports that the original phone can use 4G, it raises questions about why anyone should buy the newer model at all.

The approach has entered the tablet arena. The upcoming Motorola Xoom tablet will be the first tablet to feature Android 3.0, Honeycomb, thanks to close ties with Google.

Google has been making plenty of firm handshakes with brands over the last year or two, teaming up with HTC for the Nexus One and more recently with Samsung for the Nexus S. Instead of sticking with a tried and trusted partner it appears to be keeping its options widely open and growing its list of allies by putting Motorola in charge of its flag-ship Honeycomb tablet.

And let's face it, the Xoom will sell because of it, as Honeycomb is not just an update, it's almost a total redesign of Android to suit tablets.

Previous versions aren't bad on tablets, but the newer version, previewed here, is a real improvement. We wonder how long Motorola negotiated its head-start advantage for, since Android 2.3 still hasn't rolled out for most people yet.