Is Samsung able to curb carriers from meddling with firmware?

LIVEFRMNYC

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Oct 27, 2009
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As the title states. Will Samsung ever reach a point that it can just push updates to phones without the carrier's say so, like Apple does with the iPhone?

How does the whole carrier update work anyways, what kind of agreement between manufactures and carriers?

Without carriers, we'll get update quicker. And we won't have to deal with different variations from carriers, such as quoted below.

For example look at the S6.
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/4...le-at-t-verizon-and-sprint-heres-the-list.htm
Verizon

Verizon has not only axed the Smart Manager, which enables better battery and storage use, but also the Microsoft apps which come pre-loaded in the Galaxy S6. So basically, if you purchase the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S6 you will not get Skype, OneNote, OneDrive, and Office Mobile as pre-loaded apps.

However, the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S6 packs in the Simple Share feature that makes file sharing of large files easier and Download Booster, which uses LTE data and Wi-Fi simultaneously to offer faster speed.

AT&T

AT&T has done away with the Download Booster and Simple Sharing features. The carrier has also removed Smart Manager and Microsoft pre-loaded apps.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile has limited a user's ability to remove Quick Connect and the S-Finder features from the dropdown menu. T-Mobile users can't disable the capacitive lights, which is possible in the AT&T variant of the Galaxy S6. Apart from these, it seems that the carrier has not made many other tweaks.

T-Mobile's variant of the smartphone gives one access to the pre-loaded Microsoft apps.

Sprint

Like AT&T, Sprint too has done away with the Download Booster. The carrier has also disabled Wi-Fi calling by default. However, the same can be enabled in the settings. Sprint's variant of the smartphone gives one access to the pre-loaded Microsoft apps.

A Verizon spokesperson has revealed that while the carrier has removed the Microsoft apps, the same can be downloaded via the Google Play Store. However, users who want to download Smart Manager cannot do so as it is not available on the Play Store yet.


Would also like to note ......... Since US carriers as moving away from subsidized prices from contacts. Shouldn't that take away some of the carrier's power, or bargaining?
 
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three

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Jan 22, 2008
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I truly hope so. We all know that Samsung software updates are few and far between for most of their devices, only getting slightly better in the past year or so with their newer devices.

It'll be interesting to watch the carriers change their ways and see what power they have in terms of phones, what features can and don't come on the phones, etc. I'm all for the carriers losing a bit of bargaining power.
 

MRU

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Don't blame carriers....

I buy Samsung phones which are unbranded and carrier free and yet I still don't get first dibs on software.

Indeed I've seen carriers like Vodafone push out update weeks (literally getting closes to months) before Samsung flipped the switch and pushed it out to my unbranded sim free device.

The issue here isn't all down to carriers at all. The fact they can't even do a global rollout for those carrier free devices is testament to that.

I think people like to blame carriers as the cause, when clearly whilst they may contribute to some delay, 99% of the blame has to lay at the manufacturer door.

The way they handle software rollout is nothing short of torture at times.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

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Don't blame carriers....

I buy Samsung phones which are unbranded and carrier free and yet I still don't get first dibs on software.

Indeed I've seen carriers like Vodafone push out update weeks (literally getting closes to months) before Samsung flipped the switch and pushed it out to my unbranded sim free device.

The issue here isn't all down to carriers at all. The fact they can't even do a global rollout for those carrier free devices is testament to that.

I think people like to blame carriers as the cause, when clearly whilst they may contribute to some delay, 99% of the blame has to lay at the manufacturer door.

The way they handle software rollout is nothing short of torture at times.
Good point. I wonder if Samsung focuses on modified versions of updates first, due to carriers. I haven't bought too many unbranded phones recently, so I can't speak on if this is common in the states.
 

Nermal

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Same issue in NZ; on local forums I often see people asking "why hasn't Vodafone approved this update yet?" and the majority of the time Vodafone replies with "we approved it x weeks ago and Samsung hasn't pushed it out yet".
 

gotluck

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Dec 8, 2011
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Yes they are capable of it because they created the google play edition of the s4. They also usually sell an 'international model' , one of the versions of the s6 seems to be compatible with gsm USA even, but there are no 'official channels ' to get the phone. Samsung goes out of their way to only allow carrier variants in the USA.
 

MRU

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Yes they are capable of it because they created the google play edition of the s4. They also usually sell an 'international model' , one of the versions of the s6 seems to be compatible with gsm USA even, but there are no 'official channels ' to get the phone. Samsung goes out of their way to only allow carrier variants in the USA.
Not really. Google was responsible for the software primarily on the GPE of the S4.

Also international variant - is often just the same thing as the Unbranded European models - however as I say - even they don't get updates as soon as an update is announced. You can still be left waiting weeks / months.

It's not really carriers at fault here - I just think it gives Samsung far too easy a 'pass' by blaming carriers. They contribute indeed, but really the buck of the issue stops at the manufacturers door on this issue.
 

gotluck

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Dec 8, 2011
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Not really. Google was responsible for the software primarily on the GPE of the S4.

Also international variant - is often just the same thing as the Unbranded European models - however as I say - even they don't get updates as soon as an update is announced. You can still be left waiting weeks / months.

It's not really carriers at fault here - I just think it gives Samsung far too easy a 'pass' by blaming carriers. They contribute indeed, but really the buck of the issue stops at the manufacturers door on this issue.
From what I've read, it is samsung that builds the firmware and sends it to google(who surely has a checklist of requirements) for approval in the case of the gpe. Hard to believe samsung can build such a clean rom :p I would argue this is backed by the fact that all gpe devices have 5.1 except the s4. The latest 5.1 oTA rumor came from sammobile, which further makes me think it is really samsung building the firmware, along with statements from various android websites (though they never seemed be able to offer proof). Htc has been more open about the process.

I hear you on general delays, but the unbranded European models receive updates the fastest, the fastest with respect to Samsung at least, eh? Maybe fastest outside of Korea? For me it's not only the delays though, I just want the carrier out of my phone software.

I don't only blame the carriers though, I hear you. Samsung doesn't sell a non carrier model in the U.S. and I blame only Samsung for that.
 
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LIVEFRMNYC

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So based on the comments, what do you guys think it will take for Samsung to have uniformed "Apple like" updates across the board for a specific model?
 

Breaking Good

macrumors 65816
Sep 28, 2012
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So based on the comments, what do you guys think it will take for Samsung to have uniformed "Apple like" updates across the board for a specific model?
Tizen....

Maybe

If Samsung had complete control of its operating system the way Apple does, then maybe, just maybe we might see it.

HTC had a diagram of the steps it took to release a new version of Android. It is pretty depressing. It actually doesn't even start with the handset manufacturer. It starts with the chip manufacturer deciding that they want to support the new version on that chip. Then the carrier has to decide to update it and then the carrier has to decide to test it.

Over the past several versions of Android, Google has moved more and more features into the Play Store.
 

jamezr

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Aug 7, 2011
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Tizen....

Maybe

If Samsung had complete control of its operating system the way Apple does, then maybe, just maybe we might see it.

HTC had a diagram of the steps it took to release a new version of Android. It is pretty depressing. It actually doesn't even start with the handset manufacturer. It starts with the chip manufacturer deciding that they want to support the new version on that chip. Then the carrier has to decide to update it and then the carrier has to decide to test it.

Over the past several versions of Android, Google has moved more and more features into the Play Store.
After reading that I think Samsung is in a great position to control updates end to end. The already make most of their own hardware. If they implement Tizien in their phones. Then they would own the update truly from end to end. So we know that they can do it. But that doesn't mean they will do it.
 

epicrayban

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Nov 7, 2014
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Over the past several versions of Android, Google has moved more and more features into the Play Store.
Which is great. I love that we get both the small and big updates to the core Google/Android apps all throughout the year. I enjoy this model of updating more than a major annual release.

Of course, the actual software version updates should happen timely, but yeah, the process is very different. And to some extent, I understand. I'm fine with not having same day updates. The important thing to me is timely updates. You need a month? You need two? You need even three? Fine, I think that's fair given the nature of updating through carriers, etc. But anymore more than three months, or if there are delays, etc., that's when you start losing me.
 
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