Why Galaxy Users Should Demand Android 2.0

The new Samsung Galaxy has garnered positive reviews as a worthy competitor in the era of high-tech superphones. But it won’t be getting the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, according to a report today from The Register. So why would any informed shopper opt for the gadget over a device that can run the most recent OS?

Galaxy users should demand the latest version of Google’s OS, because they’ll be missing out on some pretty cool features: Android 2.0, which first came to market with the Motorola Droid from Verizon Wireless just two months after the Galaxy appeared, includes a host of upgrades such as camera and browser improvements and vastly improved messaging and contact features. Android 2.0 will likely hit Verizon’s Droid Eris from HTC early next year, and rumors have the latest version of the platform being readied for T-Mobile USA’s G1.

The Galaxy launched in September and is available through O2 in the UK as well as Canadian carrier Bell. O2 appeared to confirm that the device won’t receive an upgrade via an e-mail to a customer, saying Samsung is “currently not supporting a migration path…to Android 2.0.” (O2 later told El Reg that the e-mail should not have been sent.) Firmware updates are routinely delivered by carriers to mobile phones over the air, and users are often not even aware when the handset receives it. (Although as Stacey can tell you, that’s not always the case.)

What’s most irksome for Galaxy owners, of course, is that Android is an open-source operating system, which should eliminate any concerns over proprietary technology and incompatibility. Open source can be a double-edged sword, though, as James at jkOnTheRun noted months ago, giving birth to a fragmented market where upgrades are available only on specific handsets or through certain carriers.

The Galaxy’s lack of support for Android 2.0 evidently has less to do with technology than with simple economics, as Samsung has little incentive to support new software once the phone is sold. But the fact that the cutting-edge phone can’t support the latest version of the operating system is absurd. Galaxy owners should demand that Samsung address the problem immediately and enable support for Android 2.0. And if Samsung doesn’t comply, users should consider another manufacturer next time around.

Image courtesy Flickr user louivolant.

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