Samsung Galaxy S: Let the Upgrades Begin

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T-Mobile is talking up its next-generation Samsung Galaxy S phone today -- but for millions of Android users, that news is being overshadowed by another juicy bit of Galaxy S info.

Samsung Galaxy S and T-Mobile
After revealing plans for its Samsung Galaxy 4G device -- expected to launch at the Mobile World Congress conference next month -- T-Mobile turned its attention to its existing Galaxy S model and the phone's long-awaited Android 2.2 upgrade.

Long story short, it's finally time for the Galaxy S and Froyo to get acquainted.

Samsung Galaxy S and T-Mobile: Hello, Froyo

According to PCMag's Sascha Segan, who attended a private media breakfast held by T-Mobile, T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Cole Brodman stated that the Samsung Vibrant will begin receiving Froyo this Friday, January 21. Provided everything goes as planned, that'll make the Vibrant the first U.S. Galaxy S device to feast on the high-profile update; Samsung, compared to other manufacturers, has fallen increasingly behind when it comes to Android upgrades in America.

The aggravation surrounding Samsung's pokey process -- coupled with the lack of any meaningful communication about the delay -- has led to a growing sense of resentment around the Web. An anonymous posting spread around various Android blogs this month claiming that T-Mobile was withholding the Vibrant's upgrade in order to boost sales of the upcoming Galaxy 4G phone. Another tale, published anonymously at an Android message forum last week, said the upgrade delays were a result of Samsung trying to charge U.S. carriers extra money for the software.

Neither story was ever substantiated. And, according to Segan's report, there's good reason: T-Mobile's Brodman says the delay was purely the result of technical issues.

"The biggest challenge is integration and customization," Brodman is quoted as saying.

T-Mobile's Vibrant upgrade, like most over-the-air software updates, will be sent out in waves. That means it could take several days or a few weeks for the process to complete and every handset to be upgraded.

Samsung Galaxy S: The Other Carriers

So what about the other carriers? Sprint has already come forward with an update on its Galaxy S smartphone, sending out the following message via Twitter this afternoon:

"Sprint & Samsung are working to release Froyo for Epic ASAP, but only after it meets rigorous testing criteria to ensure quality experience."

No word yet from Verizon or AT&T, but I suspect it's only a matter of time. Funny how one carrier's action causes the others to suddenly start communicating, isn't it?

(U.S. Cellular, it's worth noting, released a vague upgrade schedule for its Galaxy S phone earlier this month. The company says its Mesmerize handset should be upgraded sometime "around March.")

So stay tuned, Galaxy S owners: The process is long overdue, but the wheels are finally in motion -- and with any luck, this is only the beginning.

JR Raphael is a PCWorld contributing editor and the author of the Android Power blog. You can find him on both Facebook and Twitter.

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