Releasing the Galaxy S3 globally may solve the current fragmentation issue
The problems with Android Fragmentation seem to be an ongoing problem in the mobile device world which Apple has shown does not have to be an issue. Apple releases an iOS update to all their devices at the same time and they seem to roll out very quickly with the vast majority of phones being updated in about a month. Android has lacked the ability to be able to get things updated that quickly and recent information proves just how slow the process actually is. But, Samsung’s current release of the Galaxy S3, may be leading the way to resolve all of those issues and become the standard for how to correct the long standing problem of Android Fragmentation.
In the past, the release of a new Samsung phone in the US went from carrier to carrier over a period of a few months to much longer. As a result, the carriers where pretty much in control of when an update to the Android OS actually got updated. As an example, the ICS update for the T-Mobile Galaxy S2 will start to roll out on Monday, but Android 4.0 for the Sprint Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch has no date for arrival on those devices. And this is just an example of what so many have been experiencing. Android Fragmentation is looming large with a 7.1% share for ICS as of June 1st. And yet the Galaxy Nexus was the first ICS phone launched last December, but here we are over 5 months later and the market share of ICS is far less than 10%. The slow roll out of a new Android OS is a big problem and creates frustration among Android phone owners.
Samsung may have discovered the solution by having all carriers in the US who are going to be carrying the Galaxy S3 have them in stock within weeks of each other. As you can see from the picture, there are 5 US wireless carriers who will be selling the Galaxy S3 and all of them will be selling it within a few weeks of each other. It is that kind of coordinated distribution which now gives Samsung some leverage to attempt to keep all the wireless carriers in check so that things do not get out of hand when it comes time to update the Android OS on the Galaxy S3 phones. Apple has certainly proven it can be done. Even Microsoft, who has come with their new OS late to the game, has demonstrated they can get an OS update completely rolled out in about a month. That is saying something and it definitely shows that it can be done. So, if Apple and Microsoft have demonstrated that it can be done, then it is a question of what needs to change.
And Samsung has made that determination by rolling out the Galaxy S3 worldwide in a matter of weeks. When the next ICS or even Jelly Bean OS update needs to be rolled out, they will be able to have it available for all the Galaxy S3 phones at the same time. That will put pressure on all the wireless carriers to get the OS update out to their customers in a timely manner instead of the way that it is being done today. While this is pure speculation on my part as to what might happen in the future, it does seem highly likely we will see a change in how Android updates get rolled out for the Samsung Galaxy S3. It is unknown whether this might translate to other manufacturers or phones.
If Apple and Microsoft are able to get OS updates out to their phones in a timely manner, do you think that Samsung is going to be able to alter the Android Fragmentation which we see today?