Samsung ‘investigating’ ways to get Android 4.0 on Galaxy Tab, Galaxy S

by Phil Hornshaw

Bummed-out Samsung Galaxy S smartphone and Galaxy Tab owners may still have hope of their devices getting updated with the latest version of Google’s Android platform.

According to a report from The Verge, Samsung might be reversing its position on not offering Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on its Galaxy-branded devices. The South Korean device maker – the most popular smartphone maker in the world and the leader in Android’s stable, as well – drew a lot of fire from upset customers when it previously announced it wouldn’t make the latest version of Android available on some of its flagship devices.

Google’s announcement of Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest and greatest version of its operating system, also came with the announcement of the Galaxy Nexus, a Google-branded Samsung phone that was the first to carry the software. The announcement of both the operating system and the device were pretty impressive, so it’s understandable that loyal Samsung customers who already have Samsung devices and aren’t ready to upgrade might be upset that it seemed the company was leaving them out in the cold.

Things were made slightly worse when Samsung announced the reasoning behind why it wouldn’t be pushing ICS to its Galaxy line of devices. The trouble, according to Ars Technica’s report, was that the devices didn’t have the RAM and ROM necessary to support both ICS and Samsung’s TouchWiz interface software. The company said there just wasn’t the memory available to run both programs at once, but it seems that was a weak explanation in the eyes of many customers who likely could care less about TouchWiz, but who definitely want ICS on their devices.

But the good news, it seems, is that there’s no fundamental incompatibility between ICS and the Galaxy line of Samsung’s devices. The customer feedback has prompted the company to “reevaluate” whether it could push ICS to those devices. Samsung may or may not actually come up with a solution, though, and there’s speculation that this could mean a less well-integrated and less customized version of ICS will have to be made available for Galaxy device owners as a compromise. There’s also the trouble of whether carriers will support Samsung’s solution, should it find one, another aspect that’s up in the air and determined on a case-by-case basis.

There’s at least a victory here for users who were upset about not receiving ICS, and that’s the fact that their complaints didn’t fall on deaf ears. Samsung has a pretty good track record of responding to its customers when they get loud enough, and in the case of Ice Cream Sandwich, people have been pretty loud. We’ll have to see if those same customers are satisfied by whatever Samsung comes up with as a solution.