There’s been some dismay over Samsung’s update schedule for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on its Galaxy devices, upsetting customers after a troubling week of news. When ICS was first unveiled, Samsung got top billing with the Nexus debuting the updated OS. The manufacturer promised ICS updates for several of its devices, but as time passes Samsung delivers blow after blow, drawing out the number of handsets that won’t get ICS. The situation shines a light on the downside of open source, where Samsung can lace an Android device with its own software, only to face update issues later on.

An ongoing update crisis

Many cite Samsung’s delayed update schedule for the Galaxy S as proof that the phone maker could be giving customers the run around this time, but it’s the similarities between the Galaxy S and Nexus S that’s most perturbing. The two devices feature similar hardware, including a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and Samsung’s Nexus S has already started receiving its ICS upgrades. Samsung insists that the Galaxy S and Tab lack the RAM and ROM needed for an ICS upgrade, leaving countless customers without hope for an OS update.

The war over mobile software

The Galaxy S was a breakthrough phone for Samsung in 2011, boosting its rivalry with Apple and making Android devices irresistible to the masses. With the game-changing promise of Ice Cream Sandwich, it seems a bittersweet success for Samsung, unable to appease Galaxy S owners. Those that held out (and shelled out) for the Galaxy Nexus are probably feeling great about their decision right about now.

Samsung makes a lot of devices, each with its own custom twist. The confusion and uncertainty around the relevancy of your mobile purchases is frustrating to any reasonable consumer, and it’s an area where an able manufacturer could gain a competitive advantage. The most contested sector in the mobile space is software, its use and attributions, so getting this right is imperative to Samsung’s and Android’s success.