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How do Android phones update firmware?

post #1 of 11
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I've got an iPhone right now and I'm thinking of getting a Samsung Galaxy S2 just to liven things up.

My question is this: will older phones (read: the Galaxy S2) be updated from 2.x to 4.x? If so, when?

The Galaxy S2 ships with 2.3.5, which to my understanding is pretty awful firmware compared to the 4.0/Ice Cream Sandwich that's shipping on the Galaxy Nexus. I'd obviously like the newer firmware (hell, the firmware is so bad that even the iPhone 4S on its outdated hardware can trounce the Galaxy S2 on benchmarks), but I'm not sure I want to wait 6 months or more after the Nexus' launch to get the new firmware on a remotely decent Android phone.
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post #2 of 11
this is what i hate about android. Once it comes preloaded w/ certain OS, you can't just upgrade it. With that being said, google is trying to come up w/ some kind of standard to make it possible.
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post #3 of 11
That's the one thing I don't like about Android, everything is fragmented. Some phones get updates, some don't. It's up to the carrier and the manufacturer really. I would do a little Googling to find out if the phone you want is for sure getting the update. If you don't get a sure answer, hold off on the purchase until it's clarified.
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post #4 of 11
If you're rooted and you rom your phone, then typically these updates to newer firmware get introduced quite fast. The newer your phone or the more popular your phone is in the ROM community, the faster it'll be available. So, for a phone like the S2, I assume it'll be out quite soon. As soon as Google releases the code for Ice Cream sandwhich, ROM developers will begin to incorporate it into their ROMs. If you're looking for an "official" update on your phone, then lol, why do you have an Android phone. But besides that, it may take quite a long time for that OTA update to come if ever.

2.3.5 is the absolute latest firmware available for Android at this moment. 3.x is for tablets, and Ice Cream sandwich has not been released yet. It's not crappy at all, but 4.0 is really special. So if you're worried about missing out on Ice Cream Sandwich, don't be...assuming you're going to root and rom your phone.

Do be if you're staying stock (which on OCN is funny).
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post #5 of 11
The original Galaxy started out with Eclair and now its on Gingerbread so the chances are GS2 will get ICS. Just don't expect to get it straight away. Usually it takes Samsung a few months to rework Touchwiz onto the new update and then release it.

Cyanogenmod is your friend. The fastest way to get an updated base is to root your phone and start using it. They pretty much always beat the manufacturers to the punch and they support a lot of devices even after the manufacturer has stopped.
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post #6 of 11

The update is pushed wirelessly whenever the carrier decides, or you can just update it yourself once Android releases the source code and somebody compiles their own rom. Cyanogen is working for Samsung now so the 4.0 CyanogenMod for the SGS II can practically be treated as an official rom.

And as for the speed thing, I must have seen 50+ websites all posting the same Anandtech scores, proclaiming that the iPhone 4S is twice as fast as the SGS II.

In actual fact its closer to the other way around. The test everyone is throwing around only tests Javascript performance, which is entirely dependant on software. The other one only tests GPU performance, which is a fairly moot point since we're talking about the difference between a 460 and a 480 here. For everything else, like actually rendering the web pages and running apps in your daily use the SGS II trounces the 4S and even outperforms the Galaxy Nexus, despite running Gingerbread.


The SGS II loads webpages faster, even with flash enabled.


There are also a number of reviewers out there with the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy S II, which isn't really a Galaxy S II, since its using a much slower Qualcomm Snapdragon. The T-Mobile version is around the same speed as the iPhone 4S, while the regular 4.3" SGS II is much faster.
    
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post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathris View Post
The update is pushed wirelessly whenever the carrier decides, or you can just update it yourself once Android releases the source code and somebody compiles their own rom. Cyanogen is working for Samsung now so the 4.0 CyanogenMod for the SGS II can practically be treated as an official rom.

And as for the speed thing, I must have seen 50+ websites all posting the same Anandtech scores, proclaiming that the iPhone 4S is twice as fast as the SGS II.

In actual fact its closer to the other way around. The test everyone is throwing around only tests Javascript performance, which is entirely dependant on software. The other one only tests GPU performance, which is a fairly moot point since we're talking about the difference between a 460 and a 480 here. For everything else, like actually rendering the web pages and running apps in your daily use the SGS II trounces the 4S and even outperforms the Galaxy Nexus, despite running Gingerbread.
I don't want to come off as a fanboy, but Browsermark is a browser benchmark, and Geekbench is a fairly comprehensive benchmark. GLBenchmark and SunSpider Javascript weren't the only benches Anandtech ran (and I disagree with dismissing them offhand, as well).
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post #8 of 11
Samsung has had ice cream sandwich for months to work with, sgs2 is still their flagship, and honestly the galaxy nexus isn't much of a step up, so its more than reasonable to assume and expect that the gs2 be one of the first phones to be updated. It will be the best Android phone on at&t, Tmobile and sprint for probably 4-6 months, so you can bet it'll be updated.

I've got mine up to 1.6Ghz, setcpu profiles are pretty nice. The root process was fairly painless as well, and they've got the stock files you can reflash if you need to unroot

Got mine for $99 too.

Sent from my AT&T Samsung Galaxy S2 using Tapatalk.
Edited by SMK - 10/24/11 at 8:56am
    
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mountains View Post
I've got an iPhone right now and I'm thinking of getting a Samsung Galaxy S2 just to liven things up.

My question is this: will older phones (read: the Galaxy S2) be updated from 2.x to 4.x? If so, when?

The Galaxy S2 ships with 2.3.5, which to my understanding is pretty awful firmware compared to the 4.0/Ice Cream Sandwich that's shipping on the Galaxy Nexus. I'd obviously like the newer firmware (hell, the firmware is so bad that even the iPhone 4S on its outdated hardware can trounce the Galaxy S2 on benchmarks), but I'm not sure I want to wait 6 months or more after the Nexus' launch to get the new firmware on a remotely decent Android phone.
Seeing as how none of us work for Samsung I'd take whatever anybody here says in regards to ICS update with a grain of salt. My guess though would be 3-6 months ish for official OTA update(stick with iphone if official updates are your thing). XDA will probably have it way b4 that.

Android 2.3.5 is not horrible though... The iPhone is just more optimized, polished and has better hardware acceleration. and why do you care so much about losing to to the iphone in benchmarks? Will you enjoy the phone or obsess over benchmark scores? It's still 1 of the best phones on the market so I would hope that you enjoy the phone and not obsess over benchmark scores
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mountains View Post
I don't want to come off as a fanboy, but Browsermark is a browser benchmark, and Geekbench is a fairly comprehensive benchmark. GLBenchmark and SunSpider Javascript weren't the only benches Anandtech ran (and I disagree with dismissing them offhand, as well).
And yet the iPhone 4S loses in real world tests.
    
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