Opinion

Why are we obsessed with updates?

A quick trawl through any mobile tech forum or website will reveal many users who are angry that they haven’t received the latest update for their Samsung device. But why are people angry in the first place, what is this obsession with updates and is it even justified?

The two-year old Galaxy S2 is a prime example, with apparent controversy surrounding the ‘delayed’ update from Gingerbread to ICS last year and a similar anger with thoughts that they might not support JellyBean (which we now know will be coming in the next few months). In fact – I even get regular messages from people who are annoyed that they’ve not yet received the latest OTA update for their Galaxy S3 or Note 2, and ask to compare firmware versions with me to see who has the latest.

Personally, I fail to see how this whole charade is productive to anyone. I mean… did I miss the meeting where we all signed a contract with Samsung which said that they will always update our phones?? Sure – if there was an update which made my device more secure or stopped it crashing then I would expect to see that fixed – but a major update and overhaul of the OS isn’t something I would expect. Around the same time as the Galaxy S2 launch, I purchased Adobe Creative Suite 5.5… does that mean I should be entitled to a free update to Adobe CS 6 a year later, and CS 7 this year?!

SamMobile is a website dedicated to providing access to the latest Samsung firmwares – having recently topped 1,000,000 members you’d think that Samsung would be rolling out updates left right and centre to cater for the needs of the masses… but this doesn’t seem to be the case!

The truth is, that although it would seem that most people on the internet are fussed about getting the latest update – even with 1,000,000 users, SamMobile registered users are less than 1% of the total sales of Samsung’s flagship “Galaxy S” smartphone range, which recently topped 100,000,000. It just so happens that the (proportionately) few power-users who are annoyed about not having the latest update are the same tech-savvy people who are the most vocal on the internet.

For that majority of people, who perhaps don’t use their smartphone to its full potential (and why should they?), updates can often cause more problems than they solve. After painstakingly teaching my father how to get the most out of his Galaxy SII when it was running on Gingerbread – I showed him how to get the OTA update for Ice Cream Sandwich. Unfortunately this threw him off completely and he stopped trying out new things and useful new apps. He got confused because “nothing is in the same place any more” and everything “happens differently”… so although the changes may be useful if you know what you are doing, perhaps for the majority of smart-phone users a major update is more of a hindrance than something useful.

Although it is clear that the days of “you get the device – take it as it is” are long-gone due to demands and expectations, perhaps we should be a little more patient and a little less greedy when it comes to official software updates. The anonymity of the internet seems to have given people an inflated sense of anger and entitlement which is not really justified (I can think of many things which are far more worthy of the internet’s wrath) especially when all you need to do is head over to the XDA Developer forums and pick up a nice ROM running on the latest version of Android from one of the many excellent developers.

For now, however, if there is an official update – SamMobile will have it ready for you as soon as it’s out!

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