Samsung has sped up their updates rollout process quite a lot since the launch of the Galaxy S3 last year, and now Sammobile reports that Samsung is currently testing new update services to further improve the speed at which they can push updates to customers, including IMEI-based updates, with the launch of the Galaxy S4 in May.
Reportedly, Samsung is looking to have more control over both the update process as well as the sales they make in each country – the Korean manufacturer wants to stop the practice of retailers shipping, for example, Samsung devices loaded with French-based software to the Netherlands, and also is looking to deny software updates to users who buy a phone from outside their home country. How they plan on doing all this is not known yet, though Sammobile speculates that it could increase the prices of devices for both retailers and the end consumer.
A scarier update service that Samsung could reportedly begin testing is IMEI-based updates, which would include tracking the IMEI number on devices for providing the relevant updates. This move could be a barrier to developers who make custom ROMs and also to those who flash firmware from other regions on their own, as each firmware would need the IMEI to match to work.
All of this has several implications. Customers would be able to get even faster updates than it is currently possible as Samsung would directly control updates, while Samsung will benefit from being able to track the exact sales numbers, increase or decrease prices of devices or cancel them altogether if they don’t sell well.
However, it would also mean that customers would need to wait longer for devices to launch, pay higher prices, and would be unable to update their device outside the country where they bought it. Knowing Samsung and their recent improvements in customer support though, I’d say they wouldn’t adopt practices that causes the customer to suffer.
While faster updates are something Android users would love to have, it remains to be seen if Samsung would do something that would cause harm elsewhere all in the name of faster software updates. All of this is only a rumor for now, so let’s hope it stays that way and Samsung can find other ways to update their devices faster.