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Friday, June 3, 2011

Google delays Android 3.1 until August. Halts Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 shipments till then

Bad news for Android fans waiting to get the latest Honeycomb tablet running 3.1 version of OS. Android 3.1 has problems and Google decided to delay it’s launch until August “for most countries”.

And it gets worse. The tablets that were supposed to ship with Android 3.1 – Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 – have been delayed until then too.

For now it’s still a rumor. But it comes from a pretty reliable source –’s Eldar Murtazin – who usually gets things right, especially this close to the device launch. So I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing Android 3.1 tablets here in Europe until August.

Poor Samsung. With Galaxy line they have been a key part of the Android success story from the second half of 2010. They made the first “official” Android tablet, they even partnered with big G to make the second official Google Phone – Nexus S, they gave 5000 Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets away at Google I/O event. They have jumped through every hoop Google asked them to and shipped more Android devices then anyone else. Heck – they are kicking iPhone’s arse with Android flagship in some major markets.

And then they get screwed by Google on a major product launch in big way. For the second time in less then a year!

Google first screwed Samsung with the launch Galaxy S smartphone last June. At the time the search giant was very worried that it’s major Android partners were replacing Google’s location technology with the solution provided by a small location service provider called Skyhook. Google first learned about it in April, when Motorola decided to ship it’s next Droid with Skyhook solution. Google then refused to certify Motorola’s Droid 2 as Android compatible device until Motorola removed Skyhook’s location technology. Motorola complied, delaying it’s Droid 2 launch and then shipping it with Google’s location solution which they perceived to be inferior to Skyhook’s. Only to learn that Google allowed Samsung to start shipping it’s Galaxy S handset with the same Skyhook technology that Google now said is not Android compatible.

When Motorola complained, Google ordered Samsung to halt all the shipments of Galaxy S with Skyhook’s tech. Even with tens of thousand’s of Galaxies already sold or on the way to carrier customers. And Samsung had no other choice but to comply, stop all Galaxy S shipments and hastily replace Skyhook with Google’s location provider. Remember all the GPS/location problems Galaxy S had last summer? Yep – most likely it was about that.

Here we go again. With the pre-order options and promised mid-June shipping dates popping up around the world, I’d say thousands of Samsung Galaxy Tabs are en route to the carriers and distributors. And now they will have to sit in the warehouses for a couple of months, until Google fixes whatever last minute bug they found in Android 3.1.

In the meantime, potential customers will keep snapping HTC Flyers, Motorola Xooms and Asus transformers with even buggier Android 3.0 OS.

I don’t think Samsung is happy today.


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