Here's what Samsung actually said about the Galaxy S and Ice Cream Sandwich

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

If there's one universal truth about Web-based rumors, it's that they're rarely 100-percent reliable.

Samsung Galaxy S Ice Cream Sandwich

The latest blogosphere-fueled flip-flop is the case of Samsung's Galaxy S phone and its upgrade to Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. The question of whether the Galaxy S will get Ice Cream Sandwich has gone back and forth a few times too many now, so I decided to go straight to the source to find out what's really going on.

Long story short, according to Samsung's media relations team:

1. Samsung won't be upgrading the Galaxy S or the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab to Ice Cream Sandwich.

2. Samsung isn't explicitly saying that it won't bring some ICS-like features into the devices' 2.3-level software.

3. Samsung isn't explicitly saying that it will do that, either. Officially, the company isn't commenting either way; that whole concept is pretty much just a random rumor at this point.

That's the highly condensed bite-sized version. Now for the full story:

The Samsung-Galaxy S ICS upgrade drama started on December 20, when Samsung announced its Android 4.0 upgrade plans for its Galaxy line of devices. Conspicuously missing from the list were the original Galaxy S phone and its cousin, the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab.

A couple of days later, Samsung posted a message on its international blog explicitly confirming that the original Galaxy S line -- including the various phone models and the 7-inch Tab -- would not be receiving Ice Cream Sandwich. The devices don't have sufficient resources to run the new OS alongside the supplementary TouchWiz elements baked into their software, Samsung said.

Soon thereafter, however, some reports suggested Samsung was revisiting the issue and "review[ing] the viability" of the devices "in response to strong customer demand." The company might offer a "value pack," some sites claimed, which would bring a limited number of ICS-like features to the devices without providing a full upgrade.

Then today, new reports suggested the "value pack" proposition wasn't true and that Samsung had no plans to bring any ICS-like goodness to its original Galaxy S line whatsoever.

Whew! Got a headache yet? Yeah, me too. So here's the real deal:

According to Samsung -- specifically, Samsung Mobile Interim Director of Public Relations Brett White -- the company does not plan to update the original Galaxy S or original 7-inch Galaxy Tab to Ice Cream Sandwich. No surprise there; that's what Samsung has said all along.

As for the possibility of bringing certain ICS-like features into the Galaxy devices' software, Samsung has not explicitly said that it's ruled out the possibility. To be clear, that doesn't mean any type of partial upgrade is definitely happening, but the company's current public stance addresses only the notion of a "full update to Android 4.0" for the original Galaxy devices.

Here's Samsung's statement, in its entirety, as provided to me via email:

A full update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the Galaxy Tab (7-inch) and Galaxy S is not practicable due to hardware limitations. Samsung remains committed to providing the best possible mobile experience to all existing and new customers.

When I inquired specifically about the possibility of the partial-feature upgrade, I was told that Samsung didn't presently have any information to share beyond what was said in the statement. 

So to recap:

1. Samsung isn't going to upgrade the Galaxy S or original Galaxy Tab to Ice Cream Sandwich. 

2. Some murkily sourced rumors suggest Samsung might provide a specialized Gingerbread-based upgrade for the devices that'll incorporate some ICS-like features into their software. Samsung has not outright denied that possibility, but it also hasn't confirmed (or, heck, even acknowledged) it, either.

Android Power Twitter

That's the story, folks. If anything more develops, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, you can keep tabs on the upgrade status for any Android device at my Android 4.0 upgrade list. It's always kept up-to-date with the latest info available for all phones and tablets.    

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Article copyright 2012 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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