Why does Samsung hate OTA updates so much? Using Kies sucks.
We feel you Richard. Having to load software on your computer to perform an update seems like a step backwards, and in the wrong direction. And speaking for the minority as a Linux user who can't install most of these desktop suite programs, they do indeed suck. But in some cases, using Kies to update phones is actually a good idea. Read on.
Put away your pitchforks and let me explain. Let's use a US carrier branded Galaxy S II as an example here. It shipped with Gingerbread under TouchWiz, and that offers a unique set of features. A lot of people absolutely love that feature set -- they did sell about a zillion Galaxy S II phones after all. Eventually, Samsung got ICS ready for all those phones, and the carrier gave the green light to roll it out. Maybe it was months too late, but that's not a factor in this discussion. It came, and needed a method to be installed on users phones.
Some carriers worked with Samsung and sent out an OTA update. It's the easy way, and what most of us reading sites like AC prefer. But not everyone wanted to change the features they were accustomed to using for a new set with ICS. We think it all looks the same because of TouchWiz, but the number of posts in forums around the Internet and emails we receive from frustrated users say other wise. There is enough of a difference there to create a new learning curve, and at least a few lost something they enjoyed having. All because a notification told them to update.
Other carriers did not send out the notification, and instead opted to tell users via text or email that they could get a system update if they wanted one. A link to directions and downloads were provided, and those who wanted the ICS update were all over it, while those who didn't care were still loving their Galaxy S II -- and don't have a notification telling them to update that won't go away.
We often get wrapped up in the power-user (read geek) side of Android and forget about the majority of the 1.3 million users per day -- most of which are new users -- that just love their phone, and don't care about something new. they deserve a little love, too. Even if it means we're stuck using Kies.