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Vodafone gets in another fine mess over Android, this time with Galaxy S

Vodafone has Samsung Galaxy S owners in a twist after the company stated that downloading official Samsung firmware could invalidate their warranty.

Vodafone is in yet more hot water over Android updates, having to backtrack over a threat to Samsung Galaxy S owners that upgrading their phones with official firmware could invalidate their warranty.

Posts on the official Vodafone forum show the problem started a couple of weeks ago, when some Galaxy S owners indicated they had downloaded Samsung's official JM1 Android firmware to eliminate bugs.

But 'Martin B of Vodafone' posted, "Any firmware that hasn't been released by us does invalidate the warranty directly with Vodafone."

This caused something of a sherbertstorm, as users had downloaded the update with Kies, the official synchronisation software provided with the Galaxy S.

Poster 'Sammy S' said, "If the official Vodafone position is that we should NOT be upgrading software when offered to [us] by Kies, then this is a serious issue and Vodafone should put a warning on its website or an information leaflet when the phones are sold to the end user."

In reply Vodafone seemed confused about what its policy actually was, and advised Galaxy S users to "feel free to continue speculating and discussing this amongst yourselves."

'Frostfree' was scathing about the reply saying, "it's deliberately vague, a blatant cop out, and damn right condescending."

Vodafone's silence over the matter didn't help, and arguments went on until yesterday, until 'Tom at Vodafone' finally confirmed, "Customers who are prompted to download the official JM1 software through the Samsung Kies PC sync software will not invalidate their warranty."

He revealed that early Galaxy S adopters had been running an open-market version of the software Vodafone provided, and had received a prompt to download the JM1 firmware. At some point Samsung and Vodafone will provide a Vodafone variant of the JM1 update.

"There's been several Vodafone PR disasters lately but this must take the biscuit," FrostFree concluded. Indeed, Vodafone recently made HTC Desire owners very angry after foisting Vodafone apps on them which many believed was Android 2.2. Later it apologised and promised users a standard version of Froyo.

Generally the roll out of Android updates has been a cause of frustration for many, as phone networks add their own level of branding to the updates created by manufacturers. These themselves appear weeks after Google's official version is released.

But at least Galaxy S and Desire owners don't face the problem of British Motorola Dext and Flipout owners, who won't receive an Android update ever again.

Is Vodafone to blame for this situation, or was this always likely to happen? Is it now simply easier to get an Android device without network branding? Let us know.