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Vodafone volte-face on Galaxy S

Did we say 'invalidate'?

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Vodafone tells us it will honour its warranty on Galaxy S handsets updated with firmware from Samsung, despite saying the opposite last week.

Users running Samsung's desktop synchronisation software were offered the upgrade, to version "JM1", but those who took up the offer were later told through the Vodafone forum that they had invalidated the handset warranty by doing so. That's not true, Vodafone now tells us, and the operator will honour the warranty on any firmware installed using the software.

We did ask Vodafone to confirm its position, last Wednesday, but other than promising to get back to us the operator said nothing, so this morning we decided to run a piece on the subject.

And now we have an official statement from the company, promising that installing an official Samsung upgrade will not invalidate any warranty provided by Vodafone.

Vodafone tells us the problem is only with Galaxy S handsets that were shipped before the operator had created a "variant" version of the firmware. Variant versions including operator settings and, often, branding and applications. The problem for an operator is that Carphone Warehouse will start selling vanilla versions of the handset from the moment it's launched, while the variant version may take a week or two to put together.

In theory that can be done prior to launch, but that means getting early access to hardware which isn't as easy as it should be. The manufacturer will provide a few handsets, but once the network people have grabbed some for radio testing, and management have snagged their ego-handsets, there are never enough left which leaves the operator late to market with the latest gear.

To avoid that Vodafone shipped vanilla Galaxy S handsets for the first week or two, and it's those handsets which are asking to be updated with the latest Samsung release.

Vodafone's variant for the Galaxy S is happily bereft of the Vodafone 360 code extras which got slipped onto Desire handsets with their last update, and hopefully the delay is Vodafone stripping those things out before upsetting Galaxy S owners (as it has for owners of the HTC Desire), rather than taking the time to add them in. ®

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