So Samsung are saying a Mid March release of ICS, can O2 confirm a date of when this will be available to us? I had the HTC Desire and I hope the O2 have learned their lessons from that upgrade process!
I'd have thought consumers would have learned from that "update process" as well I.e if you want the updates asap buy the phone direct and unbranded. Otherwise you're putting yourself in the position where your updates will need (O2 in this example) branding so there will be a delay in doing this over the unbranded releases
If you do de-brand, you're effectively getting the Samsung version without the O2 additions. You get the nicer (IMO) boot animation too. You will probably have to set up the settings for mobile data though, under "Wireless and network" > "Mobile networks" > "Access Point Names"