Android Hardware Diversity Leads to Fate of Upgrade Disparity

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By: Chuong Nguyen | Date: 29-Dec-09 | 2 Comments

Despite Google aficionados pushing differences between Android versus the Windows Mobile operating system from Microsoft--like a more contemporary look and feel and more finger-friendly UI--there appears to be a few similarities between the two operating systems. Android, like the aging Windows Mobile OS, is featured on devices from different manufacturers running different chipsets and containing different hardware and software customizations. Similar to the diversity in hardware in Windows Mobile handsets, there are keyboard-less devices such as the HTC Hero, soon to be released Snapdragon devices like the Nexus One, and sliders similar to the Motorola Droid on the Android operating system. Additionally, there is vanilla Android embodied by the "Google Experience" handsets and also customized flavors such as the HTC Sense UI and the Sony Ericsson customizations. All these variations in hardware and software makes rolling an OS upgrade more difficult on Android, and Google may soon be experiencing some consumer backlash against modern handsets running yesteryear's OS version.

With Google Android 1.6 and 2.0 on the market and the soon to be launched 2.1, there are quite a few Android devices running Google Android 1.5 still. North of the border in Canada, users of the HTC Dream, HTC Magic, and LG Eve are upset that Android 1.6 hasn't come to carrier Rogers Wireless. Although Android devices can take advantage of over the air (OTA) upgrades where upgrades are downloaded wirelessly either over a WiFi or 3G connection, upgrades haven't been flowing freely, mirroring some of the precedents set forth between carriers and manufacturers on the Windows Mobile side. Thus far, Rogers has this to say:

I understand you frustration. We at Rogers are dealing with unprecedented circumstances here, which sometimes come with being the first to market with new, innovative phones and being a leader in the industry. We are doing the best we can to learn from these experiences and communicate with our customers.

As always, when purchasing a phone, be sure to select the devices on the features you need and determine if the operating system and its current version offers you the greatest utility that you demand. Be sure to check for keyboards, form factors, and OS features such as push email, documents viewing or editing, TV output if needed, multimedia support, and other essentials. Usually, the decision to roll out major OS upgrades and revisions rests between the carriers and the manufacturers. Users should not bank on upgrades unless it has been officially confirmed and announced.

If you're in the US, for details on if you're device warrants an upgrade, you can check out the upgrade guide.


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