Differentiation leads to fragmented, confused Android
While differentiation is one of the key benefits behind Android, it's leading to fragmentation.
One year after the introduction of the
At the time of this writing, there are three versions of Android on the market. On Verizon Wireless, the recently released
What's more, there are four other handsets running Android 1.5: Sprint's
The differences stem from the desire handset manufacturers have to differentiate themselves. Rather than go for the stock Android experience, companies are opting to add their own flavors to help stand out. The problem is that Android's updates come from the handset maker and not Google. As we're learning, it could be months before HTC or Motorola catch their handsets up with 1.6, let alone 2.0.
By then it's not unrealistic to think that Google will be ready to push its next build (Flan) out to handsets. And remember that much anticipated
This is becoming confusing and discouraging to current and potential customers. Normally, the newer the phone, the more advanced the operating system. But with Android, the two oldest phones have more software capability than the six that followed. Imagine the frustration of saving up a couple hundred dollars to get the latest and greatest handset only to find that older phones have more potential. Google recentlyto Android 1.6 devices. Sadly, this still leaves over half of all Android phones without the feature.
It doesn't get any easier for developers. Many are practically pulling their hair out over minor updates and bug fixes. With each new handset comes a different camera video tweak or extra line of code to address video drivers. Differentiation in hardware is just as big of a headache. It might not be a bad idea for Google to step up and set some standards or recommend specific hardware. The sooner all of these things are addressed, the better.