Mobile phones are aplenty in the market. And the accompanying mobile operating system, be it Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, or iPhone OS, have also made the choice that much tougher for consumers. So the question is - why the variety? And what's with the lack, or at times, flood of updates that comes with each new mobile device?
One specific example to take note of is Google's open source OS, Android. The search engine giant has been keeping itself busy over the past year with its multiple iterations of the OS. From the basic 1.1, to the 1.5 Cupcake, 1.6 Donut, 2.0 / 2.1 Eclair and many more sweet-toothed code names to come. Truth is, multiple updates are great, bringing with it newer and better features on your devices. But what if, the latest devices aren't loaded with the most updated Android version?
That is a reality for most manufacturers. Motorola has managed to keep itself ahead of the game by bunking in with Google and included Android 2.0 on its flagship model, the Motorola DROID (or known as the MILESTONE in GSM-based areas). This move has brought the ailing company back into the game, and could give HTC a run for their money.
HTC isn't exactly laying dormant with the Android scene. Their hero product, aptly named as the HTC Hero, brought a wave of change in the fledgling Android scene. Taking full advantage of the customizability of the Android platform, the Taiwanese company unleashed their unique Sense UI, first on Android, and followed by its newer Windows Mobile devices. So even if you're getting Android 1.5 on the Hero, the experience is enhanced beyond what you expect for an Android 1.5 platform.
That's not to say manufacturers aren't doing their best to catch up. Acer has already announced that it'll be launching more Android devices loaded with Android 2.1, such as the Acer Liquid e. Samsung's Galaxy Spica is also looking at an Android 2.1 update, alongside Acer's earlier Acer Liquid and Sony Ericsson's Xperia X10.
And upping the ante once again is HTC, moving ahead with its new HTC Legend and Desire, both sporting not just an Eclair update, but also a newly improved Sense UI on the devices.
So to our readers out there who's ever considered an Android device, put some faith in your purchases, even if they are running on an earlier Android platform. Because more than likely, you'll see a prompt update to the latest version. Choose wisely though, because chances are, it's the flagship models that will get the bump up to the latest firmware.
Seow Tein Hee / Former Associate Editor
Attuned to the latest mobile technology and news, Tein Hee is always on the lookout for innovation and creativity in the mobile industry.