Are we seeing too many Android devices, running on varying Android versions of late? I've touched upon this topic a while back, highlighting the various issues of fragmented Android versions across the lineup. Even with the coming of more Android phones, we are still seeing earlier versions such as Android 1.6 (Donut) on devices such as the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10.
Thankfully, newer devices such as the HTC Desire (which has gotten the review treatment here) and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S have moved on to the latest Android 2.1 version. Not content with just the standard interface, both devices are armed with HTC's Sense UI and Samsung's TouchWiz UI respectively. And yes, both interfaces do bring a new level of interactivity and usability to it.
But is it truly enough? In the tech world, especially the mobile segment, if you snooze, you lose. Google is poised to launch its Android 2.2, or known as Froyo, very soon. And with it, a slew of updates such as internet tethering, Wi-Fi hotspot, and most importantly, Flash 10.1 support. These updates will significantly increase the Android platform's sustainability, and it would be quite obvious that the Google Nexus One should be the first to receive this update. This will leave the other Android devices trailing in its wake and awaiting the Froyo update (if it's applicable to them).
However, don't discount the fact that the HTC Desire or the Samsung Galaxy S won't be receiving the update very soon. As shared by a HTC spokesperson, the Desire is Flash 10.1 ready. Within this statement, one can project that the Froyo update is most probably coming to HTC's flagship Android device. What you might have to take note of, is when. With the intricate design of HTC's Sense UI, more work is required to ensure the full integration of the said interface into Android 2.2. The same can be said for the Samsung Galaxy S, which will have to work on getting its TouchWiz interface to blend in seamlessly.
So it's back to the same question - getting the Nexus One, or holding off for something more spectacular like the HTC Desire or Samsung Galaxy S? Early adopters might want to consider the Nexus One to get the update at the earliest possible time. But if you want something snazzier, we say, hold out for the Taiwanese and Korean Android devices. How long will the wait be? For all you know, you might have to then make the choice between a customized Android device, or the incoming, standardized Windows Phone 7.
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.