Bringing together the Android-o-Sphere

I’ve recently moved over to the Android mobile platform and I’m pretty happy with it…it’s full of cool apps, e-book readers and fancy widgets. However, the biggest problem is fragmentation of the Operating System…there are currently 4 different Android OS releases in the market:

1.5

1.6

2.0

2.1

The big thing is that certain apps only work on certain versions, and that, my friends, is disappointing! One of the major apps that attracted me to Android was “Google Goggles” but, 4 months later I still haven’t used it 😦 Goggles is an Android 2.0+ app and my phone, the HTC Hero, is an Android 1.5 device. I knew that when I bought it but I had also been led to believe that an upgrade was imminent…like before end of 2009 imminent. It was then “sometime it January” and, after a period of silence, it was “by the end of March”. It’s now being reported by MSN & Engadget that HTC will roll out the update to 2.1 on April 26th in Taiwan, with the rest of the world following shortly after. I hope that happens as I think then, Android will truly realise it’s potential…and I’ll get to have all kinds of fun 🙂

It’s not just Goggles…other apps I’m missing out on include:

Flyscreen (1.6+) (adds apps to lock screen)

Gesture Search (2.1…now backported to 1.6)

Google Earth (2.1 only) <—This is a proper WTF decision…why isn’t Google Earth available to ALL owners of Google phones?!?!

and I’m sure countless more.

However, according to Engadget, Google are on the case…by splitting the OS up even more. At first I was like “What the WHAT?!” but having RTFA it does make sense:

Google “will start by decoupling many of Android’s standard applications and components from the platform’s core and making them downloadable and updatable through the Market”

This means that one wouldn’t be at the mercy of the manufacturer (HTC etc) or the carrier (AT&T etc) when new shiny bits were released for Android…you could just go and get it. That would be brilliant 🙂 This seems to be codenamed “Froyo” and then a later version will “Gingerbread”.

I’m not a great fan of Google but I do think that Android is the best Mobile OS currently available, and this appears to be a good solution to a very annoying problem. So 1) Hurry up HTC and get me onto 2.1 and 2) hurry up Google and implement this to prevent such disparate lag between users & devices.

Read the full scoop over at Engadget here.

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