Android is still relatively new to the world of smart phones with Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and now iPhone but it continues to evolve in leaps and bounds and many of us have seen the dust left in its tracks. There is much talk going on in the world of Android with fragmentation, legacy, and an issue that simply doesn’t exist as the issue has been called. Another phrase that I’ve seen around the forums is that Android 1.6 is “the kiss of death” and those devices will probably never see the light of another update to their OS. Although Andy Rubin has said that Android will eventually slow down to one update a year, in the mean time many people are still lost and confused wondering what will happen to their first generation beloved Android devices?
Recently Microsoft has been in the spotlight with trying to get rid of Internet Explorer 6 due to it being archaic and buggy, and it really does seem like handset carriers and manufacturers are doing the same thing. Before updating the devices that could carry the 2.1 update, HTC decided to make the Nexus One and Droid Incredible instead. How soon were the “legacy devices” chucked aside? Very fast.
Andy Rubin has also claimed that there is no fragmentation, it’s legacy, and so is Windows ’95 and Mac OS Tiger, but what happened to those computers and programs? They got dumped, chucked, and ditched for the next best thing, but those who have heavily invested in IE6, those who are still holding on to it, is because their programs are heavily integrated. Well, our phones are heavily integrated part of us too and can’t really write them off as a tax deduction can we? Blackberry was also THE phone to have, whether to be cool or for business, but now that has changed to Android and even the creator of the cellphone uses an Android phone. Blackberry gets less and less talk now and days, the last thing that made some waves was the Storm and its successor but SurePress was a quick kill to it. So, what will be next?
The beauty of Android is the fact that it’s new, powerful, customizable, and evolving beyond anything and faster than anyone anticipated. And at the same time, that’s what is hurting it. Recently the big scandal was with Samsung and their Behold II who will not receive anything after 1.6, which once again affirms the phrase “the kiss of death” and these customized layers in which heavily compromise Android. The Nexus One, running stock Android 2.1 will receive the next update once it is ready to launch due to not having any carrier restrictions and any other layers integrated that have to be, which the demo 2.2 Froyo release had HTC scrambling to prepare their Sense UI to be ready for the Droid Incredible and now the EVO 4G.
Our own Bryce Reeves has made a brilliant point on his article about the Behold II, in which he states that perhaps these new layers and UI skins for Android should be purchased through the Android Market or from the manufacturers’ website. This would allow the user to pick and choose exactly what they want, and wasn’t that the purpose of Android? Giving the users what they want and not telling them what they want and what they can have. The phrase “walled garden” has been used in describing Apple’s working of things, but the same can be said about how these manufacturers are putting their foot in their mouths when making such devices. I strongly agree with Bryce and believe that this should serious be taken into consideration with Google and so that they can continue to monitor and enforce certain rules in making Android Phones, just like Windows is doing with their Windows Mobile 7 Series.
Google indirectly is slowly breaking us down in what we can’t have, and with phrasing such as “legacy” and “fragmentation is the boogyman” to Android owners, what will happen to all first generation Android phones? What kind of homage is this to them? There would be no Nexus One without the G1. So will Android 1.6 and IE6 become lost forever, or will their manufacturers find some way to try and save the day? IE6’s fate is sealed, is Android’s? Only time will tell, as well as what is the next best thing to replace today’s best.