Android Splintering

*EDIT*: Apparently Rogers didn't push an upgrade to Android 1.6, and it's very possible that they may never push up this update. Since I still use the phone I received from Google IO, I was not aware of this.

Recently, there's been talk about Android splintering. This isn't a rumour, it's a fact. Here's a short list of the Android Devices that are either in Canada right now or are slated to arrive and what they support:

  • HTC Magic (Rogers): Android 1.5 (Upgradeable to 1.6)
  • HTC Dream (Rogers): Android 1.5 (Upgradeable to 1.6)
  • HTC Hero (Telus): Android 1.5
  • LG Eve (Rogers): Android 1.5
  • Motorola Milestone (Telus): Android 2.0 (Coming: Early 2010)

OK, this sucks! Android 1.6 introduced one MUST HAVE feature for Android, and now we're excluding ALL the Canadian carriers? Now, it's clear that Telus didn't really have Android to begin with because of the fact that they were stuck with CDMA so long. However, that being said, this is not theoretical splintering, this is something that's happened. Now, while I don't care about the LG Eve, since it looks like a piece of crap (I can actually walk into stores and look at these devices!), I do care about the HTC Hero not being able to run PhoneGap.

Now, I could downgrade, but I lose support for the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and the Motorola Droid, but I can tell you right now that we're not going to downgrade. This trend of shipping devices with a sub-standard version of Android needs to stop. I don't expect people to ship with 2.0, because while it has nice, new features, it's clearly got some issues that need to be resolved. However, shipping without the latest minor version (1.6), or at least pushing an OTA update is stupid. Hardware manufactuers and carriers need to keep in line with latest, which should be pushed to the Android Open Source Project repository. If that doesn't happen early, and often, it's going to keep frustrating developers.