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Is it better to go for froyo now or wait for icecream sandwich?

|January 13 2011 |Android, Mobile OS


Many folks out there want to own a handset powered by Android. But they are stuck by one question. Which version of Android OS should i go after? Should I buy a Froyo-powered handset or Gingerbread or should I wait for Android 2.4 codenamed "Icecream Sandwich"? The answer to the above question is 'it depends'!

android-os-version

It depends on what your needs are, how much of icecream sandwich features you would be using, what's your budget, how badly you want a android phone now, how long can you wait, how adventerous you are (to root a handset).

You need to keep in mind few things. When you go for android devices manufactured by HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola or Sony Ericsson or any other manufacturer, you have to live with the interfaces customized by the respective manufacturers. HTC has Sense and Motorola has Blur :) All these manufacturers take time to customize their UIs before you get to experience the latest OS updates. There is an extra layer of intermediation. So, even though google has released gingerbread now, it would take months or even a year before you receive gingerbread update on your handset. Ofcourse, this limitation can be overcome by 'rooting' your phone. Rooting is similar to iPhone jailbreaking and allows users 'root' access to the underlying linux operating system. Rooting allows users to install custom third party android operating system. There is a thriving community of android developers who frequently roll out latest releases of android builds as soon as google releases one. Example of one such community is XDA Developers.

But if you buy Google nexus one of Google nexus S handset, there's no such limitation. These handsets are directly sold by Google and comes with pristine android OS without any sort of modification or customization. So, these devices get the updates before any other handsets in the market can get.

Also, keep in mind that the underlying hardware sometimes determines which version can be supported. Every version of operating system requires minimum hardware specifications. As long as your hardware is capable of supporting the os, you can go ahead and install them. Otherwise, there is no point going for latest version of android os because you wont be able to enjoy those features.

There has been a lot of dual-core smartphones announced during CES 2011. Most of these smartphones will be hitting the markets beginning march 2011. Go for any of these dual-core smartphones and you can enjoy the android updates upto may be next 4 levels!

Each version of Android brings in new set of features:

Android 2.3 Gingerbread Highlights
UI refinements for simplicity and speed
Faster, more intuitive text input
One-touch word selection and copy/paste
Improved power management
Control over applications
Internet calling (VoIP, SIP)
Near-field communications
Downloads management
Support for multiple Cameras

Android 2.2 Highlights
Improved Home Screen
Mail Exchange support
Portable Wi-Fi hotspot
Multiple keyboard languages
Improved performance

Reference
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooting_(Android_OS)
http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-2.3-highlights.html
http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-2.2-highlights.html
http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-2.0-highlights.html
http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-1.6-highlights.html
http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-1.5-highlights.html


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