There have been a number of reports, rumors, speculations and general talk of Android 2.1 and older generation Android smart phones. The question on everyone’s mind is, “Will my Android get version 2.1?” I have received more than one email about the recent news concerning Android 2.1 and older phones. I didn’t jump on the story, because there wasn’t a confirmation of the updates and I decided instead to give the readers a chance to see what is official and what is rumor/speculation. With the introduction of Android 2.0 and then 2.1 a number of features were introduced that helped push the limit of the smart phone’s power and capabilities. Some of those features, such as live wallpaper and the 3D gallery and app drawer/interface can be vary taxing on the phone’s processor and memory. Can the current gen smart phones keep up?
Current Models on Sale in the US
This is a look into the current field of Android phones in the US Market and the feasibility of Android 2.1 making to these phones as some have predicted. Let’s start by rounding up the currently offered US Android phones that do not have Android 2.1 already on them, which is everything except the Nexus One.
*Note that the Behold II specs were hard to come by, and I don’t have much detail to them, I found out what I could, but I can’t find official documentation of the numbers. Hopefully someone can help me out?
I figured that in general there are three things that could exclude a phone from getting Android 2.1; Processor, RAM and ROM. So, I’ve compiled those three specs on the above table with each phone for each carrier, either for sale or will be within a week of this article.
Which Phones Definitely Get Android 2.1
Of the above phones we have confirmation from Sprint that the Hero and Moment on their network will be getting Android 2.1 “early Q2 2010″. Next, we have word from Motorola that the Droid and the Cliq will also be getting Android 2.1. Also, Verizon has stated they will be updating the Droid Eris to a “newer version” of Android, which we will take to mean 2.1. I made that jump from “newer version” to “2.1″, and if you don’t feel it’s a good jump, feel free to comment. As for the Backflip, Motorola’s spec sheet for the phone states it comes with Android 1.5 and is upgradeable to Android 2.1. Finally, over at T-Mobile, the only official word is that the Limited Edition Fender version of the myTouch 3G will be getting Android 2.1. Nothing about the original or 3.5mm carrying myTouch 3G (both having 192MB of RAM) nor anything about the G1.
Which Phones Might Not and Why
So, the phones on this list that might not make the jump to Android 2.1 include the G1, myTouch 3G series with 192MB of RAM and the Samsung Behold II. There are a number of article around the web stating otherwise, but nothing official. Some say that because the LE myTouch 3G is getting 2.1, the other myTouch 3G phones will too, but neither T-Mobile nor HTC have actually confirmed that. The point is, there is a big gap in RAM between those two phones. One has 288MB and the other 192MB. The other phones similar to the myTouch 3G have 64MB more RAM which means they have 33% more memory than the 192MB version. The Behold II should (if the specs I could find are true) have the capability to run 2.1, assuming the Samsung processor is up to the task, but there is such little information available on the Behold II it is difficult to say. Again, there is no official word from either T-Mobile or Samsung, so it’s questionable. Finally, the G1, which really is the most questionable of current Android phones. The G1 has been available now for about 14 months. In the cellphone/technology world, that’s a lifetime. The G1 has the most limited hardware in terms of memory with only 256MB of ROM, which is where the Android system is stored as well as the user’s applications. Android 2.1 is much heftier than the original Android 1.0 that shipped with the G1 and there is a good chance HTC/T-Mobile/Google have decided to let the G1 live out it’s life in Android 1.6. There is no official word stating the G1 would be getting Android 2.1.
Never fear owners of the myTouch 3G/G1 or Behold II. There are other options. There is a good chance that even if nothing official ever comes along, you’ll still get the chance to run Android 2.1 on your phone via the great Android developers around the world. check out the XDA forums and you’ll find a number of custom ROMs for you phones already in progress and a few with Android 2.1 already going for each. Sure it’s not official and it probably voids your warranty and there is a risk of rending your phone useless (that risk is very small if you follow directions well). But, it might be your only choice. Let’s hope not. Let’s hope that all current Android phones will get the update they deserve through official channels and their lives are extended just a few more months.