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As you've no doubt already noticed, there are now an overwhelming number of Android smartphones and tablets out there on the market. In the press releases, of course, every device is the best in its class, and one cannot survive a day without being told that such-and-such smartphone will change the industry forever. Every day, approximately 550,000 new devices are activated over a range of different Android operating systems. But have we now reached a point of hopeless confusion?

 It's actually a wonderful thing, of course, to have such a range of devices for consideration. However, it becomes quite complicated when there are so many devices that even an expert has a hard time distinguishing one from the other. The technical details for many read like hieroglyphics and the advantages of device A over device B cannot always so easily be understood. Sure you can always read the reviews, but they become outdated rather quickly, so that if you're searching for a review of the Xperia Arc it may not be so relavent a mere four months after publication.

Apart from trying to distinguish phones with only marginally different technical capabilities, the consumer must also bear in mind what version of Android is the newest and whether or not the device comes shipped with that version, and why Froyo is worse than Gingerbread and Honeycomb is great except there aren't enough apps for it and Donut and Eclaire are completely out-dated but will end up making you hungry if you think too much about them. That's not even mentioning the chips or the different UIs smartphone manufacturers lay over the Android kernel (who would have known I'd appreciate HTC's Sense UI so much more than Sony's UI...none of the reviews I read compared the two).

The fact that Google's open policy has lead to a wide range of different hardware experiences (AKA the drawbacks to fragmentation) is, by now, an over-exposed fact, but a fact nonetheless. One way Google seems to want to counteract this is by creating their own line, AKA the Nexus brand, for a pure Google experience.

Another step the company could take would be to create an interactive website that allowed you to compare any Android phone on the market. It could include Flash animations of different phones that could be dragged next to each other and be compared on a range of different technical and not-so-technical factors.

What do you think of this idea? Are you overwhelmed by the number of Androids out there or can you differentiate them pretty easily? Think Ice Cream Sandwich will make it all easier? Let us know below!


A Critical Look at the Android Fragmentation Debate

Wired's New Story About Android is a Fantastic Read

Google's Strategy Against Fragmentation

Source: Windsor Star


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  • Aaron -

    You have some very good points. The Chinese will be holding their resources close to the vest, when they start seeing the depletion of their resources very near to being finished.

    Before then, they can claim that their resources are already at nearly rock-bottom, and gouge the consumers for an even LONGER period of time. The Chinese are the 'gatekeepers' to the world's future, be it good or bad.

    My country already went through our own Industrial Revolution; when the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) was created at the end of the 1960s, our nation was one of the most polluted countries in the world, if not the most...

    China is doing the same thing... but, China is hedging its bets for the future. They are the go-to bank for loans... ask any country out there. We need to be ever watchful... ;)

  • I think whats really going to bring the whole game to pause will be when the rare-earths that are requried to keep making the phones start to dwindle. I mean they are called rare-earths for a reason; there is barely any supply and the country that has the largest deposites, China, has placed major caps on exports because they will be what drive the tech. sector in the next several decades or beyond. Thats why the most major componet supplyers are all in China. They can produce at a lower per unit price because they don't have to play the government backed tarifs on the minerals.

    In the midterm, unless new deals are worked out with the Chinese government we might see higher prices or companies having to agressivly recycle older electronic devices in order to keep up a production scale that I'm not sure the free market can natuarly support. It will be intresting to see how its going to develop in the next several years.

  • Steven -

    As a 50-year-old American, who has lived through many instances of over-marketed commercialism, I can say (write) this:

    You're absolutely right. Just like Windows computers, cheap cars, and the like.

    I own an HTC Evo 4G, and, everyone was trying to get me to buy their phone of choice - namely, Motorola. They do the same thing, though, they use SIM cards in their phones... personally, I believe that phones like the QWERTY keyboard Droid are very poorly made.

    But, they keep pumping them out. Maybe when they see that they've over-saturated the global market, they'll slow down. They probably won't, because their short-term business models look pretty good. At least, when you look at overall smartphone sales in the United States, you can arrive at that assumption without a thought.

    Maybe when these companies do their marketing research, they'll need to start acknowledging this phenomenon. After all, going after the short-term "fast money" really isn't good for a company, especially when they have such a large lineup of smartphones. If you have any other ideas, Steven, share them with the rest of us. :)

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