Back in September I wrote a blog about a low cost LG Android phone I’d bought – the Optimus GT450.
At the time I was impressed by the features you could get for around £100 and predicted that such phones would really shake up the market – and also that Apple would have to launch a stripped down iPhone “nano” to compete.
Well, Apple are no doubt still working on the “nano” but Android really has gone from strength to strength – it fact it was announced today in a YouGov report that Android users in the UK now outnumber iPhone users.
I’ve continued to be impressed by “low end” android handsets – I’ve recently tried an Orange San Francisco and my latest phone – a Motorola Flip out.
Now the Flipout is a great phone if you want to stand out from the crowd – its square, with keyboard that literally flips out sideways.
It also has a trick up its sleeve that I’ve not seen anywhere else – a media player that looks up song lyrics and displays them in time with the music. Its a real gadget "wow" moment when you see it working for the first time - I promise you that every media player and iPod will do this in future.
But Andriod's Achilles heal is its creator's, Google, lack of control over what manufacturers and app developers do with the platform.
For instance, the Flipout runs on Android version 2.1. But Android 2.2 has lots of nice new features I’d like to use but will the Flipout ever get an upgrade to version 2.2? The signs are from Motorola that it won’t.
And what about all those apps I’ve subsequently downloaded – can I trust them? Well, it turns out I can’t.
Google don’t check each app as carefully as Apple – and dozens of them had to removed from the Android market because they were illegally collecting personal data.
So just like the inspiration for the Android logo, R2D2, this OS looks like it has a hidden, darker side underneath its cute outer skin. And in a parallel to the films, it looks like being on the side of openness and freedom leaves you open to the corruption of evil forces.
Ultimately I think Google’s mobile toddler is a good thing, so let’s just hope that it has the Force on its side.
Update on 28/04/11
I discovered at the weekend that the Flipout definitely doesn't survive a dip in salt water.
So am know looking for my next Andriod to try out....