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Is the Force on the side of the Androids?

handy giff-staffer

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.

 

Motorola-Flipout.jpg

 

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....

47 Comments
tipster

Good Blog, I have an Orange San Fransisco. which was under £100 you can get nearly all of the features of high spec phone on it. Good to here more on OS.

beginner

I just think the Android is in a much better price range than that of the IPhone [edited: removal of sim order banner, PM sent]

cgf
chaperon

Apple is great in that it just works but there comes a time when boredom from familiarity takes hold. This is where modding can prolong the life of a product. Apple users dont beleive they need or feel this but apple knows they do and caters to it in the form of "expensive" yearly upgrades.

 

I just put japenese jelly fish on my sons sanfrancisco. Its like a new change of clothes or moving the furniture around to elicit a new feel. No matter how much I love osx it stays the same, it can wear thin.

 

slightly off topic but keeping with the upgrade itch I had an idea yesterday that we have way too much plastic in the world due to an over collection of oil. So why cant manufacturers offer to sell just the inner workings for when the upgrade itch becomes too much and/or the hardware becomes outdated. They could make them fit one or two different style cases so we could all find a manufacturer/model we like and just swap out when needed. This wouldnt effect too many peoples overall look of a phone as alot put them into jelly cases. For those who dont like this approach full phones or upgrade cases can be available but the overall volume would be reduced and this would save resources.

augur
Spam by 'wowodirect' reported.
instructor

I agree with CGF

 

While I realy like the way my iPhone works, it does feel a little like groundhog day sometimes!

 

I just have to force myself to remember the last time that boredom crept in and I switched devices/platforms. I always go back, it's the best fit for me.

 

I'll get the iP5 when it comes out, no doubt. I'll upgrade the kids to Galaxy s devices soon too - they are cheap as chips second hand Smiley Wink

rookie

I have had Nokias over the years.

I have had Sony Ericsson when they had T68i.

Never like Motorola since my first bricks C520 and T8888.

 

Liked Nokias and SE T68i because they were easy to unlock when i wanted to use another network. I even modded my Nokia 3210 to have a vibrating chip and extra games.

 

Since those days I have even had Samsung Z320i which had O2 imode, not they supported it for long. Samsung i8510 which had nokia's symbian software and a Samsung s8300 Tocco Ultra Edition which had Samsung own software before Samsung used bada.

 

I even a BlackBerry Bold 9700 on Orange with all it's great features, but became a useless phone when stopped being Orange, since all the features were to closely tied into the Network and the Handset when you want to go with another provider even its Orange's own PAYG.

 

Now have Samsung Galaxy S with android, updated to 2.2 (even with 3's branding) with Flash 10.2 and unlocked to any network. (Originally on 3 network). Also have iPhone 3GS (thanks again to 3, got it in a factory unlocked state from 3 back when they offically didn't have iPhone on their UK network (they propably got it from 3 Italy because everything in the pack was italian with 3 branding)).

 

My point is, it is not the manufacture or the OS that makes me decide which phone anymore. Look at how many different OS you can get Samsung with. Even nokia are now using many OS. It is how easy it is to use for what you want to do on it, how it looks and more importantly how freely you can decide to use a different sim in it since i have paid for the phone one way or enough i want the freedom to put another sim in it. That is why i think I like android because you can have that freedom if you wanted, you have the freedom to do stuff to the software, to make you own apps without spending thousands, use email with out having to buy apple's me service or pay to use BlackBerry's Push Email and Blackberry Services, other OSs to android work great but if you move provider like with a BlackBerry extra features are no use, Apple just expensive to use or expensive to upgrade or buy. Android just gives you that freedom customers and/or geeks want plus all the features and it does have to be expensive either just to get a decent phone.

 

 

scholar

The HTC Wildfire S will be a good phone when released. It will be shipped with 2.3 Gingrbread. I like android phones and devices because they are easy to mod.

 

Apart from my 1st HTC Hero I didn't bother, but had a HTC Wildfire and now a San Francisco which both were modded. I am currently running CM7 Stable on my San Francisco. 

dabbler

Android is better than ios!! I went to Sports Direct on Saturday and there was this guy telling this girl that he had managed to flash his iphone into an android platform... surely android must be better!

Go Android!

 

Please Kudo me Smiley Wink

instructor

@iawak - I love your reasoning. You clearly know what you're talking about - I should get myself down to Sports Direct for all my tech scoops. I overheard a guy in Greggs the other day saying he'd made teleportation device out of an old Tamagochi and a stand-up sunbed. He might have been talking rubbish though - you just can't tell.

 

@Keighleyboy - Why do you have to buy Mobileme? I sync contacts, email, and calendar all wirelessley, all free. I get push email, free. It's not necessary to buy mobileme at all - where would you get that information from? How is Apple "expensive to use"? Does my data cost more than yours?

Your Blackberry Bold didn't cease to be useful when removed from the Orange network - I just assume you didn't have the skills/knowledge to set it up on another provider. That's hardly the handset's fault - the 9700 is an excellent device, even now.

Yes, iPhones ARE more expensive to buy, but you also get a stronger risidual value. 

 

I agree that Android is an excellent OS/concept - my kids love it, and it's a great way to get them into the smartphone scene for little outlay. I am planning a Galaxy Tab for my daughter- they certainly are cheap these days!

 

It never ceases to impress me how people have can have such strong opinions coupled with such weak knowledge on a subject.

scholar
Not to mention the glut of Android tablets too, they are equally as customisable as their mobile phones counterparts. I have an Advent Vega tablet which was £200, £129 cheaper than the 1st gen Apple iPad entry level 16gb wfi only model. I Can do a lot more on my Vega then I could do on the iPad.