Motorola today took the wraps of yet another Android smartphone, this one called Quench and based around a 3.1in touchscreen. If the Quench seems familiar, it's because its already been annouced, kind of. Recently, Motorola unveiled the Cliq XT in the US, and the Quench is the same handset, tweaked for the European market just …
Why the hell are all these Android phones coming out with different versions of the OS? Can they be upgraded out of the box to 2.1 (or whatever it is that the Nexus One is running)? If not, I can imagine that it's a pain in the arse to develop for Android.
I have a theory about the versions...
Pure speculation, please feel free to throw out your own ideas...
But I believe that Motorola and Verizon asked to be bumped way ahead of the standard rollout schedule for the Droid / Milestone. In fact knowing what they spent on the Droid I wouldn't be surprised if they *paid* Google for the right to do that. (more spectulation! ohnoes.) This gave Motorola a sizeable leg up on other Google phones, right up until the Nexus One came along.
Evidence for this comes in 2 additional ways:
-How very late Google was in getting the 2.0 SDK to developers
-How many phones are still released on 1.6
I believe that everyone else is still releasing Android 1.6 because if they have a 6-12 month development cycle and they were working on 1.6 before the Droid release date (19 Oct 2009 here in the US), they wouldn't have had time to develop and test based on 2.0+ code and get the product out the door.
Meanwhile, as a G1 user, I suffered through buggy updates as developers scrambled to get their apps up to 2.x snuff and now I'm sitting on my thumb waiting for T-Mobile to push 2.x to my phone. Before summer, perhaps?
I wouldn't say that the different versions make it much harder to code for, something like 80% of the Android user base is on 1.5 and 1.6, so as a dev, that's your target version.
2.0+ is fully backwards compatible with 1.5 and 1.6, so unless you *need* a feature only available in 2.0+, you stick to 1.5/1.6.
I do agree though, manufacturers need to keep the devices up to date as much as possible. I can see future handsets stating whether they will / won't be kept updated.
Grenade to blow away older versions of Android.
Looks very nice too.
Motorola (once the lame duck of the mobile world) seem to have found their way again.
I hope the actual form is a good as it looks.
"Quench runs Android 1.5."
pity - 2.1 Is looking very nice.
A much more likely theory
All these manufacturers that make their own UIs (Samsung, HTC) have to do extensive redevelopment for Android 2.0. And they can't be bothered. The Nexus One has no such addons, so it's free to run the cutting edge.