North America is in the foul clutches of Superbowl Sunday: an orgy or consumerist messages interspersed with football. A visiting USAnian was regaling me with tales of a sideline man with giant orange gloves, whose sole job is to get the attention of the referee when it is time for more commercials.
First up we have the XPeria Play, Sony’s Android 2.3 powered gamephone. I find this thing very interesting: Sony is normally fastidious about copy protection, locking their systems down hard. Of course this never stops their systems from being hacked, but they try. Android is arguably (actually: demonstrably) the least secure mobile operating system on the market today. Obvious conclusion: Sony will be baking their own game DRM into Android 2.3, perpetuating their “no upgrades for you” philosophy.
Then we’ve got the Motorola Xoom: “The world’s first Android 3.0 tablet”. The ad is a blindingly obvious dig at the iFanboys. Huge call given that no one has really played with one, and Apple appears to be on the cusp of launching the iPad 2. Still, early reports have the Xoom looking and performing “pretty awesome“.
Tablets though? It it only me that has this nagging feeling that we’re heading down the same path as netbooks: a huge, short hypecycle that quickly ends up satisfying niche purchasers and no one else?
Android: Everywhere and Nowhere
Both of these appear to be excellent Android devices, but they are worlds apart. There’s no way you’ll ever play Sony’s games on the Motorola Xoom, and I’ll bet a considerable sum that you’ll never see Android 3.0 on Sony’s Xperia Play. This is my conflict: I want OEMs to adopt a good operating system — and Android is really getting there much faster than previous efforts — but it’s just so damn confusing.
I get questions all the time from friends and visitors. It’s easy when they ask “should I buy an iPhone?”. I can say: sure, if you don’t mind Apple’s ecosystem and don’t have a philisophical position on open software. When they ask “should I buy an Android?”, I have to say: It depends on which Android you are talking about, then explain about versions, hardware and upgrades.