Dell's death-wish Android Aero
I thought something was missing when I read the news release that arrived this morning from Dell, touting a new smartphone running Google's Android operating system. The specifications listed there made its Aero ($99.99 for new or renewing AT&T customers) look impressive enough, but they left out one detail: what version of Android came on the phone.
So did the listing for the phone on Dell's site.
Not good: Companies don't omit such an important detail if it's anything worth bragging about. My suspicions were proved right when Dell publicist Kristin Calcagno replied that the Aero runs "a superset" of Android 1.5.
The added features she touted--for example, handwriting recognition and "one-click upload of photos to social sites"--could be interesting, but Android 1.5? Today? Really?
For those unfamiliar with the progress of Google's smartphone software, Android 1.5 dates to April 2009. Almost all phones now ship with Android 2.1, and (far too) few bundle the 2.2 release Google introduced in May. The seemingly small difference in version numbers hides dramatic improvements in responsiveness, battery life, support for third-party apps, networking and multimedia.
(Trust me on that. I bought an Android 1.5 phone last winter; the 2.1 update that arrived in May was the next-best thing to getting a new phone.)
To ship an Android phone in August 2010 with 1.5 installed is a rough equivalent of shipping a new laptop with Windows XP preinstalled. Except on that laptop, you could then go out and buy a copy of the far-better Windows 7. With the Aero, as with other Android phones that have been "customized" by manufacturers who think they can out-program Google's developers, you'll have to wait for Dell to ship an update tailored for its tweaks.
And Dell won't even say if it will do that, much less talk scheduling: "We have not announced any plans for an upgrade path," Calcagno wrote in a follow-up.
The Aero could be a worthy phone in some ways. But until Dell gets serious about keeping up with the rest of the smartphone industry, my stance on it is simple: Don't buy this phone.
Posted by: Bill64738 | August 24, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: frantaylor | August 24, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bill64738 | August 24, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: strohminator | August 24, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tundey | August 24, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: devanssjc | August 24, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse