There is no doubt that those in the know when it comes to mobile phones are moving more toward Google’s Android operating system with every new release. Apple has taken a considerable loss in market share since the popularity of android in the smartphone arena. The latest version, Android 4.0 has been released for the Sony Xperia range of phones, but only for those that are not tied in to a contract.
Lucky Guinea Pigs
The people who have unlocked handsets are able to update their phone by visiting Sony’s support pages. Apparently, the latest Android, known as the Ice Cream Sandwich will not be released on models tied to contracts until the carrier networks approve the software. Each contract handset will need to wait its turn for their carrier to enable the download. Carriers are unable to mass release updates in case they receive bad publicity if problems arise with compatibility.
This means that all the lucky people who have unlocked mobiles will be able to use the latest version of Android immediately and gloat to those who are tied in to contracts with 5,000 minutes each month that they never use. Only Xperia Play will not update to the latest version as Sony has found that it is not compatible with the handset. Although most functions operated without a problem, there were inconsistent results with gameplay. Google have said that Ice Cream Sandwich has already claimed 10% of the market for mobile devices. This means it has hammered its predecessor Honeycomb and is now only behind Android 2.3 Gingerbread in the running for the most popular Android operating system. This is of course, before the main carrier networks approve the software for their contract phone updates.
The reason mobile network carriers do not update their already contracted phones is to encourage sales of new phones. Android is Open Source, so it is the manufacturer’s responsibility for making the software compatible. Google sends the new releases to the manufacturers who use their own developers to adapt the software for use with their handset. When the mobile phone industry wants to increase sales, they will be less inclined to improve existing handsets or spend more money by adapting contracted phones.
LG has an Ice Cream
The new LG Optimus L7 P700 is also equipped with the latest version of Android and while this is no iPhone or Samsung beater, the latest Optimus is great for those who want a stylish phone, that is up to date, but do not want to pay crazy money for it. This is one way a savvy phone user can impress without spending big bucks. Many expensive phones on the market are nowhere near as powerful or have anywhere near the functionality. LG have also improved their user interface system, which brings it more on a par with HTCs ‘Sense’ that many smart phone users like. This is definitely a model of choice for those that want to be sim-free with the latest Android. The one thing I liked is that it has a 4.3” screen, which is great for my chubby fingers. Although the phone is powerful enough for most users, it is still a long way behind the quad-core beasts available now. This offering from LG is a great way to get in to the Android movement if you are feeling a little left behind.
If you do not want to be tied in to a contract, you should look at sim free mobile phones. With the handsets available today, there is no reason why you should be locked into a monthly payment.