Android Ecosystem — This Week in Android


Welcome to our newest Monday feature — Android Ecosystem! It’s difficult to believe, but another week has passed where I haven’t touched my iPhone. The Nexus One has taken over as a primary device, even with its shortcomings. Although my sporadic 3G issue appears to be fixed for now, many other N1 owners are still waiting for a firmware fix. We know that Google is looking into the issue with T-Mobile and HTC, but we don’t know when such a fix will appear.

The more I think about the problem, the more I think it’s directly related to the tri-band support for HSPA — this same handset can work on 3G networks in the U.S. as well as overseas. I don’t think that any prior Android devices were designed to do this. As far as I know — but I know you’ll tell me if I’m wrong — every prior Android handset was offered in either a U.S. version for 3G and / or a non-U.S. version for 3G. None have been a single handset to handle both market frequencies, so I suspect the software to handle this situation is a bit of a n00b.

While we wait for the firmware to fix our frequencies, we don’t have to wait for native multi-touch support. Yes, the Dolphin Browser does the trick without rooting the device, but the latest update changed the user interface and I found it to be a step backwards. So plan B is to root and add some bits to the device in Android 2.1. Ah, but there’s always an option three — I highly recommend following the efforts of Paul O’Brien at MoDaCo. Paul crafted a custom ROM builder so you can pick which Android bits you want,  and which you don’t, in your own custom ROM. Multi-touch is baked in as is wireless tethering as an option, which turns your Android handset into a wireless 3G modem. Very clever!

No Android update would be worth its salt without a mention of the anticipated Apple tablet news coming later this week. What, that doesn’t make sense? I think it does — here’s the connection.

If — and I realize it’s a bit if — a new Apple product is announced that poses any threat at all to Amazon’s space in the e-book market, I think we’ll see a Kindle for Android application far sooner than later. Amazon will want its content available on every possible platform and it’s only fitting that Android follow suit. We already know that Kindle for Mac and Kindle for BlackBerry are coming soon — could Kindle for Android be coming sooner based on Apple’s play?

Related Research: “Google’s Mobile Strategy: Understanding the Nexus One

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