Google Buzz has received a ton of hype as a potential Twitter/Facebook/Foursquare/Yelp-killer, but it’s only fully available on about 80 percent of Android devices on the market. And that’s got some of those older Android users furious.
As Android and Me pointed out this morning, only devices running Android 2.0 and higher can take full advantage of Buzz, Google’s latest attempt to be all things to all people on the social web. Which means only users with a Motorola Droid or Google Nexus One can enjoy Buzz — the mobile app doesn’t work on Android 1.6, which runs on T-Mobile USA’s G1 and myTouch. And the latest version of Google Maps requires at least Android 1.6, leaving gadgets like the Sprint Hero and Verizon Droid Eris behind.
Astoundingly, the app is fully supported by any iPhone, as Google itself touts here. Irate users have taken to Google Mobile’s online help forum, where the company says full support for Buzz is “coming soon to earlier versions” of Android.
But the backlash underscores a growing problem for Google’s mobile OS: Its open source nature is already giving birth to multiple versions of the platform, requiring developers to tweak applications for each version in order to reach the entire Android community. It’s a danger James over at jkOnTheRun pointed out way back in May, and one that Google acknowledged in December with a device dashboard for Android developers. And it’s a problem that’s only going to grow as Android’s footprint expands over the next few years.
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