It sometimes feels as if Android 2.2, AKA FroYo, has been kicking around for months. Well, that’s because it has. Everyone’s been talking about it since Google I/O back in May. But three months on, the roll-out is still taking its time - providing tech hacks with plenty of juicy ‘will-they, won’t-they?’ stories about various handsets along the way.
In the past 12 weeks we’ve seen the Nexus One feel the FroYo love first and then get promptly cancelled by the Big G. We’ve had Motorola disclosing it was unsure whether the Milestone would get some Android 2.2 action, only for O2 Germany to say it would.
And to cap it all, we’ve had Vodafone fire out an update to the HTC Desire, only for disgruntled users to find it was in fact just a boost for the network’s idiosyncratic 360 service. Samsung has now pledged that the Galaxy S will be getting FroYo next month.
But it seems no one is reading from the same page. This is due largely to Android’s diverse nature, finding itself in dozens of varied phones made by a number of different manufacturers. But it’s also down to Google trailing the update and creating hype, which as yet it hasn’t been able to deliver on.
Make no mistake, FroYo is brilliant. It makes what is fast-becoming the tech aficionado’s mobile OS of choice even better. But the fact it’s taking so long to get out of the door is getting more than a tad infuriating.
Users of the HTC Desire have been gagging for the update for ages, but promises of its arrival in the ‘coming weeks’ have not satisfied many punters. The number of factors and variables involved in getting the update out is so large that it leaves consumers confused.
Getting an Android update out is not the same as rolling out a major tweak to iOS. Apple’s singularity and tight control over its ecosystem means it dictates the pace. Android’s very premise means Google will never be able to do this and neither would they want to.
It prefers to cede control and allow its partners to call the shots to a large extent. But it will have to learn from this experience. Android 3.0 will probably be announced in October, just as the last of the top-end Android blowers are getting FroYo.
It would be preferable to wait and get every major phone tested and ready to roll with that upgrade before announcing it and making it available. This is fast becoming an issue for mobile users. Android is a stunner, but varied upgrade dates serve only to confuse consumers and create antagonism towards what is one of the most exciting pieces of software of our time.