Quantity Over Quality? It’s The Carriers And The Android OEMs At Fault.

Android_Army_of_Devices

Ever wondered why there were gazillions of Android devices out there? That why’s it so confusing to decide what to buy and what to ignore? You’re not alone. And it’s not your fault.

It’s the Android OEMs that are responsible, you say? Not all of them are. It’s mostly the carriers. They want to have a zillion of devices, and act like hardware vendors trying to differentiate. They’re not hardware vendors, certainly. They’re service providers, but in various European countries and in the US, among others, they force the hardware vendors to slightly change the product’s specifications, adding or removing a feature or two, or merely changing the name of a certain aspect of the device. Heck, two devices may be the same technologically, but these carriers will have two different, absolutely ridiculous names.

The vicious circle of stupidity and crass capitalism doesn’t end there – the OEMs go a step further, cranking out new devices every 2 weeks, with a spec or two better than its predecessor. What do you do when something like this happens? I’m clueless, often feeling guilty for suggesting a device to someone, only to see a better version being launched soon.

Look at the Motorola Droid Razr, for example. It was released in November, 2011. Motorola thought it’d be good to troll us all, so it released the Razr Maxx in January, this year. What’s changed? Nothing much – Razr Maxx was a dual band CDMA version, giving up on quad band GSM support, which the Droid RAZR had (both, quad band GSM, dual band CDMA). Internal memory halved in the Razr Maxx, but the battery capacity was increased from 1780 mAh in the Razr to 3300 mAh in the Razr Maxx.

If you’re a Razr owner, you’ll know exactly what I mean. You’ll also be suffering from Buyer’s remorse. All this, while you’ll be cursing Motorola and hoping the company fails. Yeah.

Oh wait, Motorola wasn’t done with it, just yet. And so, they came out with Razr Developer Version. This version had its bootloader unlocked already, and that’s all about it. 3 devices, same stuff (except for the double battery capacity of the Razr Maxx) – 3 similar, yet different names. Bullshit never was so geeky.

I’m not even going to bug you with the zillions of Galaxy devices out there. Samsung has about 1 dozen variants of the Galaxy S2. That’s 12. 12 variants of the same device. I’m well aware of the fact that those come with different bands and all, but, how much does it take to launch a global version that works across networks (Nokia’s done it)? Also, I’m sick of all this ‘different network requirements’ bullshit already. Imagine how the internet would work if there were a zillion variants which would require another Godly effort to integrate all that in one device? There needs to be one, universal technology, as far as networks go.

You can find a list of all the Galaxy S2 variants at Wikipedia.

While that was a classic carrier-related case, the Galaxy Tabs’ case is totally unrelated to carriers. It’s all Samsung, when it comes to these. I’ve honestly lost the count of these Tabs, so I’m not going to bother you either.

So what do I really want to say?

That the carriers and OEMs have together decided to flood markets with as many devices as they can, so the end consumer like us gets confused and ends up buying at least one of such devices. I can’t recall just many times I’ve felt bad that I’d recommended a certain device to someone, only to find out that the company has released a new version sooner than you could even imagine.

Meanwhile, I’ve never felt bad about recommending an iPhone or a Nokia N8 to anyone. Neither have they felt bad about accepting my suggestion.