The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is underway in Barcelona and Android is the highlight of the show so far. All of the major players are on hand showing off the latest and greatest in their Android lineups, from phones with projectors to quad-core wonders that will blow the doors off competing handsets. The problem with that is it is clear the biggest competitor to Android phones are all the other other Android phones getting announced.
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Ice Cream Sandwich is the one thing in common for all the Android phones appearing at the MWC, with hardware differences minor at best. There are new cameras, processors, and screens of all sizes in attendance at the MWC, but the latest version of the Android software is running on all the new gear. This is significant because as history has shown us the only sure way to get ICS is to buy a new phone.
See also CNET: Mobile World Congress 2012
There are still only a few handsets on the market that are running ICS, even though most OEMs have promised to put the latest version of Android on existing phones. Those in a hurry to get ICS, and it is a major improvement over earlier versions of Android, may want to consider just buying a new phone that ships with it.
HTC, Samsung, LG, and other Android phone makers are jostling for your attention with all the new phones getting shown at the MWC. That's because the companies know they are firmly competing with each other for your attention, and more importantly your dollars. Getting to market first may mean the difference of getting you to buy their hot new phone or not. You want ICS on your phone and this is the only sure way to get it quickly.
ZDNet's Larry Dignan points out that it's hard that Android partners have to compete with each other, as that is a race to the bottom. It's not enough they have to compete with the iPhone and Windows Phone, these companies have to go head-to-head with each other and it's not going to be pretty.