The Android dilemma: Too much choice, yet not enough

Summary:Android is everywhere and that's a good thing, except the one you want is often not where you can get it.

My Galaxy Nexus S 4G recently got the long-promised Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) update. It is so much better with the latest version of Android that I would never go back to an older version. Of course now my Nexus S 4G is old hardware, so it's not the dream phone it could be. Not many phones have ICS yet, and even though there are more Android phones out there than anything else, those wanting the best are out of luck.

Related: Android on 600 phones and tablets in less than 4 years

That is the ultimate problem with Android. There are too many phones to choose from, but few of them have everything that tech-savvy buyers want. If you find an Android phone that is just what you want, with the latest version of Android, odds are it's not available on your U. S. carrier of choice.

An article on Techfanatix sums up the situation nicely. The Gadget Mom, a friend of mine for a good while, voices her frustration with the "too much choice, yet not enough" situation. We both like Android, but getting it in the form and package we want is far too often out of reach. She sums it up succinctly:

"I am Joe Consumer, I walk into Verizon, and I’m faced with twenty two smartphones to look at. Twenty two. I ask the sales rep what’s the difference between them. They say… um… well, this one has a keyboard. This one has TouchWiz. This one has Sense. This one has Motoblur. This one has a big battery. This one is free. This one is cheap. This one has a Pentile display. This one has an AMOLED display, and this one has a super duper AMOLED display. At this point Joe is huddled in the corner crying like a baby and shaking. Make it stop."

All of these phones are nice in their particular way, but as she points out it can be overwhelming. It doesn't help that the OEMs of Android phones are beholden to the carriers and require variants of particular handsets just for their customers.

"HTC’s One phone is an X on AT&T, an S on TMobile, an Evo on Sprint, and Incredible on Verizon. That, my friends, is what it looks like when a manufacturer has no backbone. That is also what it looks like when there are too many choices."

Too much choice, yet for each individual there is usually not enough choice in play. You want that one special Android phone that fits all of your wants and needs perfectly, but you can't have it unless you switch carriers if at all. It's easy to see why technology lovers can be frustrated.

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Topics: Smartphones, Android, Google, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, Security

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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