Android, one of the newest – and hottest – mobile operating systems out there today is also one of the most-talked about topics here on RedBoard. One report predicts more than 50 Android-powered devices will launch this year — up from 10 in 2009.
We’re big fans of Android at Rogers. We were the first in Canada to carry an Android-powered device and have this country’s largest selection of Android devices such as the HTC Dream, HTC Magic, LG Eve, Samsung Galaxy Spica and Google’s Nexus One with even more Android devices on the way, including the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10.
We’re working hard to have real conversations about Android whenever possible – both online and in person – and thought it would be useful to answer some questions submitted by you, here on RedBoard.
1. Why should I care about Android?
Android is the operating system (OS) created by Google with which you can run programs on your smartphone. It is “open source” software, meaning that while Google has created it, other software developers – no matter their size – can modify the system or create add-on software programs that run on the OS called “apps.” The open-source aspect of the OS is driving many gadget-hungry consumers to Android-powered devices, causing handset makers such as Sony, HTC and LG to take notice and use the OS to power their products.
2. Why does it matter which version of Android I have?
The newer the version, the newer the features and functionality you can have. Just like how some software programs are written for Windows XP or Windows 7, newer Android-based apps – such as voice search or live wallpapers — are written for the newest Android OS, version 2.1. As the first to bring Android to Canada, we were also the first to learn just how much OS upgrades mean to our customers. This was a new challenge that we hadn’t dealt with before. As such, Rogers is working with handset manufactures to ensure an OS upgrade path on all all future devices.
3. Why does “rooting” an Android device void its warranty?
Rooting is when you wipe your handset clean of its existing operating system and install a new version. The problem with rooting is that handset manufacturers install and customize the OS to work specifically with their device so clearing it may make some features and functionality not work correctly. Furthermore, all handsets sold by Rogers are verified to work on our network before giving them to customers. In turn, it’s impossible for us to troubleshoot or provide technical assistance on a device that is no longer in line with that verification. That, in a nutshell, is why rooting voids the warranty of Rogers-purchased devices.
4. What sorts of things can I do with an Android phone — and what’s different from other smartphones?
Android phones aren’t for everybody. Some customers swear by their iPhone, BlackBerry or other smartphone. But here are some of the differences that will help you determine if Android is right for you:
- The ease of personalization of Android phones – from colours to fonts to widgets.
- The seamless integration with Google’s wide array of products such as Gmail, contacts, calendar, Picasa and maps. If you use your Gmail account on your computer to store important information, you’ll have the exact same access on the go.
- Then, there are the apps. The open source community has embraced Android and as such, there are thousands of applications for download through the Android Market.
5. Are there places online that I can get tips for using Android to its fullest?
Not surprisingly, Google has a very thorough website dedicated to Android at http://www.android.com. There are also forums and blogs dedicated to Android, which you can find via an online search.
6. Does Rogers have any custom applications for my Android phone?
We recently launched the My Account app, which provides secure, 24/7 access to your Wireless accounts to view your balance, make payments as well as check airtime, messaging and data usage. It also lets you pay your bill right from your phone. Rogers SportsNet also has an app for getting the latest scores and sports news. While we can’t discuss plans right now for competitive reasons, we will be rolling out even more custom apps for Rogers customers in the near future.
7. How does Rogers define its commitment to the android community?
We understand that for Android users, the smartphone is more than just a device, it’s an extension of who they are. We’re listening to members of the Android community, and engaging with them (online and in person) to truly understand their wants and needs. That’s not limited to just users of the devices. We’re also working with software developers to ensure Rogers Android users have the best possible customer experience.
What kind of phone do you have? Would you consider an Android phone as your next device?
Richard Bloom is a regular contributor to RedBoard
Portions of this page are reproduced from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.
Update (September 8, 3:30 p.m.): If you have an HTC Magic+ or Samsung Spica, an upgrade to OS 2.1 is now available. HTC Magic+ update is available over the air while the Samsung Spica update is available here: http://bit.ly/aqaSjf.