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Monday, December 31, 2012

Android - What is it? Beginner's guide of sorts.

Posting an old compilation by me that has done the rounds of quite a few inboxes.

Android - is a Mobile Operating System by Google which can be installed on any phone (just like Windows can be installed on any PC).

So - while the OS remains the same across ALL phones - what matters is

1. the Hardware - the company manufacturing the phone (HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony, Motorola, ZTE & what not)
in which primarily 
Bluetooth (2.1 or 3.0), WiFi, GPS etc are more or less standard along with a 3.5mm jack & a micro USB port.
so in addition to that what one must check for is

a. Processor - Higher the better. Preferably above 1 Ghz. A 1 Ghz DUAL core processor is MUCH better than a 1.4 Ghz single core processor. Anything below 800 Mhz is useless (to have a 'future' proof phone that lasts more than a year without becoming a pain)

b. RAM - the inbuilt memory of the phone which directly translates into better multitasking

c. presence of a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) - Only phones above 18k usually have this

d. Chipset - by Qualcomm, Nvidia, Snapdragon are good.

e. Screen Size - All kinds of capacitive touchscreens available with Android from 2.3" to 4.5" (when we talk of phones - tablets begin from 7 to 10.1) Some odd phones/tablets like Dell Streak & Samsung Galaxy Note have 5.0" screen & exorbitant price tags.

f. TYPE of screen: Retina > Super AMOLED > AMOLED > IPS LCD > S-LCD > LCD.

2. SOFTWARE: Yes, they all have Android - but which VERSION.
2.2 = Froyo (totally outdated - avoid)
2.3 = Gingerbread. 2.3.4 & 2.3.5 is the LATEST in Gingerbread. & MUST have if you are buying a NEW phone.
3.0 is Honeycomb - ONLY for tablets
4.0 is IceCream Sandwich (ICS) which is the NEW version launched last month & the UNIFIED version for Tablets & Phones.
Thus - whatever phone you buy. Google provides FREE updates. But the Hardware Manufacturer should have be supported by Google to be able to give you the upgrades.

For e.g. Entire Samsung Galaxy series, Entire LG Optimus series & Entire Sony Xperia series (only phones launched in 2011) are getting the ICS upgrade by April 2012.

So you must check about the Upgrade ability of your phone, since you are buying in 2012 & will easily use it for atleast 18 months. & yes - Upgrades matter a LOT.

Also - some phones - even though they do not get the upgrade officially, can be 'rooted' (akin to jailbroken iphones) and can get the unofficial updates, but this voids your warranty - so you can do this after 1 year warranty is over.

3. Custom Software UI's.
Vanilla stock Android is not present on most phones.
It is customized by individual hardware manufacturers to make it look better - which results in ofcourse performance & RAM loss.
HTC - adds 'Sense'
Samsung adds 'TouchWiz'
Motorola adds 'MotoBlur'
Sony adds its 'Xperia Bravia skin'.

Do not get carried away by fancy terms. Each have their advantages & disadvantages.
NONE of them are perfect.
you can uninstall it & put on a free pack such as Go Launcher.

APPS - is the crazy 1 million + free downloads which includes all kinds of useful, crucial to insane stuff.
Bigger discussion on that later.
I shall email a list of MUST HAVE apps later.
But MAJORITY of Apps are available FREE on the official Android Market (unlike Apple's iTunes store)

4. GPRS - It is almost essential that to make the best of your Android phone - you should have a GPRS pack on your phone.
By rule GPRS (regular not 3G) are cheaper on prepaid phones than postpaid.
Vodafone, Tata DoCoMo, Reliance, Airtel, Aircel, Idea all have 98 or 99 Rs per month 1Gb or 1.5Gb plans on prepaid.
(& believe me we dont even use 250 Mb from that!)

Postpaid plans differ a lot. Check your own service providers.

Now finally:

Please go to GSM Arena : for the details of any phones that you want or like.

We can discuss in detail about it later.
I am just mentioning FEW Good phones.
Since each 1 will have individual tastes, requirements & budgets.
Some may want a better camera, some may want a better screen.

PLEASE DO NOT BUY A PHONE without ICS now. IceCreamSandwich (v 4.0.3) is the latest Android OS and is a BIG leap over Gingerbread. (v 2.3.5)

  • HTC Desire C (only disadvantage no flash LED) 14.5k
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V or Mini Pro (both have ICS - slightly old phones - available at 12.5k & 11.3k respectively - battery poor but otherwise decent phones)
  • HTC One V (almost perfect phone at 17k)
All the phones you have mentioned run GB and are have some major major flaws.
For e.g. Sony U has only 4 Gb memory & no MMC slot - suicidal. Since Android is all about the apps & you will need atleast 1 Gb dedicated to apps only.

Sorry if I am forgetting any coz the market is quite volatile & changes a lot.
Further details kindly check on

Whatsapp or sms for any other queries.

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Original Work by Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani

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