What version of Android is on your phone?
It can make a huge difference to what your phone is capable of. Move from Android 2.1 (Eclair) to 2.2 (Froyo) and certain phones can act as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot or allow your phone to be remote-wiped if it’s lost or stolen.
The upgrades also speed up loading times of your apps, and faster webpages.
As long as your phone can handle it, the phone maker can sort it, and the phone network agrees on it – a lot of maybes – your phone can be upgraded.
But some phones are blessed with more upgrades than others.
Computer World has been looking at all Android phones released in the US, showing us who’s getting upgrades, and who’s getting sweet nothing. (This is based on upgrades done last year, from Eclair to Froyo.)
HTC upgraded 50% of their phones to the latest version of Android, whilst Motorola upgraded 15.6%. Meanwhile, Samsung only upgraded the one phone, and it took them a whopping 159 days to upgrade. (The Samsung Galaxy S is still running Android 2.1 in America, the poor things.)
LG and Sony upgraded a massive zero of their phones last year. Sony said that it was too difficult to join Sony’s own clamped-on phone interface and the Android update on their X10 series.
The good news is, generally, if you paid the money for a top of the line Android phone, it’s far more likely to be getting an upgrade. (And, sadly, a good reason not to buy a mid-range Android phone.)
Buying a Google-branded phone is still your best bet for a quick upgrade; its Nexus S is on the latest version, Gingerbread (that’s Android 2.3), while the Nexus One has always got its upgrade ahead of the pack.