We have been playing with the Android prototypes scattered through the Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona. ARM had theirs running on one of their lower-end processors. No fancy graphics demos, no iPhone-style multimedia fizzbang, just a humble ARM9 processor in a plain white prototype “to demonstrate the scalability of Android” and serve as a “development platform.” Our verdict: it works, it’s fluid, but it’s boring. Qualcomm’s Android prototype, however, is a real beast.
An ugly giganfatastic beast made of multiple boards right out of a Terry Gilliam movie set. It was faster and had wireless connectivity, something that the ARM model didn’t had enabled. And obviously, it was untouchable and development oriented.
As you can see, while the Android platform is solid enough for development and testing, it seems we are far away from seeing actual products getting into the market. ARM told us that everything is still pretty much up in the air at this point, and the actual physical mobile specification is still coming from the Open Handset Alliance.
We will update this post with more Android prototypes hands-on and impressions.