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Why Android 2.3, Gingerbread, Will Be Around For A Long Time, And Why It Is Not A Bad Thing

There has been a lot of hubbub on Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, being installed on only 10% of all Android devices with the majority of the devices running on Android 2.3, known as Gingerbread. Fragmentation! Google should take control of its ecosystem! If you look at the industry this will not change any time soon. 

Gingerbread runs on fairly modest hardware, allowing Android phones in 2011 to go below the Php6,000 barrier (about US$140). The best known example of this is the popular Samsung Galaxy Y. In 2012 the Samsung Galaxy Y has been replaced by a similar low cost phone, the Samsung Galaxy Pocket. LG, Huawei and ZTE are also producing sub-US$140 phones. These companies will probably be producing Gingebread only phones till the end of this year or even beyond. There is even news, that some Chinese phone makers will be producing US$50 phones.

Right now the cheapest Android 4.0 phones in the market are still priced at Php10,990 (US$258). It will be some time before the hardware cost go down so that the US$140 phones will be running Android 4.1, Jelly Bean. And much longer till US$50 phones will be running Jelly Bean.

So, you should look at Gingerbread as a long term fork in the Android operating system. Is this a bad thing? If you have the money, get an Android 4.0 phone. On this blog, for a few months now, we recommend only getting phones that run, or have committed upgraded to Android 4.0. We could do that because there are still stocks of Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini's in the market which would cost you just a little more than a Samsung Galaxy Pocket or a LG Optimus L3.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini's are all but gone from the market. There are no new low cost smartphones running Android 4.0, Windows Phone, iOS or BlackBerry OS, at the US$140 price range.  We are left with a decision of recommending only more expensive devices or recommending a phone on a outdated operating system.

There is no shame in not wanting to spend too much on a phone. An Gingerbread powered Android phone is still better than the alternative: a low cost Symbian phone. Also, Gingerbread Android phones do work. 

Gingerbread will be here for a long time. It will make up the majority of the Android phones for a long time to come. Some have been asking Google to clamp down on their manufacturers. Really, this is like telling people, you are not rich enough to afford a smartphone. Having Gingerbread around for some time to come, is not such a bad thing. 


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