We at nEx.Software feel strongly about Android, and we want to see it evolve. For SOME of the world, Android HAS evolved. The release of Android 1.6 in October of 2009 brought Android to a new level in many ways, and we feel that this is a step in the right direction. The fact that there are still phones being released based on Android 1.5 (Motorola CLIQ [T-Mobile], Samsung Behold II [T-Mobile], Samsung Moment [Sprint], HTC Hero [Sprint], HTC Droid Eris [Verizon], and even a Motorola device rumored to be coming out in 2010 [Unknown]) is counterproductive to this evolution. While we do understand that it takes time to update something as big as an operating system, and this is especially true when dealing with custom user interfaces and functionalities, there needs to be a sense of urgency coming from manufacturers and carriers.
It is our opinion that, as long as applications are being made to support Android 1.5, there is no true drive for the manufacturers to upgrade their users’ devices. But what would happen if users of those devices were unable to access many of the applications in the Market (undoubtedly, this is the case already)? Surely, that would create the sense of urgency that seems to be missing at this time. We cannot have users missing out on the evolution of Android simply because the manufacturers and/or carriers don’t see a need or don’t think that those features are necessary for a certain device. This is an unacceptable approach to Android, in our opinion.
Accordingly, we have decided to no longer support Android 1.5 in the Android Market. We propose that other developers, who are able to do so, do the same in an effort to exact change. We are aware that there are many developers who cannot or will not follow in this decision, and we respect their decision whatever they choose. This is the path we have chosen to take.
We will be updating all of our applications currently available in the Android Market to require Android 1.6. We will however, try to move Android 1.5 versions into the alternative markets (such as AndAppStore and SlideME), and, where it makes sense to do so, we will distribute the Android 1.5 versions from our website.
You may be asking “Why not Android 2.0?” and to that we have to bring up the fact that ONLY ONE device is currently running Android 2.0, and as of the time of this announcement Google has given no indication that Android 2.0 will be made available in the Android Open Source Project anytime soon. While it is true that manufacturers may have or get access to Android 2.0, the fact remains that we have seen no commitment from these manufacturers that they will in fact update existing devices (HTC has announced via Twitter that the Hero will receive an update 2.0, but failed to mention anything about Dream and/or Sapphire devices).