Jan 18, 2012

What am I missing by still using a device with Android 2.2 instead of 4.0?

I haven't yet got my hands on Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0). My smartphone is a little less than a year old, and still running Froyo (2.2). I really don't have many complaints, even though my hardware is a little underpowered, it still works pretty smoothly and most, but by no means all, apps work fine. There is zero chance my phone will get ICS, so it would mean a new phone at some expense plus two more years of shackles. The expense was worth it to go from 2.1 to 2.2 for the speed increase alone. Is there anything (or things plural) that really makes ICS a must have?


Hey Wstark. Remember, you really aren't in any shackles. It drives me crazy when people think that. The carriers are giving you a subsidy, almost always bigger than the cancellation fee. Most of the new smart phones these days are about $550 new without contract, or about the price the carrier is paying to get them. They sell them to you with up to a $350 discount or more, and most cancellation fees are still only about $200.  Just remember that you can, on most carriers, walk in and pay the price of the phone, and not extend your contract. So if you pay the cancellation fee, you are only giving the carrier back what you should have paid in the first place for not agreeing to stay. Almost all the carriers give you the option of paying full price.  So never feel like you can't leave early.  Also, you can usually sell your used phone for more than you paid for it. If a carrier has a $550 phone for $199 or $250 and you sell it a year later, you can usually get almost $300 for it a year later as people are afraid of contacts. I change my phone out over once a year, and sell my old one and end up paying nothing more or mabye $50 more for my new phone. Just a thought.


There aren't too many devices out there running ICS just yet.  In addition to the list of changes in the article that jimlynch linked to, which I won't repeat, a significant benefit may be that if you are using a smartphone running Froyo, you will likely see a significant improvement just from the hardware upgrade to a new device.  4G capability for one.  There are still good phones around running Froyo, in fact my daughter has an LG Optimus that does, and it is certainly usable and can meet most users needs.  Where it really starts to show its age is with internal memory and processor speed.  You are going to have a better experience not only from the updated OS, but from current gen hardware - better camera, faster processor, more memory, faster connectivity.  Another thing is that a lot of the apps out there will run on Gingerbread (2.3) that won't run on Froyo, and ICS is backward compatible with apps designed for Gingerbread.  Plus it's always fun to have the most current toy, er, I mean tool.   


Man, all this thinking of Frozen Yogurt, Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich makes me want to take an early lunch!   

I'm mostly a fan of leaving well enough alone if your current setup is working for you. However, updating can also bring some benefits.

Here's a pretty comprehensive review from Ars that will walk you through the features in 4.0. I think that's a really good way for you to figure out if you really want or need it. You may very well be fine with 2.2, but at least you'll have a baseline for comparison.

Unwrapping a new Ice Cream Sandwich: Android 4.0 reviewed

"The Android 4 smartphone experience is a compelling improvement over Gingerbread. The general difference in quality is striking when you compare the software on the Galaxy Nexus with the software on the year-old Nexus S, and Google has done a lot to make Android feel more coherent and function more predictably.

Android enthusiasts will find a lot to like in the new version of the platform, but will still probably find plenty of reasons to want to replace the stock applications with third-party alternatives. The major improvements to core components of the user experience, particularly the home screen, do help to make Android better out of the box.

Quality and availability of third-party applications is one of the areas where Android still lags behind iOS. Android 4 probably won't change that, but the more coherent look and feel might help encourage application developers to build better-looking software."
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