Although phones featuring Google's open-source Android operating system have been out for more than a year, it's only been in recent months that the platform has really caught
on. In fact, this fall alone has seen the debut of several new high-profile Android devices from such esteemed manufacturers
as HTC, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Samsung. However, all these big smartphone releases are bound to leave casual observers
confused – after all, if so many devices featuring Android are being released at once, how can we differentiate between them?
In this article, we'll give you the basic lowdown of each smartphone and break them down by price, carrier, processing speed
and other features.
The lowdown: This device is intended to be the crown jewel of the fall Android market and so far it's lived up to the hype. As the first
Android-based device available on the Verizon network, the Droid uses the Arm Cortex A8 processor, which is the same processor used in the iPhone 3GS. However, while the iPhone's processor
runs at 600MHz, the Droid's runs slightly slower at 550MHz. The device also features a full QWERTY keyboard, a 5 megapixel
camera, a 3.7-inch display screen and a wide video graphics array of 480 x 854 pixels, which blows the current Android smartphone
screen resolutions out of the water.
HTC myTouch 3G
Processor: Qualcomm MSM7201A, 528 MHz
The lowdown: HTC had hoped to garner buzz by jumping on the Android bandwagon early by releasing its G1 device last fall and its myTouch 3G device late this summer. And while HTC's early entries did get it some publicity, they have now been overshadowed by other
Android-based phones. The myTouch 3G, available on T-Mobile, gives you standard features for most Android phones: a 3.2-inch
display screen, 192MB of RAM, a Flash Disk Drive of 512MB and an HVGA display of 480x320 pixels.
Processor: Samsung S3C6410 ARM 11 processor, 800MHz
The lowdown: Samsung has been placing a lot more emphasis on developing Android-based smartphones this year, after initially falling behind
rival device manufacturer HTC. The Moment's key feature is its homemade processor, which at 800MHz is the fastest processor of any Android phone on the market today.
The Moment also features a standard 3.2-inch display with a 320x480-pixel resolution and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Samsung
first began showing off its Android phone models during the CommunicAsia show in Singapore this summer when it debuted its Samsung Galaxy model.
Processor: Qualcomm MSM7200A processor, 528 MHz
The lowdown: As the first Android-based phone available on Sprint's 3G EV-DO Rev. A network, the Hero was the third part of HTC's early strike of Android phones. Although the Hero isn't significantly different from the myTouch
3G for T-Mobile, it does feature more RAM (288MB) than the myTouch and is also operable on both GSM and CDMA networks. The
Hero also features a trackball with an enter button for users who prefer another option to pure touchscreen phones.
The lowdown: The key feature of the Cliq is the MOTOBLUR overlay that Motorola designed for the Android operating system. Essentially, MOTOBLUR is a social networking
aggregator that lets users integrate friends' status updates and uploaded pictures from Twitter, Facebook and MySpace onto
their homescreens. Motorola is banking that it can derive more value from its devices if it can add more value through its
own software rather than simply relying on other developers. In addition to its MOTOBLUR features, the device has a slideout
keyboard, a 3.1-inch display screen with a 320x480-pixel resolution and a 5.0MP camera.
Carrier: Unknown, but as a GSM device it will be either AT&T or T-Mobile in the U.S.
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250, 1GHz
The lowdown: On paper, this device has the best specs of any Android device released to date. From its 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
to its four-inch display screen with 480x854-pixel resolution to its 8.1 megapixel camera, this device is Sony Ericsson's
great hope for 2010. The phone, which isn't due to be released until the first quarter of 2010, doesn't yet have a carrier
in the United States, but it will likely be available on either AT&T or T-Mobile since it is a GSM-based device.