Google has had voice search for some time now included with Android, but those of you running version 2.2 are in for a special treat now thanks to the Voice Actions app in the Marketplace. As the video demonstrates, you can now do just about anything you want on your Android phone be simply speaking the commands: Whether it be sending a text, calling someone or even making notes to yourself, it’s all there.
The problem is … it’s for 2.2.
As I asked recently, you have to wonder when it’s too soon to stop supporting a phone. In my case I have an HTC Hero on the Sprint network that was released in June of 2009, and by May of this year we were being told that no more updates would be coming for the Hero, leaving us stuck at Android 2.1. (Which was a painful updating experience.) That meant we received one official update from 1.6 to 2.1 and that was it.
Yes, we could root our phones to update further, but that isn’t the point here. The point is that Android is developing so fast, and leaving a wasteland of version fragmentation in its wake that I don’t think the mobile phone community has ever seen before. No matter how new your Android device may be right now, there is always a better one just a month or two down the road. Say what you will about Apple and its “walled garden” of an app store, at least you know things will work, and you have a pretty good idea of how often it will update.
If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. Google is making it really difficult to continue to love Android at the rate new features get added and those of us who already jumped in are getting left behind. Voice Actions sounds like a great tool, and I would love to have it, but I’m not particularly in the mood to root a phone I only bought last Oct. just to get that functionality.
An open operating system is a great thing when you don’t forget those of us who who have already purchased phones. Your average cell phone buyer is not someone who is used to dealing with Linux updates, people simply expect their phones to work. Period. When Voice Actions ends up in some commercial, which it will, and Bob Businessman goes to his tech department and says he wants it, but finds out he can’t have it because he’s stuck on 2.1 or lower, he isn’t going to be happy. When the same thing happens to the soccer mom down the street who has no one she can ask, she’s going to frustrated. This is a quick way for Google to build animosity amongst its users as opposed to loyalty.
What say you? Is Google messing up with Android?