Non-Google Android Languishes in Obscurity

So I have several G1’s, a myTouch 3G, two Motorola Droid’s, and just one Archos 5 Internet Tablet.  While, certainly no expert, I have been using Android the week the G1 was released and was following it before it was a Google acquisition and the only device that I have chosen to not keep is the Archos 5 Internet Tablet.

Let’s begin.  The A5 IT debuted with Android 1.5 and has just gotten a critical update to 1.6 that added global search, widgets, and other system updates but mobile phones are marching their way towards Android 2.1.  Even though, I enjoyed the novelty of the A5’s ARM Cortex 800 MHz processor and 800×480 4.8 inch screen I could not get over not having Google applications like Gmail, Contacts, Voice, Maps, Market and the almighty sync feature for my Google ID.  And don’t even get me started on Archos’ AppsLib.

So even when I tried to use the native e-mail application I had to either manually enter my contacts or load them via USB from my PC, not a good solution when you have as many as 1,600 contacts or more.  And even though the A5 has GPS it doesn’t have Google Maps so you are forced to use the maps application that has flaky GPS connectivity and dubious directions at best.

Archos is rumored to deliver the new A7 Internet Tablet soon and Camangi released their WebStation to minimal fanfare and even worse reviews.  Can non-Google survive in the wake of Nexus One’s, Droid’s, and Hero’s?  I don’t think so.  Without Google apps and sync ability, the plain Android OS is just like any other OS.  Is it open, is it still Android, can dev’s write for it?  Yes, yes, and yes.  Is it useful for everyday consumers without Google apps/sync?  Not really.

When we pick up and use Android phones, rooted or not, we are accustomed to the fact that we can just enter our Google usernames and passwords and get all of our critical data back.  I flirted with a TouchPro 2 recently and without Google sync it was not useful.  Ditto for non-Google Android.

Is this just my opinion or do you think vanilla Android will survive or is it just a hobbyist’s dream platform?