3_flavorsIf you are starting to pay closer attention to Android lately, you’ll likely notice some difference in how handsets are being branded.  Some have the “with Google” on the back while others don’t.  Some handsets come from major companies like HTC and Samsung, and yet others are rumored from no-name companies.  What is the difference in all of these phones when it comes to the Android experience?  Andy Rubin helps us get a better grasp.

There are three distinct flavors of Android, each with varying requirements and obligations to the handset makers and wireless providers.

  • The obligation-free option: Handset makers are able to load Android with as many apps as they’d like except for official Google titles like Gmail or Google Talk
  • The small strings option: Just like above except the handset makers sign an agreement to load Google apps on the handset.
  • The bigger strings option or the no-censorship version: These phones have the “with Google” logo on the handset and include a range of Google apps.  These apps are not removed by the carrier or the handset maker and there will be zero limitation in the Android Market.

Rubin mentioned that there are between 18 and 20 Android handsets due out by the end of the year.  This does not include startup handset makers who show up out of nowhere loading Android on hardware.  It’s likely that AT&T and Sprint will like the ‘small strings’ option so they can brand the handset around their own services yet keep enough “Google” loaded to satisfy the masses.  Further, those handsets could also be set up so that users can’t get access to things like tethering apps and other titles that the carriers aren’t fond of.

Taking the idea of rooting and jailbreaking out of the equation, what option appeals to you the most?  Do you like having a bunch of Google services and apps already loaded or would they be promptly deleted? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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