Well this has little to do with education, other than Android is the only smart phone platform that you can quickly and for no cost develop educational software for I suppose. The other platforms such as iPhone and Palm Pre are either not free and open source, and/or take forever to make your app available for others to use and cost money to develop for. There is still the J2ME platform too, but I’m limiting this to newer generation smart phones.
There are now (in the U.S.) 4 Android phones to choose from. Well, 2 of them are not yet released but will be soon. All are basically identical under the hood: processor speed, touchscreen, camera, bluetooth, wireless, GPS, etc. This engadget post compares the technical features of the different Android phones, but I wanted to mention a bit more about these 4 options:
- T-Mobile G1 (or “Dream”, $97 at walmart/amazon + 2 year contract) – This has been out a year now. Features slide out keyboard, 3.2MP camera. No headphone jack, only USB. A little bigger than the newer Android phones below.
- T-Mobile MyTouch (or “Magic”, $99 with Oprah coupon code + 2 year contract) – Released last month, this is the second generation of the G1 but still basically the same software-wise. It is smaller partly because it has no hardware slide out keyboard. Slightly bigger battery. Also no headphone jack, only USB.
- Sprint Hero ($279 at bestbuy or sprint + 2 year contract – $100 rebate) – To be released October 11th (see announcement). Has more tailored and polished software (HTC Sense). Has a 5MP camera, but no keyboard. Supports Sprint features like Sprint TV. Sprint supposedly has 20x the high speed 3G network coverage as T-Mobile but may add roaming charges.
- T-Mobile Cliq (?? + 2 year contract) – Due out later this fall. Smaller form factor, has a slide out keyboard and enhanced MOTOBLUR software tailored for folks who use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. See this demo.
For all the phones you have to get a voice plan + a data plan. Starts around $65/month at T-mobile ($85 for family plan) and $69/month or so at Sprint ($129 for family plan).
Some popular third party Android software includes ShopSavvy (scan barcodes to compare prices), Pandora (listen to music online like the Pandora website), and Repligo (read pdfs).