I sprang for the Dell Streak. I couldn’t resist the lure of a phone with a capacious 5” screen but yet is pocketable.
The Streak’s OS is Android, my current smartphone OS of choice. But the version is the 1.6 (Donut). Donut seems positively ancient, with most Android smartphones sporting at least 2.1 (Eclair) if not 2.2 (Froyo). Indeed, my only other Android device with Donut is the Archos Internet Tablet. But the Archos has been around for a while, whereas the Streak is just released.
Dell must have known that the Streak having Donut instead of Froyo or Eclair would be a negative to buyers. Indeed, that almost caused me not to buy the Streak. Almost … I assumed Dell will quickly have an update to Eclair, if not Froyo.
Indeed, Dell announced shortly before the U.S. Streak became available that the European Streak would be updated to Eclair. Since, Dell has indicated unofficially (via Twitter) that it would update the U.S. Streak directly to Froyo and skip Eclair.
Why then did Dell release the U.S. Streak with outdated Donut? I’m not on a first name (or last name) basis with Michael Dell. However, my guess is that Dell had not yet finished testing Froyo (or Eclair) on the Streak but did want to defer releasing the Streak any longer than it already had.
Be that as it may, Donut is a letdown after enjoying Eclair and Froyo goodness. Big difference between 1.6 and 2.x.
So am I stuck with Donut until Dell gets around to updating the Streak’s OS? No. There are unofficial ways to root the Streak and install a custom 2.1 ROM.
Will I do that, or wait for Dell? Not sure right now. The rooting part seems safe enough, and nothing I haven’t done before on other devices. But there does not appear to be a first class 2.1 custom ROM available … yet. However, one likely will become available soon. then again, Dell’s update of the Streak to Froyo also may become available in the same time frame … or not. With Dell, hard to tell.
Assuming both options are available, which to choose? Froyo is Froyo. But there are different user interfaces, HTC Sense being the most well known, but hardly the only one. Indeed, Dell has its own custom interface for the Streak. Can’t say I like it. But that may be because of Donut, rather than the UI itself. But the bottom line is that the choice will become a battle of the available UI’s. And that would be a good subject for another article, don’t you think? 🙂