Google Android's iteration pace is impressive, but the Samsung Continuum from Verizon Wireless is an example of iteration taken a little too far.
One of the key differences between Apple's iOS and Google's Android mobile
operating systems is the pace of iteration.
Apple does one major upgrade to iOS and the hardware it runs each year, most
recently the excellent iPhone 4 and iOS 4.2.
Android, on the other hand, is open source so things flow a little faster,
if not a little willy nilly. Since January 2010, there have been two major OS
builds-Android 2.1 and Android 2.2-with Android 2.3 on the way this month or in
Google's last count had more than 60 handsets running on Android. After this
holiday season, that number must be more than 70.
Carriers and phone makers are free to build, release and iterate, which is
exactly what I feel Samsung and Verizon Wireless did in releasing the
Continuum. I tested the Android 2.1-based Fascinate
in September and
have been using the Continuum for the past 10 days.
Also running Android 2.1, the Continuum itself is fine, as gorgeous as its
Samsung Galaxy S class predecessors with its Super AMOLED screen. But let's be
honest; it's more or less the Fascinate, with some cosmetic changes.
See for yourself in the Fascinate pictures here
and the Continuum pics here
The Fascinate is squarish, with a 4-inch screen. The Continuum is rounded
and the main distinguishing feature of this device is that instead of one big
screen, you get two: a main 3.4-inch display and a smaller 1.8-inch ticker
In our eWEEK review, Cameron Sturdevant noted
that the ticker screen is geared to extend battery life
because it streams news, sports and social media feeds without lighting up the
main display. Content displayed on the ticker is customizable.
This didn't make a difference for me; the battery still ran down fairly
quickly. If there was some battery life saved, I didn't see it.
Both the Fascinate and Continuum have 5-megapixel cameras, with 720p HD
video recording, and both have talk times of 420 minutes and standby times of
Both phones are preloaded with Bing search and Bing Maps and all of that fun
Verizon applications, including VZ Navigator, VZ Music, VZ Videos and other