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Dell Streak causes user fury

Android fluffs it again

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Dell's Streak might now be running Android 2.1, but those who've upgraded are finding the newer OS takes away more than it adds to the tablet/phone crossbreed.

PC synchronisation, Windows Media Video playback and the Facebook widget are among the reported casualties of the upgrade process, and some who did manage a smooth upgrade were still caught out by the need to replace all their data and installed applications.

The Streak was launched by O2 with Android 1.6 and the promise of a rapid upgrade, which became available on Monday. Some users are happy with the upgrade, but both the Dell and O2 forums are alive with those who've hit problems ranging from reversed volume buttons to disappearing browser controls.

We'd hope that Reg readers would have backed up all their data before launching into an OS upgrade, but Android devices aren't aimed at the technically minded and many users seem to have skipped this vital step in the assumption that Dell would take care of it.

But even those who did have adequate backups are having problems and finding Dell's level of support lamentable. We contacted Dell ourselves, and were promised that someone would get back to us real soon now.

The problem may be Dell's, but it's born of Android's aspirations and Google's overconfidence. Supporting an OS running on a range of different hardware is really tough - work in hardware design for long enough and one gains a grudging respect for Microsoft Windows and its ability to integrate with just about any chunk of hardware. Linux still strives for the same thing with immeasurable resources at its disposal.

With every new Android device the supported hardware base grows. Combine that with Google's determination to release a new OS every six months, and you're creating a legacy of disillusioned users who'll start to value stability and simplicity above the openness touted by Android. ®

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