[clug] Acer beTouch E130 (Android 1.6) smartphone

Robert Edwards bob at cs.anu.edu.au
Thu Jan 6 20:17:50 MST 2011

On 06/01/11 16:36, Mike Carden wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 4:30 PM, Daniel Pittman<daniel at rimspace.net>  wrote:
>> For which device?  As far as I know the HTC Magic on Three Australia
>> has not received a vendor upgrade past 1.6
> Really? Can you suggest where can I find 3's release of 1.6 for my
> Magic? I'm still on 1.5. I don't see anything on 3's web site.

I can think of at least two reasons why getting anything much more
advanced than 1.6 working on this device might be hard.

1) Android is NOT Free Software (although it is built upon the Free
Linux kernel and the Open Source Sun/Oracle Java runtime (with mods)).

Here is yet another example of where using non-Free software will bite.
Because it is not Free Software, there is no reason for the vendors to
release the source code of the drivers etc. for their Android devices.

Their argument would be that once you have bought the device, you have
essentially gotten what you paid for. If we could get the vendors to
release the source of their drivers etc. then the highly talented open
software community could start porting newer versions of Android onto
these legacy devices.

Of course there is pressure in the other direction from the telco's
not wanting devices attached to their networks to have too much openness
in the code.

2) It is quite likely that as Google release newer versions of Android,
they will expect higher hardware standards (memory, CPU speed etc.).
I understand that Google recommend/require at least 128MB, if not 256MB,
of RAM for Android 2+.

As part of their brand protection, Google may not want to deal with
"inferior user experiences" of their newer versions running on older

So, although 1.6 may be available for your Magic, without access to the
vendors sources, it is unlikely that you will be able to get anything
much newer running on it.

Still, with the demise of OpenMoko, Android remains one of the best
bets for open mobile phones*. I wish it were a lot more open, but at
least I can easily develop apps and load them on without jumping
through all the hoops that iOS require.


Bob Edwards.

* I still have my eye on what Symbian are up to with their efforts to
open source their code base.

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