Recently there was a request for advice on a mailing list I frequent, on how to choose an Android phone from the plethora of offerings out there. Here’s what I had to say on the matter:
1) Because Android is Android, the underlying hardware – and thus the vendor – is a significant differentiator. Pick one with a good track record. My favorite is still HTC, but Samsung and Motorola are turning out good kit as well. Stay out of Motorola’s price basement, though, some of their low-end handsets are best avoided.
2) Staying out of the price basement is in general a good idea. It’s not so much that the low-end phones lack features as that they’re more likely to be afflicted by poor build quality and carrier crapware.
3) Do not buy a phone running an Android variant that has been skinned. If you see “runs MotoBlur” or “runs SenseUI”, avoid. These skins don’t add any value and tend to be flying cover for crapware and promotional tie-ins. Thankfully this is a receding problem and will probably be history by year end.
4) Do give extra consideration to any handset supported by CyanogenMOD. This will guarantee you an upgrade path even if the vendor drags its feet about them.