Android comes in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Whether you like a horizontal QWERTY or even a dual-screen phone, there is likely a form factor that suits you. Along with the benefit of a wide variety of phone choices comes a broad selection of price point, too. All is not well, however. This wide array of devices doesn't always bring praise to Google's platform.

As you would expect, cheaper phones come severely underpowered by comparison; therefore, performance takes a major hit. While the Galaxy S II is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Exynos (or a 1.5GHz Snapdragon) processor, the HTC Status is toting a low-cost 800MHz Qualcomm chip. It's obvious why these devices come with such drastic differences in specifications, but that doesn't stop the average consumer from piling all Android devices into the same bin. Low-end, mid-range and high-end Droids are all the same.

I've seen or heard it a hundred times – in comment wars, fanboy battles, etc. An avid user of some other platform will speak up, claiming to have used “the Android” and how it pales in comparison performance on iOS or Windows Phone 7. After a few exchanges about which platform is better, among other nonsensical fanboy talk, the inevitable question is asked: “What Android phones have you had?” To which the reply usually reads something like, “I've had several Droids: a HTC Hero, Samsung Replenish and LG Optimus S. They were all laggy, full of bugs and cheaply made. You should try an iPhone.”

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying these are bad devices. They're perfectly fine, and well worth the money saved, if that's what is important to you. But they are clearly more susceptible to lag and other performance issues than top-end smartphones with more advanced processor technologies and likely a newer version of Android. For those that don't care to throw down $200 or $300 on a new phone, they can easily gather the wrong impression of Android, instead of seeing how it performs under optimal conditions. (And no, Android isn't perfect either.)

This isn't anything new, though. Android's image being tarnished by low-end devices has been happening since day one and is a widely-accepted fact among us journos and Android fans. But Dustin Earley of Android and Me and I were talking about this and how things will eventually change in Android's favor.

Parts manufacturers are putting everything they have into churning out newer, faster, more efficient technology. In under a year, we've leaped from single-core processors to dual-core, and NVIDIA's quad-core Kal-El processor is just around the bend. High-end phones are transitioning into superphones; mid-range devices are taking the place of what was considered "high-end" last year; and feature phones are being replaced by low-end smartphones. This trend will continue until low-end phones are the previous year's high-end devices, and that already-fuzzy line between mid-range and low-end will totally disappear.

It can get a little confusing, but think about it. In light of new, dual-core toting phones, the EVO 4G – once the king of Androidland – is now a solid mid-range device. In another year's time (maybe and probably less), this will be the best of the low-end lineup (though I doubt the EVO will still be around, it will likely be replaced by something very similar).

That said, problems with Android don't end with underpowered, cheap hardware. The software has some hitches of its own, and Google is working around the clock to iron out the kinks. They plan on resolving most of the Android fragmentation issues Ice Cream Sandwich, looking to support devices as far back as possible. The update should also bring the added perk of hardware acceleration to all handsets, meaning even some underpowered phones will run much more smoothly with their 800MHz or 1GHz processors.

Android isn't perfect, but it isn't nearly as bad as some phones make it seem. The longer Android is around, the more the general public will understand it. And as these extremely cheap, feature phone-like smartphones find their way to recycle bins and the first wave of high-end Android phones take their place, we can only hope the misinformed consensus that Android is a laggy, half-finished OS gets corrected.

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106 Reactions to this post

"Do low-end phones hurt Android's reputation?"

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Ateeb Tallaat Khan
Ateeb Tallaat Khan Yes
Bret Reodique
Bret Reodique No, i think its simply because HTC want to serve those who like texting so much as well as android. ,.
Lee Grip Gresham
Lee Grip Gresham Anybody seen Zach...? Zach Cline....anyone? He wants an iPhone...lol
James Stewart
James Stewart That is the stupidest thing ive ever heard iPhone's are for old people im 14 i have a iPhone iPad and Mac i know about 16 people at school who have iPhones and most over people want iPhone's but arent allowed them ! And as for people with android phones most are Forced by there parents because there not allowed a iPhone.
Charles Douglas Bubba Stanford
Charles Douglas Bubba Stanford I love my contiuum
Hanish Kies Chawla
Hanish Kies Chawla a phone with android cant be low end !
Naman Makhija
Naman Makhija ALOT !! many people dont know the difference in a galaxy sII or a $99 vodafone android they think there is no difference becaause both are on android
Carlton Littlejohn
Carlton Littlejohn No just the phone manufacturer rep
Saad Ajmal
Saad Ajmal yes
Aldo Gallinar
Aldo Gallinar Yes.!
Zach Cline
Zach Cline And android is just the operating system, Not a manufacturer.
Zach Cline
Zach Cline @Muneer. It's not that great android fanboy.
Erman Guido
Erman Guido Alot.
Hansel Starley
Hansel Starley Yes, piece of crap like the samsung moment and gem make people hate Android.
Tony Dominguez
Tony Dominguez Yes, I heard a commercial today on ESPN Radio for Quicken Loans featuring Magic Johnson and if you signed up for a Mortgage review you got a FREE ANDROID PHONE..I can only imagine the crappy phone you get and it just cheapens the "brand" image of Android to get a free, nameless phone for signing up for something.
Noah Beiter
Noah Beiter Um no because if anybody even buys a low-end android phone, I doubt they even know what android is..
Danny Spaide
Danny Spaide yup people buy the cheap phone, and get a BAD Android experience...Buy an "Sense" or "Touchwiz'' or hell a Nexus device.. I have always been told, you get what you pay for
Dis McCarthy
Dis McCarthy not as much as going closed source did
Greg Phifer
Greg Phifer I think I've only ever seen one person in my life have a low end android phone and yea she hates it but everyone I know has either the Droid 2 Droid x or Droid x2 I don't see any other android phones
Jose Hernandez
Jose Hernandez Yes.....
Michael Ruiz
Michael Ruiz Yes
Wilberto Ortiz
Wilberto Ortiz i am having the tims of my life with my Optimus M on Metropcs. movies games social network email text magaine apps porn... yada yada
Muneer KhanVict
Muneer KhanVict Zach cline needs to gtfo nn stop hatin on a great OS
Tannon McSwain
Tannon McSwain Is the lg optimus considered a "low end" phone?
Nicole Gunter
Nicole Gunter Android should stop making phones their batteries suck end of story
Nick Koval
Nick Koval Yes and it lowers the standard for other phones
Darryl Mouzone
Darryl Mouzone Wow there are way too many fanboys on this page. People need to get lives and stop it with the OS bashing.
Tom Parker
Tom Parker The iPhone is the only high end phone
Adrian Salazar
Adrian Salazar Yes cause then first time android users get the wrong impression
John Stelmack
John Stelmack Most definitely. I don't know why people would buy a low end android. You have to buy the same plans that you have to buy if you buy a high end phone.
Dwayne Demaurivert
Dwayne Demaurivert No because iPhone has on option and its exspensive Android makes it affordable for everyone!!
Mamun Chowdhury
Mamun Chowdhury Yes
Rico Suave
Rico Suave Id like to see them produce only 1 model like apple and still have more money than the government.
Terry Monday
Terry Monday Jonny... some androids cost more than the iphone.. invalid statements were made throught your whole comment..
Byktor Urvaes
Byktor Urvaes Of course!
Tony Godswatching Overme
Tony Godswatching Overme Yes
Teron Facey
Teron Facey No not everybody can afford a high end 500 dollar smartphone.
Joe Sanghito Blo
Joe Sanghito Blo yes
Jonathan Brewer
Jonathan Brewer I think so. However, I've never had a low end android phone. But even some high end phones lag cuz they were rushed, have little ram, or have too much bloatware etc. I know I was getting tired of android until I got my nexus s. Hands down best androin experience ever. Never slow. Ever. And I've had all the dual core phones and stuff and this one outperforms them all to me. Anyways if android wanted a super reputable name, they would put more time into fewer devices in order to ensure a top notch device every time. However, they are trying to appeal to the masses, so they expect a discernable difference between the range of devices
Eric Alan Holloway
Eric Alan Holloway I agree with Chris P. Flooding the market with an inferior product just to put or get a product out isn't the smartest thing to do. Only quality will win the day for them, but that's why they have had so many layoffs recently. You think they would get it by now. Yet the majority of these phones are already obsolete by the time they come out and you hear rumors of the next gen coming out soon or the OS already has an update and it just came out! Sounds like junk to me.
John Brown
John Brown Android literally has something for everyone.
John Brown
John Brown It only does for people who don't know better, but having the amount of variety that Android phones have is great. Not everyone wants a high end phone but they may not want a standard flip phone so I think its great to have all if these options.
Javier Segura
Javier Segura Android android doesn't need low end phones to tarnish it's reputation…it can do that all by itself.
Carlos Caloca
Carlos Caloca Yes they do. I hated my phone totally went to the iPhone never looked back...
Ben Morrison
Ben Morrison Yes. Simply because some low end android devices like the motorola citrus are so unusable they turn off first time buyer. Low end is not a bad thing. But if a phone has lower specs than the G1 and acts well below that level. You are not low end you are cheap crap.
Richard Ameen
Richard Ameen No it makes its rep better because it broadens the appeal to those who think that low end is enough and don't wanna spend $200.00-$300.00 on a phone. Those who do spend the money ( me included) are the people who have to have the best in technology or just because of a name
Hated Newsome
Hated Newsome I have the HTC wildfire s considered by some a low end phone but I love it
Louis Thevenot
Louis Thevenot Yes! Low end phones really hurt Android!
Maurice Hall
Maurice Hall unquestionably they do!!!
Victor Ballinas
Victor Ballinas Yes
Christopher Bigham
Christopher Bigham Omg!!! Stop dick riding apple people! Their phones suck! And @joey monfreda I'm sure I have more money then you and I only but android phones. Apple is for old people who don't know how to do anything with their phones and need someone to show them what to do. And for douch bags who think the apple label makes them look tech savy. And asians. No offence asians.
John Zanatta
John Zanatta Low and hurts everything. Just because a system can operate on limited hardware doesn't mean that it will represent what something is capable of. Computers, phones, tablets. You name it.
Zach Cline
Zach Cline And all of the glitches give hemdroid a bad name.
Zach Cline
Zach Cline @Dave jones- It's iphone. Not i phone or i-phone. And it's far from being a paperweight.
Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas And as for Android not running well I think its mostly the manufacturers UIs that mess up Android. Because everytime I use a Vanilla Android OS UI the phone runs WAY smoother
Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas I don't think so. I think it gives users choice and thats exactly why Google made Android in the first place. I think they should raise the standards on Low-End Android phones though.
Anthony Peña
Anthony Peña No it doesn't ...I love my low end phone :-)
Dave Jones
Dave Jones I want an i phone but there about as good as a paper weight unless my carrier carries i phone.
Zach Cline
Zach Cline @Abram. No doubt. I'm on the droid x now running gingerbread and the market force closes on me all the time, Not to mention that youtube doesn't function right after i got the latest update to 4.5.602. Most android fanboys would say , Root it and put a vanilla android rom on it herp derp. Well i was rooted for a good while and i don't care for custom roms and there isn't a huge benefit to being rooted.
George Kosta Petroff
George Kosta Petroff I agree with Mike, I have the LG optimus V and it runs as smooth as a so-called "High End" phone in my opinion. Waiting for Gingerbread update which I understand started rolling out for Sprint users today.
Eron Sunshine
Eron Sunshine Yep, but I think at the heart of the Android software is that everyone can enjoy a high end like phone with good to decent features and not have to suck up to Apple.
Skye Villanueva
Skye Villanueva 100% They give android a bad name....there should only be mid and high end phones
Joseph M. Gayoso
Joseph M. Gayoso If it feels low-end, then yes. Manufacteres take advantage of the freenes of Android to get away with cheap phones.
Jonny Monfreda
Jonny Monfreda I thought android devices were all low end phones? They're just knock offs for people who can't afford an iPhone. There will always be poor people and I do not mean that in a hurtful way; but as long as there are poor people, android will thrive.
Vincent Hung
Vincent Hung It doesn't matter this will be fixed in Android Ice Cream Sandwich. It will fix the device fragmemtation so developers make one app and optimize it to work on low-end and high-end phones/tablets
CJ Ughamba
CJ Ughamba Yes
Ryan Rampersad
Ryan Rampersad Yes, I think they do. I'm not paying for an OS, I'm paying for hardware that's good enough to just get things done. It's hard for older, cheaper hardware to work seamlessly and when it's not going fast and working well, what are you going to blame? You're going to blame with what you interact with and that's the OS, the interface on top of the machine. Android.
Mike Dougall
Mike Dougall The Optimus phone aren't bad phones out of all the manufacturers LG is the best because there phones run smooth I've seen people with the optimus on other cell company's an they don't see a problem win LG brands because at least they make a solid device
Ben Broyles
Ben Broyles Yes!!! Because people buy then unknowing that it has a slow processor and low ram. And so when its a slow poochy little phone Nd their buddies dx2 or evo is just a smoking it in every sense that person will then have a poor view of android. And its not because the platform is bad its because they unfortunately got a poochy android phone
Abram Wenevermet Dennis
Abram Wenevermet Dennis All androids are low end phones as far as I'm concerned.. Crash, force close,errors!
Gabriel Sotomayor
Gabriel Sotomayor @Namkell your right , you cant pretend to get a sensation when you pay for a optimus T
Jacob Petrie
Jacob Petrie How did ios get in here? This is an android thread. Sick of seeing crapple fanboys.
Gabriel Sotomayor
Gabriel Sotomayor @Lamont the lack of proper updates to phones its not Google fault , it manufacturer/carrier fault
Namkell Kelly
Namkell Kelly It does but why get a low end smartphone anyway.....your gonna get what u pay for
Felipe Gonzalez
Felipe Gonzalez Carrier/operators make android look bad
Chris Payne
Chris Payne I understand the point of low-end phones is to bring Android to people who can't afford the high-end devices. However, most people don't understand what is "low-end" or what that means. They get a "smartphone" and they expect it work just like all the best devices out there. When their phone starts to fail on them they blame it on the fact that it's an Android device instead of understanding the operating system can't run at it's full potential when put on crappy hardware. Most people who tried Android, hated it and went to the iPhone were using a low-end Android device to begin with. Apple has control over the hardware as well as the software. Google says, "Here's the software, you take care of the hardware." Which gives manufacturers the freedom to do great things with the hardware to stand out from the rest (ie: Kickstand, landscape Qwerty keyboard, portrait Qwerty keyboard, 3D capabilities, etc.). Unfortunately this also allows manufacturers to cut corners and use badly outdated hardware and sell it at a discounted price just to get a "new" device out there for people to buy. Less tech savvy people will buy it only because it's new with the idea that "if it's new, it must be the best". Because no one would release an already inferior product, right? Wrong. Look at Apple's last two versions of the iPhone. They were outdated on release. They have been playing catch-up these last two years. Adding a front-facing camera a year after the competition had it, various tweaks in their interface that their competition has had for years as well as upgrading some of their hardware to almost what their competitors were already running.
Dan Hammen
Dan Hammen i would rather see fewer phones if it meant higher quality phones. Ive seen many people get mad at android when they have "xyz cheap off brand" and push off to apple because of it
Gabriel Sotomayor
Gabriel Sotomayor @Ijson 200-250 for a 600MHz CPU, 256MB of RAM iphone 3gs just prove how overprice a crapple device can be
Henry Van
Henry Van definitely. if you want an android phone, you gotta pay to play. putting android on a device with crappy specs gives the user a crappy experience. and this is why ms came up with baseline requirements for their wp7 phones. google should do the same. 1ghz minimum, no less.
Frederick Rodriguez
Frederick Rodriguez Yes
Lamont Johnson
Lamont Johnson Yes and no....Google isnt doin good on reputation anyway not giving proper updates to phones
Perro Rosello
Perro Rosello Not all of them IMO. The LG Optimus S/T Is a low end Android and it runs great considering its hardware, and there are more than a few high end Androids that lag a lot as well. Its a combination of lack of OEM optimizations and Android itself being a resource hogging OS
Gabriel Sotomayor
Gabriel Sotomayor yeah , they are like.. iphones LOL
Lamar Sarracino
Lamar Sarracino I have to say yes!!! I'm already having problem with the performance and the screen!!!!! Going from the Droid 1 to the LG ally??? I can totally agree that they do hurt it!!!!
Zach Cline
Zach Cline The g2 x does not blow the iphone away. LG sucks first of all and i've read more horror stories of that glitchy POS malfunctioning than anything else.
William Smith
William Smith When you buy a low end Android phone under stand what you are getting! Don't be looking for updates and get mad because your phone is freezing up!
Cesar Augusto Bohorquez
Cesar Augusto Bohorquez Unfortunately yes it does, but it really should not. You can't blame the OS for being on a crappy phone. The OS is open source and it can be put on any piece of hardware. So because the hardware sucks it does not mean that the OS sucks. Most people do not know that.
Jasé Phillip
Jasé Phillip pretty much.... iPhone is where it's at losers .... android is a wannabe platform you fools better off with a blackberry u might get some respect for that.. at lease your device will hold it's value for more than a month..... unlike the iPhone iPhone 3g stills goes for 200 250 used ..... I am quite sure u can get a bionic for that now somewhere
Micah Madru
Micah Madru Yes because some people expect to get a high end experience from a 600mhz 128MB of ram, and a terrible gpu device that is running android 2.0. Not all android devices are created equals. Just like not all windows computers are equal. I think as times change people will realize this.
Jordon Folkes
Jordon Folkes I had the shittiest android so yes now I have a bb.
Brandon Johnson
Brandon Johnson Yes they do hurt their reputation, people that buy those phones bash the OS as a whole because they bought a cheap phone (which is only cheaper up front since they'll be paying the exact same amount for the bill).
Josh Sussman
Josh Sussman Yeah :(
Pedro Costa
Pedro Costa Yes. But saying yes we're putting Android in a price range where iPhone fits
Dylan Velasco
Dylan Velasco Ask the crappy tmobile comet, or Motorola citrus. They all blow hard
Rob Lyons
Rob Lyons There should be a standard processor size (1ghz), x amount of ram, internal memory and battery size. You learn these things after owning the Samsung Intercept.
Ryan DeClue
Ryan DeClue In a word, yes. In two words, hell yes! ... Just kidding :-) android OS is great regardless of the phone
Al Cahawl
Al Cahawl Aaron took the words right out of my mouth.
Melvin Mejia
Melvin Mejia Yes androids suck big fat dicks ios is the way to go!!
Nick Maass
Nick Maass Somewhat maybe. But when you have phone like my G2x, SGSII, any nexus phone that blows the iPhone and any phone away. Don't get me wrong there are some shitty android phones like tthe LG ally but some people enjoy those because they don't need a dual core processor and a 4 inch screen. I would gladly take my G1 over a iPhone any day. Running 1.5
Michael Mincey
Michael Mincey No. Let's face it....some people are just plain cheap. You get what you pay for. If there were low end verions of the iPhone, people would by those (remember the iPod Nano)? It just allows more people the chance to try it out. Much like anything else, you want the bells and whistles, you gotta pay to play.
Joel Burch
Joel Burch No, it spreads their market, and in turn boosts revenue and increases overhead.
Chris Hyson
Chris Hyson Yes. Low end phones tend to be slow and ugly (both in hardware and since it used the ugly ass stock android)
Bob Camba
Bob Camba By putting the Apple O S into rap machines
Bob Camba
Bob Camba Gil Amelio was fired for driving Apple to near extinction by puttinh
James Ortiz
James Ortiz Yea only high end phones should be released
Aaron Espinosa
Aaron Espinosa No. Because it opens the market to a vast community of consumers rather than just those which can afford the high end devices.

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