We were so excited about yesterday’s Google Buzz announcement that we glossed over the fact that about 80% of Android devices can not take full advantage of the service. This caused a lot of confusion for our readers because many could not access the service on their phone.
Only devices running Android 2.0+ have access to the latest Android browser and Google Maps 4.0. This allows them the full Buzz experience of using the mobile web app, posting buzz with voice commands, and buzzing on place pages. Only the Motorola Droid (2.0.1) and Google Nexus One (2.1) are running the latest version of Android in the United States.
The mobile site does not work in Android 1.6′s browser because it supports only Gears and not HTML5, where Buzz supports only HTML5. Only Android 2.0+ devices (21%) include the latest version of the browser with support for HTML5.
The latest version of Google Maps 4.0 requires at least Android 1.6, which leaves many Android phones (31%) with no access to Buzz from a mobile device. The Sprint Hero and Moment, T-Mobile CLIQ and Behold II, and Verizon Droid Eris are currently stuck on Android 1.5.
Buzz access for different versions of Android:
- Android 1.5: No Google Maps 4.0, no mobile app
- Android 1.6: Google Maps 4.0 only
- Android 2.0+: Google Maps 4.0 and mobile app
The iPhone has support for HTML5 so it can run Buzz and Google Maps in the browser. The iPhone also has a Google Maps app, but it is an older version that does not have access to the latest Buzz features (or Navigation).
BlackBerry users will get to join the fun when its browser gets a much needed update to the WebKit platform.
Most Android phones will eventually get updated to Android 2.1 so it is only a waiting game now. There have been hints that the update could be released early, but no carriers have provided anything more specific than 1H 2010.
Consider yourself lucky if you own a Droid or Nexus One. Enjoy your new toy.