COMPARISON SHOPPING: Google has set up a new global website that lets you compare the features, design and specifications of Android smartphones on sale in a particular country.
IF YOU are in the market for a new smartphone, you will no doubt have spent countless hours deliberating over which handset is the right one for you.
The number of new smartphones appearing on the market can be overwhelming at times and it can be incredibly difficult to decide which handset will serve all your needs - especially when there is a two-year contract involved (and there generally is).
Five years ago the most important two decisions a prospective mobile phone customer had to make was the mobile carrier and brand of phone they wanted. These days, the choice is much more involved.
Customers now have to decide if they want a feature phone or a smartphone, a touchscreen or physical buttons, a numerical keypad or a QWERTY keyboard, a contract with data or without, an operating system that can multitask or one that is easy to use, a phone that can download thousands of apps or a phone that comes with just the essential features, an operating system that is "open" or "closed" - and that's even before deciding on the brand of phone or the carrier they choose!
For consumers interested in purchasing a smartphone running on Google's Android software, the decision-making process has just become a little easier.
"Here at Google, we're thrilled with the global adoption of Android and with the high quality of devices that are coming to market around the world. Since there are so many great phones, we wanted to make the selection process a little easier for people who are in the market for a new one," said Google in a blog post.
The Internet giant has set up a new, global website that lets you compare the features, design and specifications of Android smartphones on sale in your own country.
It's a welcome improvement for a marketplace that has become increasingly fragmented and a huge helping hand for customers who have previously needed to search online by manufacturer or visit the stores of different carriers and try to make comparisons.
Google's website helps prospective buyers narrow down their selection with country, manufacturer and carrier filters, side-by-side technical specification and features comparisons and information about where each phone can be purchased.
The website, www.google.com/phone currently has information about Android phones that include Android Market, Google Search, and other Google Mobile services such as Gmail, Maps, and YouTube in various countries.
Information on more Android phones, phones in additional countries, and devices on other operators is said to be arriving shortly.
If you are not sure whether an Android smartphone is right for you, the links below will provide you with additional information about purchasing your first or next smartphone.
They include tips on how to choose the best device for you, what to watch out for when signing a contract and reviews of the newest and best smartphones in the market