When Microsoft prepped cell phone manufacturers about Windows Phone 7, they were crystal clear in defining the minimum hardware specifications each phone would have to support the mobile software--a touch screen, 1GHz processor, and 5-megapixel camera, for instance. Android's rapid development, on the other hand, makes minimum hardware specs murkier. They're documented but less understood than the distinctions between the software versions themselves.
As a result, we've combed through page upon thrilling page of compatibility documents to bring you the minimum hardware requirements of your Android phone and breaking down what that means.
Before we begin, note that Google has not posted documentation for Android 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, or 2.0.1; the company cites technical reasons. Also note that we omit comparing Apple's iPhone, BlackBerry smartphones, and Palm phones because they're closed manufacturing systems.Android 1.6, 2.1, 2.2 (* not required for v. 1.6) Windows Phone 7 QVGA (240x320 pixels) touch screen Capacitive WVGA resolution (800x480 pixels) touch-screen display (eventually opening up to HVGA) (480x320 pixels)) Virtual keyboard support Virtual keyboard support n/a 1GHz processor Must have a USB connection that connects to a standard USB-A port No manufacturer skins like HTC Sense or Samsung TouchWhiz 92MB RAM; 150MB user storage 256MB RAM; 8GB flash storage 2-megapixel camera 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, hardware shutter button Home, Menu, and Back functions available at all times Start, Search, Back hardware buttons Wireless high-speed data standard capable of supporting 200Kbps; like EDGE, EV-DO, HSPA, 802.11g (Android 1.6 requires Wi-Fi) DirectX GPU support Accelerometer* Accelerometer Compass* Compass GPS receiver* GPS receiver Bluetooth transceiver* Bluetooth transceiver n/a Ambient light sensor n/a Proximity sensor n/a FM radio
'Must' versus 'should' While this list reflects the minimum requirements that Google imposes on manufacturers, it isn't the full story. The Android team makes many hearty recommendations in legalese that "may" or "should" be used when building Android-compatible phones. For instance, a Micro-USB port isn't mandatory, but it is encouraged, as are hardware buttons and a dedicated search key. The base storage requirements also appear low, but Google recommends 128MB RAM and at least 1GB of on-device user storage for things like the address book and photos.… Read more