A lot of rumors have been coming together this weekend concerning the HTC Passion/Dragon, rumored to be Google’s Android 2.1 flagship phone, similar to the way the Droid premiered Android 2.0. At the time the Droid was announced, there was much noise about the fact that Google has taken to holding the hand of a certain vendor for each Android release, helping them create a phone to best showcase the software, after having felt left down by the hardware side of the original Android phone, HTCs G-1. Google did this handholding thing with Moto (as Motorola themselves admitted with pride) in creating the droid for Android 2.0, and were rumored to be doing that with HTC for the next version of Android.
Soon after, rumors stated that the flagship HTC/Google collaboration was called the Passion or Dragon, and was the phone that Google brass were carrying around and testing. Next we learned that the Passion/Dragon was very much like the HD2 but running Android, and the version it was introducing would be 2.1.
Them it was rumored that the Passion was a figment and never really existed in the first place. Nothing to see here, go buy a Droid.
This weekend the Passion story was resurrected in a big way with a double headed rumor. First of all, Boy Genius reported on a list of HTC Android phones culled from a leaked Android 2.1 build. Included in the long list of code names, amongst such provocative gems as the “Incredible”, the “Espresso” and the “Huangshan”, were lo and behold the Passion, the PassionC (likely indicated a CDMA version) and the Dragon.
On the heels of that, TMOnews released word from a tipster that an Android phone called the Passion would be released on T-Mobile in the middle of January. The tipster also said this was the widely debated “Googlephone”, which is just plain silly since if we ever do see such a phone, the Google-orchestrated hype barrage will be Jobsian in proportion and start months in advance. However, the rumored T-Mobile release could very easily by the HTC Passion running Android 2.1.
Personally I think Google is shooting themselves in the foot releasing new Android versions so continuously, each with a new “must have” phone attached. Each one will inevitably cannibalize the sales of the one before, when they are being released with barely a month between them. The Droid has been enough of a hit where it could easily continue strong sales into the middle of 2010 or beyond…unless of course another Android flagship is launched in the meantime with a more recent version to become the new hotness.
Windows Mobile has been suffering badly from too much time between updates, while Android may be suffering from not enough time between new versions. Apple’s pace of a new full software version for the iPhone once a year seems sensible…now if only they didn’t always make their versions so dependant on having the newest hardware.
Be that as it may, if you are looking for the hottest Android phone on the market, you may want to hold off on that Droid purchase a couple weeks, and see if the Passion really does appear as rumored.