robjg63: Having now dipped my toes into the android market (parallel imported Samsung Galaxy Ace) with Gingerbread 2.3.3 already installed (fortunately) I can see the problem.
Its much like the reason Linux hasnt taken off like it should have done. There isnt ONE linux distribution. There isnt one Android distribution. In both cases the OS is somewhat fragmented.
Seeing how Samsung handles it (officially) - that doesnt look ideal either. I think I am correct with the following - someone will correct me if I'm not ;-)
You buy a handset that has a slightly customised version of Android on it. It might identify as Vodafone and have a code to identify NZ. The SIM presumably has code to identify the provider as well.
So you install the Samsung kies program on your PC (Guess other manufacturers have their own proprietary programs). You hook the phone up the PC and the software seems to check against your telco and the codes in your phone. If the telco can be bothered/does support the phone - they may have a firmware update for you to install. If they dont support that phone - or cant be bothered circulating the update - then you wont get it.
Now I purchased a parallel import SG ace which has a european coded OS. Even if my telco (2 degrees as it happens) decided to distribute the latest OS version my phone wont be allowed to download it.
Its bad enough that Samsung may take quite a while to get around to developing an upgrade - but unless you root and tinker with other firmwares off the net its made as difficult as possible to get updates. I dont know why you cant just obtain the firmware directly from the manufacturers site....
I guess where some people see "fragmentation" others see choice. If you don't want choice, get an iPhone.
The way I see it, if the phone is on v2.2 or higher it can almost every app there is. I can't think of any exceptions at the moment...