First was the HTC Hero - a popular device, available from many operators as well as SIM free from the usual suspects. HTC's TouchFlo/Sense shell blurs the boundaries between devices running different operating systems so this didn't seem a big challenge. However I did note that the Hero seemed to stutter under the weight of the interface. I did like the Scenes concept - a different interface for different occasions - but the pronounced 'chin' affects typing in landscape mode so I decided to look elsewhere.
The Tattoo has the same Sense UI, but the physically smaller screen has a lower resolution than any other Android device and is also the only resistive screened Android device too. The lower resolution means the Sense UI works better than on the Hero, but otherwise its a compromise device built down to a price and realistically the £90 price difference doesn't make up for its shortcomings.
The G1 (aka Dream) and Magic are still also available but neither of these devices is particularly good value when compared to newer Android devices.
There are non-HTC Android phones of course. Motorola have arrived back in the smartphone game with a pair of Android devices, the DEXT and DROID. Only the former is currently available in the UK and its a well built device but its a big phone and MOTOBLUR is a bit too focused on social networks for my liking. The Samsung Galaxy is a beautifully made phone and has a gorgeous screen - sporting Samsung's OLED technology I believe. Unfortunately its also ferociously expensive - and not really competitive for that reason.
So I was led back to the T-Mobile Pulse - concerns over the quality of the screen allayed by trying different handsets over the last few weeks - it starts to look like a bit if a bargain product. Its £100 less than the Tattoo and nearly £200 less than the Hero. For that £200 you give up the digital compass, ambient light sensor, drop from a 5mpixel to a 3.2mpixel camera and lose a bit of sensitivity in the screen. Not too bad a trade off, especially as the Pulse comes equipped with Android's biggest screen so far at 3.5".
So the Pulse it is. My take on Android so far is that it is a work in progress and is some way behind the iPhone and Windows Mobile in maturing. Unlike the iPhone however it's very much your device rather than one that's on loan from the manufacturer; in fact in many ways its an open source version of Windows Mobile, with all the problems and advantages that implies. As I use it I'll report back on the success or otherwise of the Pulse and Android as a whole.