Society: Why Android is the future of mobile communication

There is no doubt that Google rules the Internet, search, mail advertising, cloud computing, you name it.

There is no doubt that Google rules the Internet, search, mail advertising, cloud computing, you name it.

They were not satisfied by just being the No. 1 Internet Company; they went ahead and pushed the Internet into your pocket, making the Internet follow you wherever you go.
This is a new phenomenon referred to as “always connected”.

Their success on the mobile front can be attributed in part, to their Android operating system and strategic partnerships with handset manufacturers, carriers and developers.

A bit of history

Android Inc. the company responsible for developing the Android operating system, was founded in 2003 in Palo Alto, with a vision to “ develop smarter mobile devices that are aware of the owners location and preferences”, in the words of Andy  Rubin one of the founders of the  company.

Android Inc. was later acquired by Google Inc. in 2005.

The launch of Android mobile platform to the public in 2007, coincided with the unveiling of the open handset alliance, a consortium of mobile handset makers, application developers, mobile carriers and chip makers, whose objective was to develop open standards for mobile devices. Some of the members of the alliance include, Google, HTC, Sony, Dell, Intel, Motorola, Qualcom, Texas Instruments, Samsung, LG, T-Mobile and Nvidia.

The first handset running was the T-mobile G1, also known as the HTC Dream.

What really makes android a unique mobile OS?

Android has two major advantages over the competition.

A world of handset options
The Android platform has been licensed to multiple handset manufactures since 2008 free of charge. This gives consumers the choice to choose whose handset to buy unlike other mobile platforms, which have one handset option, and do not license their software to other manufactures. An example is Apple’s ios.

Moreover, Android being open source, allows manufactures to build their own user interfaces within the software. Examples include HTC’s Sense user interface and Motorola’s Moto-Blur interface.

In the second quarter of 2009, Android handsets had a worldwide market share of 2.8%. 1st quarter sales of Android Smartphones in 2010, surpassed Apple’s for the first time. By the 4th quarter of 2010, Android’s market share had grown to 37% or worldwide Smartphone shipments, making Android the top selling Smartphone platform.

Some of the heavyweights who have embraced Android include, Acer, Alcatel, Asus, Dell, Foxconn, Garmin, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and ZTE

Flexibility

Google has allowed application developers a lot of freedom to develop applications and make them available to users. Besides the official Google app market, there are multiple third party app stores. Unlike Apple’s stringent approval process for app submission to their store, Google has chosen to keep out of the development and approval process, thus allowing developers to be limited by their creativity. Besides, Android apps can be installed from a memory card, meaning that users can even share and redistribute apps with peers.

Rapid growth

Android’s flexibility has contributed to unprecedented growth of the applications market.
There is no doubt that Apple’s app store is the biggest at the moment, however the android market is growing very fast that it will soon surpass Apple’s. As of September, 2009, there were 10,000 apps in the Android market. That number has since grown to 200,000 as of December 2010.  The Apple store had 300,000 apps in January 2011, for comparison’s sake.

Android’s main competition in the Smartphone space include, Apple ios, Microsoft windows mobile, Nokia’s symbian, Sony Ericsson’s symbian, RIM blackberry, Samsung bada and HP’s web os.

Now you know why your next handset is likely to be an Android device.

agabaf@gmail.com, (IT Consultant and Technology Blogger , Kampala – Uganda)

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