In the early to mid 2000"s, whenever someone talked of a business phone, you would inadvertently think of a Windows or a Symbian based device, which offered few state-of-the-art features like GPS, touch screen etc.
In 2007 Apple unveiled its smartphone, which ran on Mac OS X custom built for its phone. And a few years back, Google too announced its foray into the mobile OS business with the Android. These two developments completely revolutionised the mobile space.
The situation has only gotten tougher with the consistent process of software and hardware upgrades by the brand. However, Google, which has always believed in having an open environment for software development, challenged the might of the iPhone and today, Google can easily take pride in the fact that the Android OS is activating close to 200, 000 devices everyday!
The first Android OS or the phone was nowhere in comparison to the look and feel, interface, ease of use etc of the iPhone or any other hot selling smartphone. Fast forward to early 2010, when Google unveiled its own smartphone called the Nexus One, which turned the tables. This established Google as a serious player in the mobile OS race. Part of the decision to have its own mobile-OS was the increasing trend of accessing Internet on a mobile device and their considerable presence in web based apps like Maps, Google Voice etc. There are a number of factors that work in favour of the Android.
Google, in partnership with hardware manufacturers like Motorola, HTC etc and network providers like Verizon Wireless formed a consortium called the “Open Handset Alliance" that encourages open source development of Android. In this process, unlike Apple"s iOS, which is a closed system, source code of the OS is made available to developers to work on and make interesting applications. Android based devices can be customised to your liking. You can decide the look and feel of your homepage, your applications; and much more.
More Options in Hardware
One of the prime factors working in favour of Android has been its sheer omnipresence across all kinds of devices. While other smartphone leaders like Apple, Blackberry and Nokia themselves manage the hardware and softwares of their devices which limits the number of devices their software run on. Android is open source and hence, the OEM has to concentrate only on the hardware specs, while Google keeps its focus on development of the OS. Using this strategy, Android has been gaining market share with tremendous speed across the US and Western Europe. A recent IDC report claims that Android is the only OS, which has registered positive growth. This onslaught, in addition to the OS sporting features, which aren"t present in other devices, is also because of the options consumers have. Android devices are available across all price categories and in all possible form factors that gives it an edge over others.
Features in OS
One of the features that all iPhone or Blackberry users don"t have and Android has, is the one that allows users to issue voice based commands. So with an Android you can 'speak" your SMS, Email, Note, Calendar entry and much else. You can also speak your start and end destinations to the Google"s voice based navigation system. The recent Android 2.2 update, is packed with some innovative features like USB tethering. Using this you can use your phone as a WiFi hotspot. With every passing year, Google has strengthened the OS, its app store and its network of developers and the future looks bright for Android.
With the launch of iPad, Apple has created a new segment in the industry. Every other manufacturer is readying up its own version of the tablet before it"s too late. Already there are tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and OlivePad, which support the Android OS and are out in the market. In the coming months, tablets from Dell, Asus, Toshiba etc would be unveiled and Apple"s iOS and Google"s Android would fight their wars on new frontiers.
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