Android was founded in 2003 and it was acquired by Google in 2005. To be honest with you I didn’t even know Android existed until 2007 the same year that iOS was launched. This was actually achieved because Google was behind the project and development was accelerated due to more resources being available. Android looked very promising even though iOS had the lead in the public eye and the fact that Android was and still is an open source project made the platform very attractive for developers and for end users. Now if you fast forward things to 2011, Android’s trajectory has not made things any clearer as to where the platform stands when compared to iOS and now new to the “mix” Windows Phone 7. I don’t want to get too much into iOS. I don’t want to talk too much about the obvious, Apple seems to have gotten iOS right. It has had tremendous success with it’s AppStore and iOS and being able to incorporate the iPad into this ecosystem.
Apple has great success with it’s iOS devices that it makes it look like everyone else trying to catch up and not actually competing with Apple. Out of all the other operating system alternatives for mobile devices Android is the one that gets the closest to the iOS model. It does have a few advantages. Android is open source which means it is free, which pretty much means that you can slap on a version of Android on almost anything with processing power. Android is also support by many device manufacturers like HTC, Motorola, DELL, LG and many others. This is a good thing because you get a greater variety of designs, features and most important price ranges. Android also has it’s own “AppStore” a place where developers can sale their software and expect good profits. Open source projects are not often categorized as profit generating platforms, because open source projects are usually free, therefore the end users they attract are those who are looking for free stuff and might not want to pay for any of the applications available for Android devices. Luckily this is not the case for Android, there are lot of end users who are willing to pay for a good app. This is due to the case that most of the people who buy an Android enabled device are acquiring it cheaper by signing a contract with their carrier for a monthly fee for wireless services. This is all good so far, but the application distribution process for Android still has gaps. It is quite simple for developers to submit an application to the Android app market, which means that illegitimate applications might make it to the app market. Another negative is that the platform is segmented due to the many different versions of the operating system which might render applications useless if they aren’t backwards compatible.
At the end of the day Android has great potential and it is vastly popular, but this doesn’t dictate whether Android will become the #1 mobile device operating system. What do you think?