The iPhone brought forth a revolution in the way we look at our mobile phones and a much needed change in the mobile marketplace with the introduction of the App Store. Like the iPhone, Android also has much to offer to the mobile marketplace and to consumers. In a nutshell Android brings more choice for manufacturers and consumers, not just in the mobile space but in several other areas as well. Over the past couple of years the amount of attention which Android has received is tremendous. From a startup in India developing an Android based tablet computer, to several major corporations aligning their products to run the Android operating system. Moreover, allowing new entrants into a market which they would not have imagined being a part of in the past. Android is gaining ground in a very short amount of time and will continue to do so for the next few years as more and more companies start using the open source platform to power many of their current and future devices.
Most people have a misconception that Android is purely meant for mobile phones only. While this is true and over the recent months the market has been overflowing with manufacturers announcing new mobile phones running on the Android platform, the truth is Android is extremely versatile in nature. What Android brings is the level of extendability in its application. The open source mobile operating system can be incorporated as a phone, as a tablet computer, as a media player and to some extent even a portable projector. There are also projects underway which are looking at implementing the Android operating system in automobile navigation systems. The possibilities of how the operating system can be tweaked to fulfill a need are endless.
Being an open source platform the Android operating system is not only great for manufacturers and consumers, it is much more important to the application developers. The ability to be creative and develop innovative and useful apps for the general population to use is important. This is where the kudos goes to Apple and the concept of the App Store. With Android, the openness of the Android Market makes it much easier for developers to make their applications available for consumers to purchase and use without any form of restriction either from Google or from the hardware manufacturer. Moreover, an Android application would seamlessly work whether a person downloads it on their Android powered mobile phone or tablet computer.
Over the past year more and more companies have started to port their iPhone applications and make them available for the Android platform. A very good example is, Evernote, which started off as a desktop based application. Over time they released an iPhone application which users loved and have an Android application which is also well received. Similarly, Seesmic is another great example. Although Seesmic has yet to offer an iPhone application, however they have an application available for all major operating system platforms (Linux/mac/win) including Android.
The purpose of this article is not to bash Apple or iPhone in anyway. The purpose is to highlight that Android shouldn’t be taken lightly. As start-ups, big boys and application developers start to focus on your mobile application plans and strategies, you should be taking Android seriously and not ignore it. If ignored now, the time to ramp up in the future to develop a strategy around Android may pose challenges of its own.
Written by: Puleen Patel