Android is the Google developed mobile Operating system.This Android OS creates the storm in the smartphone Market.This article is to explain some of the greatest features of Android and how it creates war in the smartphone market.
WHAT IS ANDROID?
WHO IS BEHIND ANDROID?
A Google has been the driving force behind Android. In November 2005, it bought a company named Android, a small firm that made software for mobile phones, but it wasn’t until mid-2007 that Google announced plans to back an open-source operating system for mobile phones. When Android was finally unveiled, the formation of the Open Handset Alliance was also announced.
This group of companies, which includes technology giants such as Intel , Toshiba and Sony Ericsson as well as mobile network operators such as Vodafone and T-Mobile, provides the backing for Android as well as pushing for the adoption of open standards in the mobile phone market.
HOW POPULAR IS ANDROID?
A Sales of Android phones are going through the roof – in the US, Android handsets are now outselling Apple’s iPhone, which is no mean feat. A third of all smartphones sold in the US between April and June in 2010 were Android-based, with BlackBerry sales accounting for 28 per cent and the iPhone at 22 per cent. One of the reasons for this is that Android is open source, so there are many manufacturers offering Android handsets – Samsung , HTC ,Motorola and LG , to name but a few. It took a while for Android-powered handsets to make their way onto the market – T-Mobile’s G1 was the first, launching only launched in October 2008– but nearly two years on, there are literally dozens of Android phones to choose from.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO THE IPHONE?
Android phones support many of the same features – touchscreen controls, high-resolution color screens, and storage for music, photographs and video, for example – that you’ll find on the iPhone, though until recently there was one key area where the iPhone had the edge on Android. Mobile applications, commonly known as apps, are the key selling point for smartphones at the moment. The choice of apps available for the iPhone is still greater than for Android, but the gap is rapidly closing.
Estimates for the number of apps available from the Android store and other app stores such as Handango and GetJar vary from 70,000 to 100,000,though the exact number isn’t known. T
here are more than 200,000 apps for the iPhone.
WHAT KIND OF APPS DOES ANDROID HAVE?
You’ll find an equivalent for just about everything you could get for an iPhone in the Android market. Turnby-turn navigational tools, games, augmented-reality apps and apps for popular web services such as eBay and Facebook are all available. Indeed, some apps come to Android before the iPhone, particularly those made by Google. Google Goggles is a tool that recognizes text and objects in photographic images so it can, for example, translate a restaurant menu written in a language you don’t understand. This app is only available on Android at the moment, but Google has said that it will release it on other platforms too.
WHY ARE THERE DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF ANDROID?
There are several different versions of Android and which one you use depends entirely on the handset you have and the whims of your mobile network operator. It is the networks that control when upgraded versions are released and some of the new features in the most recent versions of Android are not compatible with older hardware. In August, Vodafone incurred the wrath of customers with HTC Desire handsets for being slow to issue version 2.2 of Android. T-Mobile customers with the same handset still haven’t got the updated version yet.
The codenames of the different versions of Android are based around sweet-tooth treats. Version 1.5 was known as Cupcake, 1.6 was called Donut and versions 2.0 and 2.1 were referred to as Éclair. The current version, 2.2, is called Froyo – a truncated term for frozen yoghurt – and Gingerbread will be the next version to be released, sometime before the end of the year. It is thought that the version after that will be called Honeycomb.
Quirky codenames aside, the updates generally fix glitches and security holes in previous versions and add new features. For example, Éclair brought support for the HTML5 standard, examined in Issue231 of Web User, while Froyo brought support for Adobe Flash version 10.1. Gingerbread, when it is released, will bring better copy-and-paste functions and support for video calling.
DO I NEED TO WORRY ABOUT SECURITY ON ANDROID PHONES?
These days, you need to worry about security on any device that connects to the web. As Android is growing in popularity, it is increasingly becoming a target for cybercriminals.
- Recently, an Android game called Tap Snake was found to broadcast information about your location to others.
- Another piece of Android-specific malware spotted recently was a Trojan that infected the handset and sent text messages to premium-rate services without the owner’s knowledge, running up expensive bills.
Fortunately, there are security apps available for Android, from well-known software companies.
IS ANDROID EXCLUSIVELY FOR MOBILE PHONES?
No – it can be used on other devices as well. A number of touchscreen ‘tablet’-style devices, such as the Dell Streak, use Android. Computing giant Acer has also released a netbook running the open-source operating system. However, Google recently said that it needs to optimize Android to take full advantage of larger screens, so Android tablets could soon benefit from an improved operating system.
ISN’T GOOGLE BACKING ANOTHER OPERATING SYSTEM FOR LARGER DEVICES?
Google also has the Chrome OS in its stable, which is aimed at netbooks and will likely be released to the public some time before the end of 2010. Rivals, including Microsoft, have questioned the need for Google to develop both a mobile OS and Chrome OS, and there is some speculation that the two could eventually merge. Google, however, has made no mention of this possibility in its plans for Android or Chrome OS.