There was a time in the not so distant past when Android operating systems cornered three quarters of the market in smart phones. This was particularly inviting to developers and consumers because the Android platform had only been around for a couple years. The technology was new and unique so people would accept the fact that apps might crash every other time they were opened or calls would get dropped, after all technology isn’t supposed to be perfect in it’s initial stages is it? Well, that was in 2008 and some people have those same complaints to this very day about system instabilities and other Android issues. What once looked like a bright future of Android is now looking bleaker by the month. Add to the fact that Apple and Microsoft seem to be fine-tuning their smart phones and many faithful Android users are actually considering jumping ship.
What Is Android
To understand the future (or lack thereof) of Android Smartphones, it’s important to know just what Android is. Android is an operating system that was financially backed by Google for initial release in 2007. It utilizes touchscreen tactics to help users navigate through the system, making calls, playing games, viewing pictures and more. A positive aspect of Android is the fact that it’s source code is open, enabling amateur developers to create applications to further enhance the functionality and customization of people’s phones.
“The Android technology allowed almost all carriers to offer a smart phone.” image credit
The open-source code has enabled thousands of developers to create almost a million Android Apps to work on Android. Users can download workout guides, games, social networking apps, fake mustache applications and almost any other thing creative (and borderline insane) people can come up with.
Unfortunately, the openly available source code of Android could be it’s biggest asset and its hugest liability in regards to customer service. Basically dozens of different carriers will take the Android concept, then have their programmers alter the code to reflect a personalized experience for their device. When a company alters the code, it’s up to them release timely updates and to fix bugs. Then when Google releases a new version of Android, the trickle-down effect of having to update the system for literally hundreds of different phones can leave wireless customers in the dark.
Why The Delay In Updatting Android Code
There’s really only one device that runs the true Android code directly as it’s distributed and that’s the Nexus. When a cell phone carrier installs a certain Android programming language on their phone, they’re inclined to provide updates to that system (in a timely basis you’d hope.) That being said, when Google introduces a new update to the Android, cell phone carriers can either retroactively install the new system on your device…or offer it on their new phones, with a convenient 2-year contract extension. If a consumer wants the latest features and apps, they’ll have to suck it up and buy a new phone and sign over their life for another couple years.
“Sorry my provider doesn’t yet accept incoming…or outgoing…or any ‘calls’ on their Android devices.” image source
Understanding The Android Code And Updates
To look at a history of the Android code and its programming names will truly make a person hungry. Starting with the aptly named Donut in 2009, the Android operating systems haven’t been without holes. The Gingerbread operating system thought it found a home in 2010, with almost 45% of devices running the latest updated Android. Consumers waffled a little bit at the Honeycomb release but it also gained popularity by being integrated into the meteoric rise of tablets in 2009. The Ice Cream Sandwich code release is widely believed to be the most advanced and complete version of Android to this point, being unveiled in late 2011. Following that was the Jelly Bean which was the main code of 2012 while developers continued to work on the Key Lime Pie Operating system, due out sometime in 2013.
There is really no plan in place to dictate which operating systems a device runs on. If a person has 5 Android tech gadgets in their home, they could legitimately be running on 5 different programming codes.
Questions About The Future Of The Android System
When people worry about the future of the Android, many of the frustrations have common denominators. Unfortunately, the things that make Android so popular, the open-code, the ability to personalize it for different devices, the variety of apps, etc. are the things that make it so hard to conform. Could Google make more money by just releasing their own mobile phone? As of now, the company doesn’t seem interested in taking on that side of the business and would rather just develop the software and let the various phone manufacturers decide how they want to distribute it.
Could the iPhone and Windows Phone Kill Off Android?
Shortly before the iPhone fine-tuned it’s operating system, the Android was king of the smart phone market. Now, the popularity of the iPhone and the reinventing of the Windows phone has pushed the Android system to the virtual third teir. Some people like to have all their devices integrated and don’t like switching between operating systems which could bode well for Apple in a house with a Mac Computer, iPods, and an iPad as well as an iPhone. The same goes for those people who are Microsoft Loyal and have an Xbox, Windows PC, and thus a Windows phone in their homes.
Android should stave off extinction just for the mere fact that it’s price is considerably lower than a Windows or iPhone and there will always be competition in the cell-phone market. As more carriers ditch the Zack Morris default cell-phones of yesteryear and offer only smart phones, Android could once again find itself on the top of the mountain so get your territory ready for … “Cell Phone Games”