By Joe Levi | May 8, 2012 1:45 PM
Before we dive too deep (after all, love is such a strong word) people like Android.
About 51% of smartphone users are running Android on their device. By February 2012 there were over 300 million Android phones (not including tablets) in the hands of consumers, with an additional 850,000 phones and tablets being activated every day.
Obviously Android is doing something right.
But that’s just people who like Android. Some of them may not even know they’re running Android, but it gets the job done and they’re not at all worried about the nuts and bolts of what make their gadgets tick.
Why do people love Android?
Apps are the life-blood of any platform. Even the best operating system won’t gain traction if there aren’t any programs that run on it. Remember BeOS? Yeah, neither does anyone else.
Back in 1991, Be Inc. began development on a revolutionary new operating system — written entirely from scratch and optimized for digital media work and designed to take advantage of modern hardware. Part of the problem with an entirely new OS is that it must compete with others that have already “matured” and have a lot of apps written for them.
“Back in the day” Windows Mobile was essentially the only player in the smartphone arena, but it had stagnated. Apple took advantage of the fact and released their iPhone. They’d already gotten their feet wet with the iPod Touch, and iPods before it. They got a quick boost thanks to iTunes — iOS’s “killer app”.
Windows Mobile was mired in “backwards compatibility”. They couldn’t overhaul their OS without losing all the apps that had been written for all the prior generations of Windows Mobile (Pocket PC, Palm Sized PC, Handheld PC, and Windows CE). Since Microsoft was geared so tightly to the enterprise, rather than consumers, fear of upsetting their core customers prevented them making radical changes to the platform. So they sat and watched their competitors grow. (Eventually they deployed Windows Phone 7, losing all the Windows Mobile apps in the process, but by then they were already very far behind.)
Android was uniquely situated. They had a solid foundation upon which to build and a handful of hardware manufacturers that wanted to make new phones. Apple’s iPhone was closed. Manufacturers couldn’t run iOS on their hardware, and Apple was building their own — there was a vacuum aching to be filled.
Thanks to Android, manufacturers were able not only to build phones that would compete with Apple, but they could do it without having to create their own OS (like Nokia was trying), and they could all benefit from one shared environment and apps that would run on any phone — regardless of who made it.
People have preferences. For example, I may not like Samsung, but love HTC (I actually like them both). Luckily, they each make handsets powered by Android. If I don’t like one, I can choose another made by any one of several manufactures.
When the iPhone was released it was available exclusively on one carrier. Android’s ran on every single carrier in the world, or so it seemed. Users didn’t have to change their carrier if they wanted an Android like those who wanted an iPhone did.
Not every consumer wants the same thing. I know, that goes against the Gospel of Apple, but it’s true (no offense intended to our friends who use Apple products). An iPhone is a “one-size-fits-all” solution where you can pick from essentially one phone or one tablet — and until recently, essentially one carrier.
Android-powered phones and tablets can be found on virtually every carrier and come in all shapes, sizes, specifications, and capabilities. You want a pink phone? No problem you can get a pink phone. Want an inexpensive phone for the kids? No problem there’s an Android for that. How about a super-high-end phone or you? There’s and Android for you, too! Need a physical keyboard? Android’s got you covered! Prefer a 720p HS screen? Yup, there’s and Android for that, too!
Lastly, there’s freedom. Android is open-source, which means developers can essentially do whatever they want with it. OEMs can customize it to their hearts content. Android isn’t just limited to phones. It runs on tablets, TVs, and even wrist-watches. You can run it wherever you want! Since it’s all tied together through your Google account, all the apps that you run on one platform are likely available on all the others, without you having to re-purchase them.
Though end-users may not take direct advantage of the open nature of Android, they reap the rewards of the OEMs and developers who do.
Yes, love is a strong word, no doubt about that. But it goes without saying that people not only love their own personal Androids, they love Android in general because it gives them the freedom, flexibility, variety, and power they need now, and that they’ll want tomorrow.
Source: Andy Rubin