Friday, October 30

Brace Yourself: The Androids are Coming

The Android mobile operating system has been around for only a few years, but is quickly turning into a real powerhouse in the mobile phone market. It was initially developed by Google and later the Open Handset Alliance. Based on open source software, the progression of Android into the tough mobile phone market has been greatly aided by challenging developers to create innovative and exciting Android Applications.

With the Android concept only coming into existence in Nov 2007, the mobile world saw the first ever Android powered mobile phone, the T-mobile G1 (dubbed the 'Google Phone'), at the end of Oct 2008. The G1 was an unprecedented device. Backed by the pedestal that the giant, Google, is and with it all the ensuing rich Google technology it possess, Android was ready to challenge the competitors. Breaking into any market is not easy but plunging into the mobile phone market where other companies have been established for years is no easy task. The G1, however, were primed with everything they could ask for to compete with the likes of Nokia, Sony Ericson and the protagonist: Apple. And that is infact the market the G1 belonged in, the smart phone market (what is a smart phone), and the success of Apple iPhone was it hoped to emulate. Packed with the ability "to you touch, tap, swipe and scroll your way through all the coolest applications" it had a tough task ahead.

The G1 phone perhaps did not live up to the name of the 'iPhone killer'. A big let-down was undoubtedly attributed to there being limited Apps for the G1 compared to Apple's huge Apps store and also it’s synthetic chunky build. The iPhone also outperformed the G1 when it came down to media playback and build quality. A valiant try nonentheless.

Since G1's introduction Apple have released a 3Gs version of the iPhone. Whilst Android has, quite remarkedly, exploded onto the scene, with succesive release since the same milestone. The plethora of Android handsets released in a short time span showed successive improvements. The the open source nature of the OS a big contributing factor to this.

There have been eight Android handsets on the market since the arrival of the technology two years ago. A staggering further 10 handsets have been announced/rumoured for the next quarter. This can only emphasise the intention of Android and the phone manufacturers willing to adopt the technology. It's also a sign of rising popularity and perhaps the prospect of finally producing a mobile handset that will become crowned as the 'iPhone killer'. HTC is at the forefront of Android phones having released the first ever Android device (T-mobile G1) it has continued with successful smart phone devices accumulating in the most recent one: HTC Hero.

HTC Hero

Following it's Europe release in July 2009 the handset has made great in-roads, grabbing the Phone of the Year and the Gadget of the Year acolade at the T3 Gadget Awards. Coming as a surprise to some, the HTC Hero has for a good while been compared to iPhone's repertoire, and whilst for many, would seem to be equal to the iPhone's brilliance others would say that the Hero surpasses the iPhone in every area. The Hero owes it's success to the new Sense technology, which is something that can’t wholly be described in words. It needs to be observed:

Android marches on to stamp it's newly found authority with the highly awaited, and elusive, Motorola Droid phone. Motorola has been responsible for releasing adverts specifically promoting a mobile device that not only is rich in features but also makes up for the iPhone’s shortfalls.

Moto Droid

High-speed Web browsing, voice-activated search, customizable large screen, access to thousands of Android applications and hundreds of widgets are just a small selection of the selling points of the Droid. A sturdy handset and despite it being thin Motorola have managed to fit a QWERTY slide keyboard to accompany the touch keyboard. The Droid makes it the first handset to be preloaded with Android 2.0 technology and delivers a quicker and slicker feel to the OS than previous Android versions. This notable feature is matched by a 5MP camera with dual LED flash; something the iPhone lacks. The signs are clear that this phone was built with the iPhone in mind: to match it and surpass it in every section.

Droid Fact Sheet and Specifications

The ball is now in Apple’s court. If they wish to maintain their dominance in the smart phone industry they will undoubtedly have to produce something that can be said to be an ‘Android killer’; for that appears to be the new benchmark. Apple cannot surely rest on their laurels with their achievements thus far and their vast array of iPhone applications. Android technology is always evolving, it’s open source technology has given it a head-start over Apple’s.

Will iPhone’s longstanding reputation save it or will the exciting offerings of Android technology swoon users over to the new ‘iPhone’? Only time will tell.


carrotmadman6 said...

I believe Android will become pervasive - the do-it-all mobile OS.

But so far none of the devices have impressed me (most of them lacked in the camera department).

Yashvin said...

My Nokia N73 is frequently getting the "Insert SIM" syndrome since a few days.

I am thinking to buy a HTC (haven't decided on the model yet) but despite the good things on Android, I think I will go for a Windows Mobile device.
Why? simply because I develop Windows Mobile applications at work.

I have a few questions, can somebody please help? I am a bit lazy to google right now :P
1. Does there exist a model which I can format and install either Android or WM?
2. Is there some dual booting mode?

This would really help me since I would be able to change the platform if ever I am in another development team.

Sorry for the stupid questions :P

Yadhav Deerpaul said...

The Droid mobile phone seems interesting. But, I don't why I still feel that iPhone OS and Symbian are much more stable :)

nav said...

The new Moto Droid does have a 5Mp camera with dual led flash. I think the fact that it has a flash will make it a much better camera phone than the iphone,especially in low light conditions

I would recommend the HTC HD2
I like the 4.3 in touchscreen and the 1GHz Snapdragon processor. It seems like a perfect phone, and if it wasn't for the fact that you work on Win Mobile applications i would tell you to wait until an Android version is out. There seems to be rumours of the same phone running on Android(HTC Dragon), so fingers crossed that it will be made into reality soon!

I'm not sure if you can install Android and WM on any mobile. It might be possible to do it on a smart phone though. I would assume it would involve completely wiping out the firmware. Sounds risky if you don't know what you're doing (not for the likes of me!)I think there's an Android Developer's forum out there somewhere on the net where you might get an answer

@Yadhav Deerpaul
haha..i don't think i will ever convince you that the Hero is better than the iPhone :D

On a different note. It's taken Android two years to get what it's achieved so far. In 12 months time we could be looking at something completely unseen in the mobile world. Android is moving boundaries :)

carrotmadman6 said...

Contact @fadilfr
He runs both Android & WM on his HTC.

P.T said...

I had the G1 but I sold it! For an iPhone. I so regret doing that. Now I've switched to Blackberry Bold. My next purchase would be an HTC Touch. Loved the G1...still does. I would buy one if I can...right now! :(

nav said...

You sold the G1 for an iPhone? niiice
Would have thought the iPhone was worth a lot more than the G1.

oh well. hows the Blackberry?

I've heard the HTC Touch is a nice phone

Aniisah said...

hello! My first visit to your blog too. Very high tech around here! nice nice.. :P

and yeah, sony ericsson walkman phones rock! :P

nav said...

Hi Aniisaah! Thanks for dropping by :D
You'll find all sorts on my blog! I like to keep it varied :)

Sony Ericsson phones are good, they always seems to have amazing quality cameras!

P.T said...

Well I sold the G1 and then bought an iPhone. LOL. Blackberry is ight but I want an HTC. Been on hubby's case to get me one..