How Android will Change Everything (in the mobile phone space)

September 22 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Communication   Year: 2008   Rating: 7 Hot

For all those out there wetting their pants for Google’s new Linux-based phone operating system, Android will be unveiled tomorrow to much hoopla. And while delay after delay has done some damage to the egos of salivating Googlephiles, anticipation is still high.

The reason?

For one thing, nobody likes a monopoly. The iPhone has become the standard when it comes to hip smart phones which for some reeks of domination. The hope is that the Android mobile phone operating system will do some damage to take down the iPhone juggernaut. Although many expect there to be an assortment of bugs since it’s the first release (as well as having choppy graphics), it’s still an attractive alternative for users who don’t want an iPhone or are sick of Windows Mobile (or anything Microsoft).

Secondly, the operating system is based on Linux. Many PC users have been switching to Linux due to problems with the Vista OS. Linux has it’s own culture about it that’s more dedicated than Apple users. They’re fiercely proud of it, it’s free, and anyone can alter it. The idea of a Linux-based mobile phone operating system will be irresistible to any Linux fan.

In keeping with the Linux spirit, all applications for Android will be free of charge for it’s debut. “Whereas many Apple apps cost money (typically anywhere from $.99 to $9.99), at launch all Android Market apps will be free.” So despite that these might be offset by advertising in the applications, free sounds a lot better than not free (and in truth, Google ads are never too intrusive to the user to begin with). Google apps may be enough to cause users to switch from iPhone.

What will this mean for the future of mobile phones? Android will increase competition on the global market. With Google offering developers free access to developing their own Android app, Apple will likely follow suit if they want to stay competitive. On top of that, prices of phones will most likely drop in an effort to railroad users onto one platform or the other (much like Windows or Mac users are reluctant to switch their OS). Free applications will also hurt the iPhone and their share of the market.

Android promises to change the face of the mobile phone world. It may not be instant (heck, Linux has been around for over a decade and it only took off in the last five) but at least the groundwork is there. Google hopes to imitate what they did with web-based applications such as Google Docs and Calendar in getting users to switch to their software.

iPhone may be facing the truth of the global market soon and if they fail to adapt they just might find themselves losing ground in the mobile world.

How about you? Are you an iPhoner or are you holding out for Android?

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Comment Thread (5 Responses)

  1. In the words of Amistad: “Give us free!”

    Free 3G mobile phone apps based on Linux that is.

    Posted by: Alvis Brigis   September 22, 2008
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  2. I’m excited about Android. It’s about time. But globally the iPhone already faces a good deal more competition than it does in the states. I think we will see several more smartphones being released on the next year or so and in a few years pretty much everyone ( at least in the industrial world will have one) but there may be many different platforms and kinds. The app makers will adapt quickly, though I think there will be a strong push towards a form of standardization if everything doesn’t become open source fairly soon, which it very well might.

    Posted by: Mielle Sullivan   September 23, 2008
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  3. Android will be a big accelerator for mobile computing. As if Apple needed any more incentive to move quickly.

    Who benefits? We do!

    Posted by: Marisa Vitols   September 24, 2008
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  4. Vista never appealed to me, which is why I limit my time on my parents computer and use their my mac or windows xp. So while I’m excited for the google release, it’s still a daunting task to take on an unfamiliar software. But the new apps are definitely a draw in.

    Posted by: christinep   October 20, 2008
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  5. Just wanted to throw my two cents in. I actually just picked up a G1, unlocked it, and have been using it for a couple weeks now on AT&T. Coming from the iPhone 3G, it’s definitely different, but not usually in a bad way.

    First off, using it is a blast. I haven’t stopped playing with it since I got it (just ask my fiancee!). Various people claim that the apps are not up to snuff, that they’re not as polished, not as useful, etc, etc. Several app makers for iPhone have already released Android versions, such as Shazam, Bank of America and the Weather Channel. These apps are just as reliable and nice-looking as their iPhone counterparts and work just as well.

    The other exciting thing about Android is thinking of what’s to come. With no heavy-handed governing body of app-approvers (read: Apple execs), possibilities are almost limitless. Many complain that there will be anarchy due to this lack of restriction. However, Google counteracts this by giving users the ability to submit complaints about inappropriate or dangerous app behavior.

    As for downsides…the G1 definitely has its physical flaws. The keyboard is nice to use, but for me, the “chin” of the phone definitely gets in the way of my right thumb, making it awkward to type on. I’m still trying to figure out the ideal method to hold the phone while typing. Another negative is that even though the phone has an accelerometer, it does not automatically rotate by turning the phone (like the iphone does). Instead, you only get landscape mode when you kick out the screen to reveal the keyboard. This is fairly annoying if all you’re doing is browsing the web. Also, the phone creaks. A lot. This takes some getting used to for sure. Also, not sure if it’s just me, but the physical buttons at the bottom of the phone can be difficult to depress at times.

    All in all, I definitely feel that it gives the iPhone a run for its money. Physically it is not nearly as sexy, but once you start using Android, you (mostly) forget all about the hardware and start focusing on all the fun apps there are. Not only will Android continue to get better, but the hardware will also continue to get better and better. With the iPhone, you have one choice in your device, but who knows how many we’ll have with Android in the future?

    Posted by: Marc Cobb   December 17, 2008
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