Android is a Linux-based operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. It was developed by the Open Handset Alliance primarily led by Google. It has been one of the better competitors to the
established mobile phone Operating Systems (OS) like the Apple-iOS, Nokia’s Symbian and Windows mobile OS. Google
purchased the initial developer of the software, Android Inc., in 2006. The unveiling of the Android distribution in 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 86 hardware, software and telecommunication companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google releases the Android code as open-source, under the Apache License. Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android.
Symbian being one of the oldest platforms of mobile Operating Systems has not been doing well in recent times in comparison to Android which has taken the mobile telephony market by storm. Unlike Symbian, Apple’s iOS or Windows mobile OS, Google’s Android comes with the power of customisation which takes customisation to a whole new frontier where the user can change the variables easily with the help of many additional components which are available on the Android marketplace or can be downloaded from different search engines for free.
If the different browser experiences are compared, Android has got a definite edge over the other Operating Systems as the other browsers are very complex with built-in algorithms which leads to slower internet experience. The Android browser also offers visual bookmarks, which is handy to get a peek at each webpage, and those are also updated when they are opened. The main reason of the browser being fast is because the default browser which Android uses is Google Chrome.
While most of the Symbian phones except for Nokia C7, Nokia N8 and Nokia E7 smartphones do not come with multiple home screen capabilities, all the Android phones comes with this capability. All in all, irrespective of any Android version, the benefit of multiple home screens can be enjoyed which is utilised for adding multiple widgets.
With a huge list of applications in the Android marketplace the users get a perfect blend of choice and quantity as they can choose their favorite applications based on their requirements. Adding to the convenience, any application can be installed right at the comfort of desktop or also from the Android marketplace. Any application can be installed very easily, and it can also receive updates whenever possible, automatically as the updates are pushed directly to the phone. Moreover, the basic Symbian firmware can never be changed while Android firmware is completely customisable according to the users’ needs. With lot of options in the on-screen virtual keyboards, one can very easily choose between Gingerbread, Froyo, Swype or Honeycomb. While the Symbian phones do not have any customisation options like installing different on-screen keyboards like Swype, etc.
In India too, Android has taken over Symbian platform to become the top smartphone OS as stated by IDC’s India Mobile Phone Tracker Report. The report also added that Android represented 42.4 per cent of the smartphone market in the last quarter of the previous year and saw a growth of 90 per cent over the previous quarter of 2011. According to this report Android has gained a significant share in the country; however, it needs to be kept in mind that it is only significant number for the smartphone market, not for the total mobile market in India, as smartphones hold only 7 per cent of the volume shipments. In total, Indian mobile market grew 12 per cent in terms of unit shipments in the last quarter of the previous year to reach 47.7 million units. Nokia still leads total mobile as well as smartphone market in the country followed by Samsung in both. Samsung was able to increase the smartphone shipments by 5 per cent and we think Galaxy S II launch did help a lot in this.
By providing an open development platform, Android offers developers the ability to buildextremely rich and innovative applications. Developers are free to take advantage of the device hardware, access location information, run background service, add notifications to the status bar and much more. Developers have full access to the same ramework APIs used by the core applications. The application architecture is designed to simplify the reuse of components; any application can publish its capabilities and any other application may then make use of those capabilities (subject to security constraints enforced by the framework). This same mechanism allows components to be
replaced by the user.
Simply, Android is an Operating System created by Google to run on any small electronic devices such as cell phones, e-books, Media Internet Devices (MID), net books, Internet tablets, and many others devices in the future. An OS is similar to Windows that controls your desktop or laptop personal computers. Google fully developed Android and make it into an Open Source. Now, any phone manufacturer can use Android without expensive license fee from Google. Because it is Open, manufacturer can modify Android without restriction, allowing it to fit the device they are making total freedom. This makes it a big incentive for any device manufacturer to adopt Android. The ability to run tens of thousands of apps is another big incentive.