Is Android a Saviour for Non-Apple Phone Manufacturers?
Shortly after hitting the market back in 2007 the iPhone became the gold standard in mobile devices. A year later the G1 is released and the world gets a taste of Android. Now things started off a bit slower than the iPhone but the G1 was still a major success. The even bigger picture was the fact that the Android platform was open and pretty much any manufacturer could use it.
So we flash forward a couple of years and almost every major mobile phone manufacturer has an Android device on the market. A lot of companies that were on the ropes after the release of the iPhone are once again contenders. Android is allowing manufacturers the opportunity to focus more on quality hardware but does allow them the option to add their own proprietary software elements to a device as well, HTC”s Sense being most notable.
Now don’t get us wrong Android isn’t without it’s flaws. One of the major complaints has been software fragmentation. Android has grown so rapidly it has resulted in some devices being left behind. As of writing this the current build for Android is stuck between 2.1(Eclair) and the emerging 2.2(froyo). There are also a great deal of devices that are still stuck on versions 1.5 and 1.6 of the OS and due to hardware limitations there are no official updates to support them.
In the end Android has gone on to become one of the fastest growing mobile platforms we’ve ever seen. However, sometimes rapid growth can be a gift and a curse. Google has made claims that they’re working on reducing OS fragmentation but this appears to be a slow process. If this issue isn’t resolved soon this could very well result in consumers abandoning the platform, leaving manufacturers to pick up the pieces.