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Is Android dead?

Every great technological step forward needs a rivalry from VHS and Betamax to the Amiga and Atari ST the techworld works well with double acts and if you take almost any successful tech item out there, there is always another one just behind it doing it slightly different.

This may be because there is a hipster in all of us, and as soon as something becomes mainstream we don’t necessarily want to follow it, or because we just like to argue about tech and gadgets..

When the iPhone was released by Apple it truly changed the smartphone market, the stylus was gone, the interface was sharp, the screen was huge and eventually the introduction of the app store. The iPhone has been a complete success. However every great product needs competition and Google came along with the Android.

Getting off to a rocky start, the G1 wasn’t the greatest of phones, underpowered, still clinging on to the idea that a keyboard was needed on a smartphone. And actual real keyboard and being slightly buggy as an implementation of Android it was however a start.

The OS wobbled a bit at first, until release 2.2 and two phones the HTC Desire and the Samsung Galaxy S which basically took what the iPhone was doing, replicated the idea and with finally a stable less buggy Android implementation the world got a viable iPhone alternative.

So why the title of the post you might as?

As with all the great rivalries a winner needs to prevail, and the winner will usually be the device with the biggest backing and fewest problems.

And Android has not been without its issues, currently in court with Oracle over the alleged mis use of the mobile version of Java, fragmented updates with 4.x being the latest version yet 2.3 being the most used version of the OS on phones as the mobile companies slowly roll out updates where they can to 4.0. A dearth of low cost under powered phones hitting the market providing far less of the feature rich experience than is intended with this OS but banking on the Android Powered logo to sell to a less than enthusiastic public. Software not working on all phones and then we have the Tablets..

Android 3 was a waste of space, most Android 3 tablets can’t be upgraded to 4 or if they can, ar not being updated by the vendors for various reasons, when they are updated to the 4 version like the Asus Transformer it is as buggy as heck with Wifi issues. The tablets are highly expensive on a lot of occasions far more expensive than the competition (the iPad) and not being subsidised by the mobile carriers who right now in the UK at least are mostly offering 2year old tablets on 2 year contracts thus by the end of a contract you will have a 4 year old tablet which at the current rate won’t update to Android 5 and software won’t work properly. And again there is the hardware.. I’ve used several android Tablets and find them all laggy and under powered compared to the iPad 2/3..

So we have an OS which is getting a lot of press, some good some bad however being implemented on slow underpowered devices. Which hasn’t figured out the screen size and proportions on its tablets and has a huge fragmented os base spreading back from 2.1 to 4…

I feel this isn’t good for the OS and google because yes while there are bags of cash to be made in the consumer world to really succeed it needs to get into the enterprise.

With the whole Bring your own device to work push which is gaining traction, what is interesting is it is the iPhone and the iPad which is gaining traction here. IT departments fear words like, unstable, poor upgrade path and especially the word MALWARE and this is a big no no, you don’t want a device no matter how locked down which has malware on it anywhere near your companies LAN and data… With poor upgrade paths it may not matter than Android is better at side loading apps and developing for.. IOS for its sins is seen as less risky more sandboxed and despite the lockdowns imposed by apple may be the reason why Apple in the long run succeeds in the enterprise.

Google need to act fast after the Oracle outcome to reposition Android in the market place, some have suggested they release the OS as Open source in the conventional way, take whey they have learnt and implement that into ChromeOS and use that on the Tablets.. Other suggestions are abound what i do believe however is if Android is to be with us in 2 or 3 years time it needs to fix the fragmentation, set some size restrictions, define the hardware needed and provide a clearer upgrade path. Also sort out the Google Play store and eradicate that malware perception issue.

Otherwise…

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This entry was posted on May 23, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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