What to Expect From Android

Featured Opinion What to Expect From Android

A lot of the hype around Android comes from developers and their geeky community. The main reason for this is because they “get it”. They understand just how groundbreaking an open-source operating system is, especially for mobile devices. But what about the average guy with no idea what Android is or how it could benefit them? That’s where I come in. I’m here to help you, the typical AndroidGuys visitor, gain an understanding as to what Android truly is and how it will change your life.

Forecasting the Future Using History
The easiest way for me to illustrate my points is by comparing how Firefox changed your internet experience with how Android will change your mobile experience.

Remember a few years ago when Mozilla was a relatively unknown, untested company who dropped an alternative web browser on us? Do you recall how at the time, pretty much everyone using the internet was using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer? We had been told time and again that it was the best experience we could get from a browser. But was it? We soon found out that not only was Firefox capable of a better experience, but it was also more secure, lighter, and more scalable. The long and short of it was this: It took less to run and held more promise for updates and implementing features. This is the exact situation Android is in right now. The requirements needed to handle Android are minimal by today’s device standards, but the long-term capability is considerably more far-reaching.

Think about all of the add-ons available for you today. With over 2,000 to choose from, you could download and install features to enhance rss feeds, weather, chat, tracking stocks, sports, etc. Need something to organize your bookmarks more efficiently? You got it. How about a better way to manage your downloads and/or uploads? Go get it. For free.

So Tell Me What it Does Already!
The same thing will apply for Android. Even if you solely base Android around GPS and mapping capabilities, you’re in for some real treats. Wonder what restaurants nearby serve sushi? Pull out your phone and look! Not only will you find the restaurants along with their address and phone number, but you’ll also be able to see who is actually open and who is closed. Using the map, you can get turn by turn directions.

Why not install a utility to locate all of the Fifth Third banks around the world so you’ll always know where the nearest ATM is? If you have a fantasy baseball team, plug your players into the tracking program so you can see how well they are performing. We’re talking about real time stats pushed to your device, not pulled. Forget logging on to see how LeBron and the Cavs are doing. Just watch the scrolling ESPN ticker you installed at the bottom of your phone.

Like Firefox, you’ll also be able to dress your phone up in any way you want. Instead of looking at the address book that comes with it, perhaps you want to use the most recent pictures from your MySpace friends. How about a nice weather program or traffic utility that gives you an idea as to how early to leave for work today? You can bet that someone out there is already working on this.

It Will Take Time
Now, it may take a few years before the true Android experience hits its stride. Firefox did not turn into the preferred browser overnight. And even though Mozilla’s program doesn’t have the same market share as the blue ‘e’ next door, everyone knows it’s a better interface. Why is it? because it’s open-source, that’s why. I’ve always been of the opinion that the hive mind is the way to go when working on projects. It’s what drives the web 2.0 phenomenon we’re in the midst of. Run through some of the most popular web sites today and you’ll see the impact. Digg, Wikipedia, Flickr, etc. These are programs and utilities that work best when you have as many hands in the pot as you can.

Who has their hands in the Android pot? On the hardware side, you have names like Intel, Texas Instruments, and nVidia. These guys are helping shape the cutting edge phones due out from HTC, LG and Samsung. And who is going to provide access to these devices? Why, T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel, China Mobile, and NTT DoCoMo of course! What, you haven’t heard of the Open Handset Alliance?