Android and You
Is that an Android in your pocket?
I am not sure if anyone else has noticed but cell phones have been booming for the past..... I don't know.... 4 years or so and it seems to have split everyone in half with Apple on one side and Google on the other. Yes the Blackberry, and Palm still hold onto a small share of the market but let's be honest, most people with smart phones in their pocket either have a little apple on the back, or a "with Google" logo also on the back. This has caused another PC vs Apple type of trend throughout the mobile market which has a lot of people confused and not really sure what they want or know what the future holds for them. Hopefully I can help out with that decision but giving you a quick breakdown of each Android and why or why not you may want it. I am not going to do a Android VS IPhone OS because I tried and the hub was too big. Instead i will break down Android and compare and contrast that against the IPhone so that you will have to knowledge to make your on decisions on the beautiful 2 year contract with the crappy data plans.
Check out some of the phones offered
Strut your stuff
Do you use an Android Phone
Android OS phones
I say Android phones because yes Google makes the Android OS but there is not only one Android phone unless you consider it the Nexus One which is no longer available and was just sort of a model that Google cooked up to show what Android could do. Now they have the Nexus S which is Googles new flagship phone to show off its new goodies.This brings me to the first point of Android phones being fragmentation.
Fragmentation between the market of Android phones is one of the largest advantages and disadvantages that the Android OS has to deal with. You are able to get an Android phone on pretty much any major mobile carrier, the only problem with that is that each carrier likes to put its own little software or hardware tweaks on the phone. So yes this is great because there are so many different phones to choose from in each carrier which makes them competitive, it also makes it difficult for Google or Android users to make updates, apps, accessories, etc for Android phones because there always could be something to conflict with what each carrier/manufacturer has put on the phone. I found this to me a major problem during Google's first major update 2.2 (Froyo) because some phones got the update right away, while other phones waited months or longer to receive the latest update causing Google customers to get frustrated. So once again, great for variety, bad when people are left out, we will see what happens soon when the next big update rolls out in the next couple of months.
User interface : The UI on Android phones are basically all the same, they usually differ a little depending on carrier and manufacturer but the core mechanics of it are all the same. I really enjoy the fact that you and wipe everything off the main screen of Anroid phones and still access all your apps through the menu. To get to your apps you can either pin them to the home screens, or hit the app button which brings up a list of all your apps. Each phone usually also has a static phone button to access your phone functions which makes it easy to find in a pinch. To interact with each app you just have to touch them, if you long press them, it usually gives you more options to do with whatever you are trying to do. I find the best way to get to an app not on my main screen is just to hit the search button which is a hardware button usually on each phone, from there you can search for anything and it will bring it up. The UI can be a little difficult if you aren't used to it because it is a little bit more in depth so there are things you can do you may not think of which is also great, but also not if you aren't used to it.
Keep it goin
Deep integration: With the Android OS Google was set on making the phone more personal and wanted apps to work with eachother. They have done a great job of that by allowing apps to talk to eachother and get info from eachother. Let's say you.... take a picture and you want to do something with it. When you open it will bring up every app that is available to interact with it. Meaning you can, email, MMS, edit, inspect with a ton of different scan options, set them to different things. All kinds of options that you may never use, but hey, you might. It also allows them to get data from each other which allows you to do more with what you have and it helps your phone learn you. An example is when you open your contacts you can usually link them with Facebook making it easier to gather their info and make it more personal. Your picture gallery also integrates your Facebook friends albums if you want. This deep integration is great because it can literately go into a ton of apps and offer multiple options giving your phone a more personal advanced feel. It can be a little overwhelming if you aren't used to it and it could take a little bit to get it going smooth but once you get passed it, it really takes your phone to another level.
Apps are becoming the new....hell I don't know, sliced bread, everything has apps, TV, cars, phones, computers, e-readers, stupid little toys, everything it seems. Phone are heavily app based because well apps are the programs that make your phone do stuff. The Android market is growing quickly day by day. They have many good apps and many of them are free. Google makes a ton of great apps which makes sense because it is their OS. The Android market also have a bunch of crap on it. There are of a ton of clone apps, stupid pointless apps, half ass apps, everything. It is cool to see Google allowing most people to publish their own apps with the app creator and easy authorization but they need to find a way to split them up into good apps and crappy apps. I find myself getting frustrated and giving up on all the lame results. The Android market is a great market starting to expand and the openness of it really gives space for innovative development but their downfall is all the crap apps that liter the market. Its like a good rock star, they innovate and make history, but in the end they get drunk and suffocate on their own success.
Openness is one thing Android OS was built upon. Google wanted to allow for business, people, developers, and manufactures to build a phone experience on top of the basic of the Android OS. This allows for Android powered devices to really transform into personal objects of your desire. This allows breaking restrictions and giving people the ability to create whatever they want for Android without having to deal with the restrictions other companies put on their OS. This creates some amazing things but it also creates a lot of mess. Being that it is open, it feels that it is constantly in beta, even with Googles own projects. Things are constantly getting updated, changed, forgotten about, or just half assed. Without structure people just sort of mess with different things and sometimes break a perfectly good experience and leave it feeling broken.
Android 3.0, for tablets but coming to phones as well
I have gone over the good, the bad, and the magical unicorn features of the Android OS and why it matters to you. As you can see Google's Android OS has the ability to really transform into anything anyone wants and I feel like it is capable of really changing the game of mobile conflicts hopefully bringing the user experience better and cheaper, rather than just pissing everyone off. If you are a deep Google user, prefer technical power, and like to tinker, I think Android is great for you.It is like having all the cool features of Google's products in your pocket. If you prefer more simple layouts and don't want to battle confusing decisions of what is what, and don't like as many options maybe stay away. I am an Android user and I love it, but I also keep an IPhone next to the bed to play with at home. Hope it helps.