My husband has been talking about his Android phone incessantly for awhile. I have been perfectly content to ignore his chatter and type away on my beloved BlackBerry like so many others in Qatar (currently almost 23% of smartphone users in Qatar have a BlackBerry). Although, lately, I have been reading more and more about Android and how it offers greater choice and variety. Is it time to jump on the Android bandwagon?
Tempted by alternatives to Apple and Windows environments, I was surprised to learn that only 1% of the market in Qatar uses Google’s Android. Given how dynamic Qatar’s mobile market has been, with the leading player’s, Symbian, numbers shrinking by more than 12% compared to the last year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a change in the playing field by this winter. So, what is it about Android that more than 100 million people elsewhere like so much?
It’s only been three years since Google introduced Android, a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications, but its growth has been phenomenal. Google boasts more than 400,000 Android activations daily and, according to Gartner, that’s almost 50% of the total global market share – a force to be reckoned with! With all the advantages that Android has to offer, including an open source environment, uncensored apps market, and a choice of phone manufacturers, no wonder people love it. To put it simply, Android gives consumers choice.
Google’s recent I/O developer conference in San Francisco buzzed with truly contagious enthusiasm. You can catch the keynotes and the developer sessions and get all of the great info straight from the Google guys. I really enjoyed watching the Day 1 keynote peppered with exciting announcement.
The biggest recent news is the introduction of the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system scheduled for release later this year. According to Mike Claron, Google’s Principal Engineer spearheading the effort, the Ice Cream Sandwich OS will give consumers even more choice. The OS will run everywhere, merging phone and tablet operating systems, and support a wide range of devices, covering tablets of different shapes and sizes, and phones of every kind. If you’ve seen Google’s tablet that runs on Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich’s sweet predecessor, you must have admired its resizable widgets, holographic UI and ability to run multiple apps at the same time. The Ice Cream Sandwich will have all that functionality available on your smartphone and more. But, at the end, the significance of this new OS stays in giving the developers even more tools to produce high quality, killer apps, growing its existing base of 200,000 and likely surpassing Apple’s six digit app store inventory in the near future.
So here I am, preparing to be an early adopter for probably the first time in my life. I’ve been contaminated by the contagious enthusiasm of the Android worldwide community and the idea of an OS that would rapidly evolve because of its open source nature. Despite being a temporary minority in Qatar’s phone market, I plan to get my hands on a good Android phone soon.