Saturday, October 24, 2009

Invasion of the (open source) body snatchers

It's an Android Invasion and you should be very happy.

It's true that competition makes consumers winners, but to me its a win/lose. You always will have the same golden rule of technology, "after a while everything becomes obsolete." Competition makes technology giants like Sony, Toshiba, & Samsung (to name a very limited few) push out products like their going out of style...and that seems to be the ideal behind it all. They constantly strive for something newer, better, and seemingly more expensive. BUT i think Google's Android OS has found something different to bring to the mobile industry.

The Innovative company "Google" has always seemed to have the priority of driving the industry before even their own self growth. They've done that once again with their introduction of a completely open source code OS. They've given the consumers a gift in some eyes, an ideal that your phone should be modeled in the light that you want it and not something major manufacturers stereotype you as. This model has truly taken off now with the announcement of Android 2.0. The recent (leaked) press release shows the new phone "Droid" made by Motorola (partnered with Google, made for VZW) shows the first android handset running Android 2.0. While the Android SDK has been around for over a year it hasn't really been been taken seriously till now. The newly announced code has been said to bring great increases in UI functionality coupled along with a plethora of features from ground-breaking Social networking integration in contacts to a streamlined menu built upon ease of (mobile) use while at the wheel. Basically Android 2.0 is going to be for lack of better words, the shit.

This is a game changer in many different ways. First it's driving the industry and creating more competition among mobile OS's and phones. So i know your asking yourself, "Wait! Didn't you just complain about competition is a win/lose and everything becomes obsolete?"....why yes i did, so let me tell you how this is different. While there is no way to stop things especially in electronics from becoming obsolete, there is a way to slow it down and turn your phone into something that can gain value over time. This happens through an open source market place. The ability to add applications and future functionality to a phone is in some regards priceless (don't worry the Android developers put a price tag on it). I'll give you a prime example, i myself have a G1 which is the first android phone to come to the US, now while i recieved a great phone when i bought it it has obviously decreased in some ways. BUT in a lot of ways it's a better phone from when i bought it (10 months ago) because i've downloaded applications and increased functionlity. Now my specific example actually roots from a different android handset that was released on the Sprint network (I have T-mobile) named the HTC hero, this phone runs the Android OS but has a UI laid over it by its manufacturer HTC. It is a widget intensive phone and had this clock/weather widget that just looked really slick...i wanted it...badly. I looked on the market place for widget packages and found a developer who had recreated this widget (that was inspired by the HTC hero) that looked EXACTLY like the clock/weather widget i wanted. So i bought it for a mere 99 cents and now i hold in my hands the same feeling i would of felt if i would have chunked $180 bucks and a new contract with sprint, in at least the regard that mattered to me personally. See its the want and seeming need that users see in new updated products pushed out by manufacturers. To cite a Men in Black quote; consumers don't want the "Old and Busted" they want the "New Hotness."

So i know any of you who have experience in reading a newspaper or any type of communication with the outside world knows about Apple and their beloved Iphone. While this is an amazing product they have hindered theirselves in a certian way. Yes they have an absolutely HUGE developer base of over (i think the last count was) 85,000 applications in their app store. BUT they are a single enitity, a company amongst companies, and i believe in time Steve Jobs (Apple's CEO) will realize he chose the wrong fork in the road. See Apple's revolutionary Iphone OS differs from Android in that its a "closed system." Its only available to Apple and companies or developers they see fit. Not only does it hinder the App store (its hard to tell but it does trust me) but it will eventually spell their demise *GASP*. The Iphone along with all of Apple's products, are only made by Apple, while this assures some design and software quality minimums are always met, it makes an eventual losing player in the game of Mobile OS's. It can only be used and distributed by one company, "Apple," this is a lot of pressure to fall on one company and i bet my life on it...its too much. No one company can keep up with the demands of millions of people in the developing mobile industry. It's just too many conflicting opinions of what people want "their" phone to be. While they've captured a large (very large) piece of the theoretical "ideal" phone pie. This model will rest assured fail.

This is what's different about android, its open source and multiple carriers are starting to use it so finally the industry has found something new in Google...a WIN/Win situation. Finally an OS that can be structured from company to company, phone to phone, and more importantly user to user. Android 2.0 is (almost) here... and its ready to change the (mobile) world.

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