Sunday, May 23, 2010

What is Google Android?

Google Android is most popularly known as an operating system for phones and upcoming tablet devices aimed to compete with mobile products like the iPhone and iPad. It has gained a lot of hype in an Apple and oranges comparison, with the oranges being Google.

But unlike Apple's mobile OS, Android is growing fast due to its open source nature which allows it to be used in multiple ways beyond just phones and tablet computers. Cars , televisions, washing machines... anything with a mere whisper of electricity running through it means Android is a likely being considered as an addition.

When Apple grabbed the headlines in 2007 and heralded in a new era of mobile devices just as personal as the PC, Google was already quietly laying its groundwork. Google purchased Android Inc in 2005, and in 2007 it announced the Open Handset Alliance with the goal of providing open standards for mobile devices.

Android itself is based on the Linux kernel, used most popularly as a server powering web pages and distributing data without the media sex appeal of a personal computer. Its technical strength did not attract mainstream consumers, which required a user to have above average IT skills. In addition, Linux could not challenge an operating system like Windows on the desktop with its deep roots in the industry which provided the developer framework and corporate ties to produce mainstream products like Adobe's Creative Suite or video games.

The emergences of mobile markets has opened up the industry to new platforms and the ability of these platforms are feeding consumer demand. Google and its Android partners has transformed the complex user experience of Linux into something slick and intuitive. Personal computing is no longer the domain of the desktop and Google now has a powerful outlet to provide its cloud applications and strengthen its advertising presence as it solidifies market presence.

Google's Android partners also have the advantage. Android can be customized, like Motorola's Blur on AT&T's Backflip, and create a brandable user experience still compatible inside the Android ecosystem. This customization is not just for phones. A company called Touch Revolution is already adding Android to washing machines and microwaves, complete with touch screens and the ability to play apps like Pandora while cooking a pizza. Car companies, like China's luxury Roewe, are adding the operating system and taking advantage of Google Maps, Navigation, and the ability to browse the web on the go.

Google Android has upped the stakes by supporting an open operating system attractive to manufactures at all levels of industry. For now the big headlines still surround mobile phones and tablets with an Android vs iPhone interest. However, as Google Android becomes more enmeshed and manufactures add it to their products, Android stands a good chance of becoming the most dominate operating system in this new era of personal computing.

Originally Posted on Helium

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