Amit Sharma

Android is the future for mobile communication but still a long way to go

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Mobile computing has changed the way we are doing business or interacting with others. I still remember those early days of childhood when we used to watch our favourite serial, Star Trek where we first saw the first use of mobile devices to communicate with others. Those days, every one of us used to make their own mobiles by using match boxes. I bought my first mobile (Siemens S10) in late 90s which was very large and heavy. Then, came the time when everything has changed from large size to small screen and sleek phones. In recent times, visionaries like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates etc. changed the mobile communication entirely. But again, devices with large sizes are in trends. People are using these devices not only to make calls or to send text messages but these devices can be used for sending emails, connecting with enterprise network, social networking, book reading, playing games etc..

Nobody imagined that, they’ll start using mobile devices as an alternative for desktops/laptops. Now a days, these devices comes with handful of features where you can track locations (GPS), play music and videos, touch screen,  PDF readers, you name it you get it.

With this growing mobile market, lots of players are entering into the market. Once, Nokia was the leader in mobile manufacturing (even called as largest manufacturer of cameras due to in-built cameras in their phones) but now after the Android was introduced in year 2007, Nokia’s market share will keep on falling.

Android (meaning: a robot that looks like a human, origin: Late Greek androeidēs ) OS for mobile devices was designed and developed by Android, Inc.(founded by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears and Chris White) and later funded and bought by Google in year 2005. Google teamed 34 Technology companies (including HTC, Sony, Dell Texas Instrument, Samsung, LG Electronics and, NVidia etc.) to make an association called OHA (Open Handset Alliance) for developing open standards for mobile devices. Now, this OHA has grown from 34 companies to 84 companies. OHA unveiled Android, an open source mobile phone platform based on the Linux kernel and its first SDK was released on 12 November 2007. First, Android based mobile (HTC Dream) was became available on 22 October 2008.

Recently (on 6 January 2014), Google has announced a new partnership called Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) with automotive and technology leaders like Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and, NVidia. With this alliance Android will be used in automobiles. You just need to bring your Android-based phone to the car and connect it to your automobile to safely and securely use your favourite applications or music. This consortium also working towards making applications for automobile security features.

According to research firm IDC’s latest numbers, 187.4 million Android-powered phones shipped in the most recent quarter, representing 79.3 percent of all smart phones shipped during the quarter. The next closest Smartphone platform was Apple iOS accounting for 13.2 percent of overall share.

The official term used to describe codenames is “Tasty Treats”. This process started post Version 1.0 and 1.1. Android has gone through various development versions. The latest version of Android is Kit-Kat (4.4), internally known as Project Svelte, released on 3 September 2013.

Being the open platform, Android is never the first choice for IT Managers. They generally prefer to work on closed platform due to most certain security reasons. In a survey conducted by Gartner found that 58% of enterprises have made or plan to make Apple’s iOS their primary mobile platform in the next year. In comparison, 20% of enterprises will standardize on RIM’s BlackBerry platform and 9% will choose Google’s Android. The reason being Google offers “weaker management support” for Android than Apple does for iOS or Research In Motion does for BlackBerry.

As the popularity of Android is getting increased it is also growing with security and management features. Motorola’s 3LM software is a way of providing security, management and remote access platform for Android devices that provides Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) like support. 3LM will enable:

  • Full device encryption including internal memory and SD card data
  • Remote installation of critical enterprise application
  • Device tracking
  • Secure access to enterprise network

AT&T has also announced a new application called Toggle that allows users to create two modes for their Android devices that separate business and personal use. Development of Android applications is also very easy as it comes with an emulator that can run on any OS (Windows, Linux or Mac OS). On the other hand, its competitor iOS is available to be developed on Mac machines only.

There is still a long way to go for Android. It requires lots of improvements, to name few:

  • Multitasking, which is still at very early stage and requires better thinking by OHA and OEMs
  • Lack of basic OS features like undo in text fields, command windows, basic networking
  • No way to limit apps from running in the background draining your battery
  • Plugging your phone to external monitors/projectors
  • Lack of a meaningful update scheme
  • Lack of development environments (IDEs) where developers can develop their applications using various technologies like PHP, CMS, .NET etc.

Android is the future for mobile communication. Every day, thousands of applications are developed by millions of Android developers across globe. Even Nokia has announced to launch its first Android based phone (Nokia X). With this note, I conclude this and wish all Android developer out there.

References

  1. http://www.android.com/. Intel about Android OS, OHA and OAA
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_%28operating_system%29. Android Operating System
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_version_history. Versions of Android
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Handset_Alliance. Open Handset Alliance (OHA)
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Automotive_Alliance. Open Automotive Alliance (OAA)
  6. http://www.merriam-webster.com/. Meaning of word Android
  7. http://www.nokia.com/in-en/phones/nokia-x/. Nokia X phones
 

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