Google Android Mobile Phones

Google Android sounds like the name of a mobile phone, but it’s actually not. The name Google Android is used to refer to the OS of the mobile phone. The market is flooded with with mobile phones these days, and consumers are spoilt for choice. So what makes Google Android so different? And why should anyone start using a totally different OS altogether?

Currently, the better known mobile operating systems in the market are Symbian, Palm, Windows Mobile and more recently, OS X for iPhone. These operating systems are all competing for market share. But the similar aspect of these operating systems is that they are all closed systems. In other words, no one else, but the companies themselves can develop applications for the OS (with the exception of OS X, which we shall discuss later).

Therefore, all mobile phones that are equipped with these operating systems have limited applications that can be installed.

Recognizing the rising trend of the open network, Google is hoping to change all that with Google Android. With the SDK (Software Development Kit) offered by Google, developers can truly innovate and come up with applications that can be installed in Google Android. We have all seen this concept taking the Internet by storm.

For instance, we see the Firefox browser closing the gap with Internet explorer. It’s able to catch up quickly because it allows developers to develop useful extensions for the browsers. To date, there are hundreds of extensions for the Firefox browser, and its popularity is still rising. The same goes for social community sites. MySpace used to be the top social community site. But Facebook became popular really fast, and have risen to be on par with MySpace. Again, it happened because Facebook started allowing developers to launch applications on its platform.

The signals are clear. The open concept works, and Google Android is looking to overtake all the other mobile operating systems. The project is now being undertaken by the Open Handset Alliance, which is a group of companies formed by Google, T-Mobile, Sprint, Vodaphone, HTC, Motorola, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and other players in the mobile phone industry.

Eventually, fans can’t help but compare Google Android with Apple’s OS X. After all, the Apple iPhone is immensely popular, and it also allows developers to develop third party applications for the iPhones, and distribute them through Apple’s website. However, the OS X also has a limitation – it can only work with the iPhone. So if you don’t like the iPhone (rare, but it happens), you are out of luck.

Google Android looks set to become the leading OS. It’s just a matter of time. Already, the Open Handset Alliance is working with mobile phone manufacturers to develop Android mobile phones. So don’t be surprised to find mobile phones from major brands such as Samsung, HTC, Motorola, etc. in the near future.

Smart Phones

Today, many are confused by the wide-ranging spectrum of mobile phone models and capabilities. For those seeking a phone with the greatest expanse of functionality, there is no better choice than a smart phone.

The smart phone is simply a cellular phone that offers higher capability above the average mobile phone. This simple definition is unfortunately complicated by the lack of an industry standard definition. One may see a smart phone as one that offers a complete keyboard with internet and email functionality, and some may only view a smart phone as a phone with a full operating system (OS) and applications.

Smart phones, as a whole, carry the ability to function as much as a cell phone as a PDA.

Most have complete email capability, web browsing, calendar support, and contact support. Extended functionality offered by various manufacturers and models include GPS or A-GPS navigation, multimedia playback, document reading or editing, integrated camera, touch screen, etc. The smart phones available on the market today are characterized by their respective operating systems, which are:

* Windows Mobile

* iPhone OS

* Symbian OS

* RIM Blackberry

* Palm OS

* Linux-based OS

Windows Mobile is a platform developed by Microsoft that supports mobile devices including smart phones. It is close in appearance and features to the desktop Windows operating systems, including a very large selection of third party applications. Windows Mobile applications can add an unlimited functionality to a smart phone within hardware limits, but some examples are Skype support, instant messaging over AIM or other protocols, RSS feeds, and media players that extend the built-in file format ability.

The iPhone OS is built by Apple to run on their iPhone. The iPhone OS is actually a stripped down, but complete version of the original OS X operating system. This OS supports media playback identical to the iPod line, but with a layout designed to take advantage of the iPhone’s multi-touch screen. It also supports a portable version of the iTunes store, third-party applications through an application store, a full version of the Safari web browser, full e-mail support with HTML and attachment viewing, maps via Google, YouTube, calendar and contacts support, photo viewing, etc.

The Symbian OS is developed and owned by Symbian Ltd., and while similar in functionality to the Windows Mobile operating system, enjoys 65% of all smart phone market share. This OS has all of the basic smart phone features that any other smart phone has, but also an extensive library of third party applications that provide the phone with nearly unlimited functionality (with respect to hardware limitations). Some phone manufacturers that utilize the Symbian OS are Nokia, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson.

The Blackberry, Palm, and Linux-based operating systems are the last three operating systems employed by smart phones today, and share the main functionality of all other smart phones, as well as third-party applications. These systems are similar in their narrow smart phone deployment. The Blackberry OS only runs on Blackberry devices, and the Palm OS runs primarily on the Treo devices. The Linux-based systems are unique in that it is not its own platform, but rather a base for other platforms used by Samsung, Panasonic, NEC, and Vodafone, to name a few.

More About Android Smartphones

The cat is out of the bag. Lifestyle gadget enthusiasts are whispering to one another the prospects of Google Android – a new OS that looks to be a strong contender against Apple’s iPhone. For years, Apple has had very little competition. The iPhone appeared to have dominated the mobile community, and to date, it’s still the most popular mobile gadget around.

One of the main reasons why the iPhone is so popular is because Apple allows third party developers to develop applications for the iPhone. The applications are then distributed through Apple’s website. This is a highly strategic business move adopted by Apple, and one that has proven to work very well.

This concept is not new. Other non mobile platforms have adopted a similar concept, and have achieved great success as well. For example, both MySpace and Facebook, 2 immensely popular social community sites, have launched their own developer platform. Like the iPhone, developers can develop third party applications on these platforms.

The trend is rather obvious – user generated application based on an open concept is in. The iPhone’s success didn’t go unnoticed. Google is a strong player looking to compete in this sphere.

Recently, lots of buzz has been generated on Google Android – a brand new mobile OS. The key difference between Google Android and the iPhone OS is that the Android is an open OS. That means the OS can be used on any phone, not just the iPhone. By limiting the OS to the iPhone, Apple had isolated the rest of the phone manufacturers.

For years now, Apple had the upper hand. They can charge whatever price they wish to charge, and fans will still pay because they can’t get a similar system anywhere else. Google Android is looking to change all that. By leveling the playing field, consumers now have more choices. For sure, the prices for mobile gadgets (i.e. smartphones), will plummet once the Android gets adopted by other smartphone manufacturers. Already, major brand names like HTC, Motorola, Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson are working closely with the Open Handset Alliance (the company now running Google Android) to realize this goal.

Being such a new technology, and with limited developers, enthusiasts will have to bear with a great number of useless mobile apps that will be released in the first few years. This is a common trend because developers are mostly experimenting with the system to see what works and what doesn’t.

As the OS matures, and more and more developers jump on the band wagon to release applications, there will be more and more useful applications. Consumers may then enjoy the full benefits of having an open mobile OS.

T-Mobile’s G1, based on Google Android, is already enjoying a fair amount of success. For sure, a G2 looks set to be launched in the near future. Lenovo is also looking for a piece of the pie with its very own Lenovo oPhone. Mobile enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to.