Android is buzzing and it is the largest smartphone platform out there with 400 million+ devices out there. When the iPhone reinvented the smartphone market in 2007, Android wasn’t a household name. However given the open source nature of Android and Google’s partnership with multiple hardware makers, the breadth that Android has managed is a humongous. Large component players like Samsung & LG are devoted to Android and legacy names like Sony are betting on the same.
So here are the things that worked for Android
- A quality player like Google driving the OS
- Integrated Google services
- Multiple hardware partners
- Open source nature
However, Android has its own challenges. Today the Motorola Razr and the Razr Maxx received their Android 4.0 update. Just for the records Android 4.0 aka Ice-cream Sandwich was released last year and we are already more than half way into 2012. Google has already shown the industry its latest Android version Jelly Bean and users are eagerly awaiting an upgrade or newer devices supporting the OS.
Now, I understand that Android updates and fragmentation is a beaten to death and known issue. What I am trying to highlight is the consumer experience. While several users are attracted by Android’s hardware and go ahead with a purchase… say a Galaxy Note or a HTC One X. And at the same time many users (who actually cause the 500% growth for Android in India) go with the Samsung Galaxy Y, primarily due to the low price. Both these user set have little to do with Android version and updates.
I am now starting to see a lot of distress amongst the core Android fans or let me say, learnt smartphone users. The strategy is now shifting to buying a the latest Nexus device that would run the stock UI, but get updates faster than any other Android device. As the mobile market / platform evolves faster and faster every year, the hunger to have the latest increases. Apple and Microsoft have a greater control over their software updates on the mobile platform and thus perhaps give a better experience (of course with some hiccups), but for Google, the high end market comprising of sneezers who promote Android platform, is turbulent. It is hard to invest Rs 30,000 buying a Razr Maxx and get an OS that was released 8 months back?