Several people have asked me why I’m so excited about Android. They don’t believe it can ever rival iPhone’s success. “It is too little too late”. In part they are correct, Apple has done a tremendous job in putting the iPhone in the hands of consumers. Its sleek design, excellent usability, and “hype” have won the mind of just about anyone that uses a mobile device now days. However, they are not looking at what Android promises deep enough. It is not just about the cut and dry technical merits. It is the potential for greater availability of applications and choice of hardware where I believe Android will come out on top. I have been playing with the Android SDK (on Linux, with Eclipse, no NDAs, no payments, no applications) for a few days and from what I have seen, I believe that developers will shift momentum Android’s way. Apple has made that mistake before. “Developers! Developers! Developers!…”; Crazy delivery but very true words.
When we look at how things are turning out in the mobile world, one can’t help to be reminded of the PC vs Macs battle of the 80s and the Internet vs AOL/Prodigy/Compuserve of the 90s. We all know how those conflicting approaches turned out.
This piece from Professional Android Application Development explains very well what I see.
What Will Drive Android Adoption?
Android is targeted primarily at developers, with Google and the OHA betting that the way to deliver better mobile software to consumers is by making it easier for developers to write it themselves. As a development platform, Android is powerful and intuitive, letting developers who have never programmed for mobile devices create useful applications quickly and easily. It’s easy to see how innovative Android applications could create demand for the devices necessary to run them, particularly if developers write applications for Android because they can’t write them for other platforms.
Open access to the nuts and bolts of the underlying system is what’s always driven software development and platform adoption. The Internet’s inherent openness and neutrality have seen it become the platform for a multi-billion-dollar industry within 10 years of its inception. Before that, it was open systems like Linux and the powerful APIs provided as part of the Windows operating system that enabled the explosion in personal computers and the movement of computer programming from the arcane to the mainstream.
This openness and power ensure that anyone with the inclination can bring a vision to life at minimal cost. So far, that’s not been the case for mobile phones, and that’s why there are so few good mobile phone applications and fewer still available for free.
Corporations will also be attracted to Android for the level of control it offers. By using a popular enter prise programming language in Java, no licensing fees, and offering the level of access and control users demand, Android offers an excellent enterprise platform.