News Analysis: Android is the world's top mobile operating system, but it isn't perfect. Google needs to address a number of issues related to the operating system's security, usability and accessibility to continue to gain ground in the mobile market.
it got off to a bit of a slow start, Google's Android mobile operating system
has caught its stride. In 2010, it was the most desired operating system in the
world, and according to most analysts, the platform will dominate the mobile
market for the foreseeable future. All other competitors, including Apple,
Research In Motion and Microsoft, will have no other choice but to pick up the
that, there isn't much that Google should be upset about in the mobile market
right now. When it's all said and done, the more market share a company has,
the better. And considering that Google is so heavily invested in advertising,
the search giant could make boatloads of cash off its platform.
that doesn't mean there aren't issues related to Android that Google won't
eventually need to address. The mobile operating system is an outstanding
choice for many consumers, but there are
glaring problems with Android that are simply impossible to ignore
on to learn more:
1. The fragmentation is real
likes to downplay the Android "fragmentation" issue in which mobile
device manufacturers are releasing new products for the multiple concurrent
versions of the Android OS. It's a major issue for software developers who have
to support all these versions, and it's time that Google acknowledged it. In a
recent study, Baird Research found that developers are especially concerned
with Android fragmentation. In fact, 24 percent of respondents said it is a "huge
problem," while 33 percent of developers said it is a "meaningful
problem." Only 14 percent of respondents said it isn't a problem at all.
If that's not a good enough reason for Google to start reducing Android
fragmentation, what is?
2. The update process is a pain
Android owners know all too well, getting an update to their smartphone is a
pain. A user of a particular Android device may have to wait (and wait) for her
turn to get the software, while her friend with a different device might
already be running the latest version of the operating system. When Apple
releases an update to its operating system, it's available to all customers
that day. Granted, Apple's process is simpler, since it doesn't need to worry
about multiple device manufacturers and the modifications those companies might
be making to the operating system. But for Apple customers, it's a much easier
process. The time has come for Google to work with vendor partners to
streamline the update process.
3. There must be better consumer education
is undoubtedly a fine operating system that consumers around the world are
happy to use. But Google just hasn't done a good enough job of informing the
public on the differences between the versions of its operating system. Sure,
Android 2.3 might seem like a better option than Android 2.2 by virtue of the
fact that it's newer, but what are the relative advantages of each version that's
currently on the market? Those who follow Android closely know, but the
average, mainstream user who simply buys a phone and wants a good operating
system needs to be better informed.
4. Solving the iPhone problem
sales figures are one's guide, it's clear that
Android is more desirable than iOS
. But that's not the full story. It's
important to keep in mind that Android is running on devices from many major
vendors. Apple's iOS platform is running on the iPhone and the iPad. Despite
its wide use, it's hard to find a single Android-based smartphone that can
match the iPhone in terms of overall popularity. The Motorola Droid X is a fine
device, but it's not an iPhone. The same can be said for HTC's line of Android
smartphones. It's about time Google finds a way to offer a smartphone that can
finally supplant the iPhone as the top mobile device in the marketplace.