Google Android: 10 Things Every New User Should Know About the Mobile OS

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-08-17

Google Android: 10 Things Every New User Should Know About the Mobile OS

With the Motorola Droid X continuing to enjoy success in the mobile market, and alternatives like the Droid 2 and the HTC Droid Incredible also enjoying strong sales, there is a huge influx of new Android owners entering the market. In fact, Google said recently that 200,000 Android devices are being activated each day.

With such an influx of new customers comes a learning curve for those people. Since the majority of them haven't used Android-based devices before, they will need to learn the nuances of the operating system, and find out both what makes it appealing and what could make it a problem to work with.

Read on to find out what every Android owner should know about the mobile OS. 

1. Android 2.2 is a major step up

Depending on the device consumers buy, they're either running Android 2.1 or Android 2.2. Currently, Nexus One and Droid 2 owners have Android 2.2 running on their smartphone. Droid X owners will have the new software in September. Realizing that, current Droid X owners will soon find out what Droid 2 owners already know-Android 2.2 is a major step up over the previous version of the software. Not only does it add several more features, but it delivers improved usability. When Android 2.2 is made available on all smartphones, every consumer should download it. 

2. The Android Market is growing

Due to the success of Android OS, new owners will be happy to hear that the Android Market is growing rapidly. In fact, the store currently has more than 100,000 available applications, with many more being added each day. Although the store got off to a slow start, strong Android sales have pushed many more developers looking to turn a profit to embrace the platform. Expect many more useful apps to come to the Android Market in short order. 

3. It's backed by Google

As Android owners already know, the software is backed by Google. But what they might not know is that it could be both good and bad. The good thing about Google backing Android OS is that the company has the vision and the cash to invest fully in the software, making it all the more useful. The bad aspect of it is that some are concerned that Google isn't living up to its motto of "Don't Be Evil" as much as they would like the public to think. What's more, its desire for mobile advertising revenue could drastically alter the way it makes Android-related decisions. Simply put, just as with Apple's iOS, there are some pros and cons to owning a device running Google Android. 

4. More customers means better improvements

The best thing about being a part of the Android craze is that it gives Google and its partners the impetus they need to keep improving the platform. If Android couldn't compete with Apple's iPhone in sales, there would be little reason to continue to improve the software. But with Android starting to gain some traction the market, Google will be more likely to pull out all the stops to maintain its lead. Look for several incremental improvements to Android OS as Google's market share continues to grow.

Android Showing Robust Growth with Some Uncertainties


5. It's not iOS

As nice as the Android OS is, it's worth noting that it still can't quite compete with Apple's iOS. That's not to say that Android OS is a bad operating system-it it isn't-but Apple's mobile operating system is just a little bit better. Not only does it provide a better touch experience, but the Apple software is more usable. Plus, it has a level of elegance that Android OS can't muster. It's something current Android owners will want to keep in mind the next time their contracts are up. 

6. You'll finally have Flash in Froyo

One of the biggest additions to Android 2.2 Froyo is Adobe's Flash. Unlike iOS, which deliberately doesn't support Flash, the new version of Google's software does. And with it, consumers are able to access the vast majority of videos and games that they can't access on iOS. Those folks running Android 2.1 are still out of luck when it comes to Flash. But considering that the updated Android OS will soon be the standard, it won't be long before the majority of users will be able to access any Flash-using site they want. 

7. The enterprise will like new features

The corporate world will like what it finds in Android OS 2.2. Admittedly, Android 2.1 and earlier versions of the mobile operating system are not enterprise-friendly. But Android 2.2 adds several nice features for companies, including improved password security and remote wipe. Plus, Exchange support in Android 2.2 should make companies that didn't like using Android 2.1 just a bit happier. 

8. There are security concerns

What won't make companies happy, and what should scare consumers, is the possibility of Android OS causing security problems. According to a security expert speaking to eWEEK earlier this week, Android OS lags behind iOS in "meeting security validations," "application verification," and "tamper resistance," to name just a few of the areas in which Android security is said to fall short. Currently, there are real issues with Android's security that need to be taken into consideration. For its part, Google claims Android OS is as safe as they come; that may or may not be the case. 

9. Some features are in doubt

Earlier this year, Apple filed a patent lawsuit against HTC, one of the top Android OS vendors. The lawsuit claimed that some of the functions of HTC's smartphones, including Android-based devices, violated Apple's software patents. So far, the court hasn't ruled on the case, but if Apple is successful, several features, including the way mobile Chrome works, could be forcibly removed from HTC's software. If Apple is successful, the company could drastically alter the way Android OS works. It's not such a big worry, but it's a possibility that current owners should keep in mind. 

10. It will soon be running on multiple tablets

Those who enjoy using Android OS so far will be happy to hear that the software will be making its way to several tablets in the coming months. Currently, Android OS is running on the Dell Streak, and it will soon come to Cisco's enterprise-focused Cius tablet. The software will be available on many more tablets soon.

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