This article first appeared on 254 Tech as the 3rd part of a continued focus on major mobile operating systems. You can read the original article here. Many thanks to @Edu_exe who allowed me to repost this.
The fastest growing operating system is also the most loved. What can I say about android that hasn’t been already said? People find android the natural choice and the OS has many developers. While most of these developers contribute through creation of apps, others contribute through hacking and customizations. Custom ROMS have become the operating systems of choice. With android you cannot get bored by the interface, you customize it as you wish and if the OS doesn’t appeal to you anymore you flash a new one (if ROMS are available for your device).
It is the numbers that are helping Android. Most manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Sony make so many phones in a calendar year that Android by default sells the most phones. Google are so quick with updates such that before the latest version of android has sunk in another version is released.
All operating systems have their downfall and even the mighty android has several setbacks. Google releases timely updates but manufacturers are always slow to update the devices. It’s a shame that some phones are still on the path to receive ICS while Google is now working on another update after Jelly Bean. Manufacturers are so unreliable that most users are forced to rely on custom ROMS like cyanogenmod and AOKP among others. I have friends who only buy the top end devices because at least they are assured of getting the next update. Look up these devices and you will notice the high cost of acquiring them. So does that mean that if you cannot afford a high end android device you are basically screwed? In most cases the answer is yes.
Android also has the tendency of inflating hardware requirements. You now need Quad core to run android well. The embarrassing thing is that some of these quad cores and dual cores still lag. This only means that you need a new phone every time Google updates android. The current iPhone 5 specifications or the announced windows phone 8 devices are the same as average or midrange android devices. This only means that android is still unfinished.
With the extreme specifications battery life is dealt a huge blow and hence need for bigger batteries. Again, what this does is that it inflates the price. Bigger batteries are obviously more expensive.
Android tablets are good but they have to run at least ICS for them to count. Honeycomb was too buggy and it is only about 2 months ago that the galaxy tablets were receiving the ICS update. I wonder how long the Jelly Bean update will take.
Android has so much going for it but the manufacturers have to be on their feet as Google tries to refine Android. The other recommendation would be for android to try and use less hardware resource. If this sounds impossible then they can try and “chop” down the OS so that there will be a version for the low end phones, kinda like what Microsoft did with Windows Phone 7.8 which gives a taste of Windows Phone 8.
Google’s Android is the most popular OS and while it has it’s flaws it keeps getting better and hopefully there will come a time when all the flaws will be dealt with. But for now we can just splash the cash on high end devices and enjoy what Google has to offer.