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What is Android

Being a Gadget Guy, people are always asking me my opinion on smartphones and their respective platforms. I guess this is because I have had them all: Blackberry, Windows, Apple iOS, and Android. The Blackberry and the iPhone have been around for a while and Microsoft has been playing with Windows phones for years but they never hit the mark. So who is this newcomer that’s making all the noise and where did it come from?

First of all, Android is a Linux-based operating system (as is Apple) for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It’s what makes them work. Google purchased the initial developer of the software, Android Inc., in 2005 and announced in 2007 that they were making the software available to everyone for free as open source. Apple and RIM don’t make their operating systems available to any other phone makers, while Microsoft has heavy licensing fees for theirs. All of a sudden, all the other mobile device makers had an amazing platform to load on their gadgets without having to pay Google (or their own developers) a penny. Overnight this leveled the smartphone playing field and virtually every manufacturer other than RIM’s best online casino and Apple now use Android as their platform of choice. What a huge saving for the device makers, allowing them to concentrate on making great hardware that would run the Android software. Like the other smartphones, you can download Android “Apps” from third-party sites or through online stores like the Android Market which is quite different than Apple and RIM who force you to download apps only from them.

The Gartner Group predicts that 468 million smartphones were sold in 2011, which is a 57.7 percent increase from 2010. Of those phones, 38.5 percent were powered by the Android operating system. By 2015, they estimate that 631 million smartphones will be sold, with almost 50% being Android devices. What’s equally important is that Android is showing up in more and more smart devices, like Samsung’s line of Smart TV’s and appliances.  All of these devices will be able to download Android apps which is great for software developers developing on the Android platform and great for consumers.

With the release of Android 4.0 last November, Google has combined its phone and tablet platforms together into one very powerful operating system. There have been improvements to almost every facet of the software that will keep the platform growing at an amazing rate. The new Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone, expected to be announced next month, will have a screamingly fast dual or quad-core microprocessor inside and a huge 4.6” SuperAMOLED Plus screen and will be the thinnest smartphone Samsung has ever made and will run Android 4.0. This is the phone I am waiting for.

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