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Four Ways Android has Shaken Up the Smartphone Game

When it was first released in late 2008, the Android mobile platform seemed to have a hard time finding its footing against the already wildly popular iPhone. But the brand definitely seems to have regained its competitive footing. Since its initial release, the Android operating system has served to innovate the mobile technology marketplace in ways that even the most foresighted financial analysts could never have predicted.

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1. The open source platform allows for complete customization.

Because the operating system is open source, anyone with the knowledge can program anything to put on the phone. This helps improve on everyday functionality (more on this in number two), but it has also been a major factor driving innovation for the entire industry. The existence of so many different applications has created an atmosphere of competition in which it is necessary for manufacturers and developers to put forward work of ever-increasing quality and creativity.

2. Android devices are easily adapted and upgraded with a little know-how.

The plethora of competing applications also makes customizing your phone absurdly easy. Apps are available to replace stock cameras, alarm clocks, and just about anything else on the device that might want personalization. “Rooting” your phone (obtaining full control over the operating system and applications) is also relatively easy if you know anything at all about technology.

3. Android provides full access to and automatic synchronization with your Google account(s).

To use an Android device is to take advantage of everything that is Google, including maps and browsers and search engines. Perhaps just as important, though, is the fact that the web-based synchronization allows for the use of devices of different makes from different manufacturers. This means that smartphone users are no longer limited to a single brand for all of their technology needs.

4. Android has helped make smartphones affordable enough for the average consumer.

This may be the most important influence that Android has had on the industry. While it has indeed served to drive software innovation, the independent, open source nature of the platform makes it malleable enough to be used even on smaller, less expensive devices in spite of potentially limited functionality. Without the introduction of the Android operating system, smartphone might well still be considered an extravagant luxury rather than the ubiquitous tool it has become.

The fascinating world of mobile technology continues to evolve by the day, driven by the creativity of developers and hobbyists alike. And one of the major factors in allowing for that creativity is the availability of open source platforms like Android. Next time you shop for a phone, take a moment to stop and give a little extra consideration to your operating system. Is what you’ve got now really giving you everything you need? Maybe it’s time to upgrade to an Android.

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