For those who need a refresher, here is how Wikipedia defines Android: A mobile operating system [O/S] based on the Linux kernel and currently developed by Google.
Android is firmly entrenched as one of the two major players in the smartphone industry. No one is looking back at the days when Apple almost had all the glory. Android controls around 75% of the smartphone market. Regarding phones, Samsung is the leader in the Android device market.
It frustrates developers who are challenged with developing apps and games, that Android has become such a “fragmented” O/S. Their efforts have to accommodate every scenario of O/S and cell phone device. Android devices come in all shapes and sizes, with vastly different performance levels, screen sizes, screen resolutions, etc. It can be argued that this is a good thing, as it indicates that the immense variety of user needs can be satisfied by providing a phone that suits almost every unique individual’s requirements.
Another level added to the fragmentation problem, is that there are many different versions of Android itself that are concurrently active at any one time. OpenSignal, who analyse wireless networks around the globe, based on usage of Android and iPhone apps, have some interesting graphs clearly showing this fragmentation. Here is just one of them, showing Android fragmentation according to cell phone make and model.
Australia is no exception to Android penetration. At December 2014, 12 per cent of adult Australians had neither a fixed-line telephone nor fixed internet in their homes, instead using mobile devices for voice, messaging and internet access. More than 15 providers sell mobile services on a contract, monthly charge and prepaid basis.
Network coverage is more or less equally shared among Optus, Telstra and Vodafone. As in most other countries, there are more cell phones than people in Australia, and here Samsung (ran by Android) is also the leader.
Apps, Games, Tools, Books
Every time one is presented with a list of apps in the Google Play Store, you cannot help but feel flabbergasted at the number and variety available. As it goes with these things, phone manufacturers themselves have joined the fray in coming up with hundreds of “useful” apps, many competing with Google’s vast collection.
Originally many of us had the feeling most of these apps are just a waste of time, especially considering that very few have been rated by anyone, and then the ratings were not always that good.
Currently the main Play Store categories are Apps, Games and Books. (Currently, because Google does seem to change things regularly.) Decisions, decisions: On the first screen one has to make up your mind whether you want to explore “new and updated games”, “popular apps and games”, “new and updated apps”, “multi-player games”, “tools” or just books (kicking off with “Fiction and Literature”). Oh, do not overlook “Offline Games” – where “Smash the Office – Stress” should be ideal for the frustrated office worker who is deprived of a network connection. (We assume he downloaded the game when the network was up.) One has to admit that some of the tools sound useful. “Satellite Director” can save you many TV repair dollars spent on trying to get your satellite dish angle just right. One user gave this one a 5-star rating just for its interface – “don’t yet know if it works…”!
According to a Deloitte Media Consumer Survey, the Internet as a preferred source of entertainment continues to grow at the same rate as in previous years (10% YOY growth over the past 3 years); it will soon eclipse watching TV, heralding a significant digital tipping point in our media habits.
It is the Gaming category that we will spend more time on – perhaps in the next blog entry.
There used to be an appliance advert on TV that ended with “what will you do with your [cannot remember that appliance …] today?”
What will you do with your Android today?