As the 5 year anniversary of Google’s widely popular mobile operating system that is Android approaching, I started to ask myself, “what’s next for Android?” Realizing that it’s its 5 year anniversary has really made me reflect on Android and how it became the behemoth that it is now and what exactly is next for it. To say that Android has grown and matured since it’s release would be an understatement to say the least. The platform has reached new heights and the growing number of consumers jumping to Android on a daily basis definitely shows that. Google has worked vigorously throughout the years on improving Android on many aspects, whether it’s usability, software, and even just the way Android appeals to the consumer. And as for me, one of the main reasons (if not the main reason) that Android’s popularity is where it’s at now is due to the growth of its hardware. And the track record makes it undeniable.
The growth of Android has everything to do with the technological growth of mobile screens, mobile processors, and overall hardware of these phones. While Android’s software has definitely grown and improved since it’s initial 1.0 release, I don’t see it as much of a factor as hardware has been. Although I will say that Ice Cream Sandwhich was an amazing step up for Android in the aesthetics and usability department. But the main draw and allure Android has from consumers is the superb hardware that it offers, hardware that you won’t find on any other OS. The birth of Android officially started with T-Mobile and the HTC G1. It provided fairly weak specifications, but not limited to:
- Launched with Android 1.0
- 528 mHZ Qualcomm MSM7201A Processor paired with Adreno 130 GPU
- 3.2 TFT LCD screen (320 x 480 pixels)
- 192 MB’s of total RAM with 256mb’s of internal memory
As meager as those specs look, it was by all means used to give Android that first step into the door of the mobile operating system world. And now fast forward 4 years later and you get the likes of the Galaxy Nexus, HTC One X and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy SIII. These 3 phones have the most powerful hardware available in the mobile smartphone world and they are all running Google’s Android OS. It amazes me how we got from that meager G1 to these quad-core phones with 1GB of RAM, 16+GB’s of on-board storage, high-def 4.7”+ 720p screens, and even paired with superb camera sensors and software that makes the ordinary standalone digital camera useless nowadays. The GPU’s are even close to rivaling home video game console systems, if they haven’t already. And to think that dual-core devices are now starting to become “mid-ranged” in the smartphone world just astonishes me.
Now this brings me to my original question; what exactly is next for Android? Hardware has limitations and there’s only so much you can put on a phone. While manufacturers can still up the ante on certain hardware aspects, it definitely won’t be the same boom it has had in these past 4 years when we went from 500mHZ to 1.5+gHZ Quad-Core processors. The allure that Android has on new consumers, or people that are thinking about purchasing an Android device is the “beefed” up processor and those amazing large screens that Android offers. It’s just too hard to resist for many of us. And now we have come to a point where we won’t, and shouldn’t, need even more powerful hardware to run Android. I believe hardware is starting to reach a ceiling and I’m wondering what else can keep new and interested Android users to stay and not jump ship elsewhere. Or has Androids user base just grown far too enormous that it doesn’t even matter what Android does next? As for me, I’ve been on Android since its infant stage and I would find it very hard to believe that I would ever leave the platform for anything else. And the reason I have for that is also the answer that I’m leaning towards to the question of this whole post.
Uniformity and cohesiveness. My whole life is literally on Android now and Google has done a good job in creating features and new ways of doing that. Now whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you as an individual and how you perceive it. All of my contacts are synced with Google and Android, as well as all of my calendar events, tasks, music, pictures, and now with Google Drive available, everything else I have can be synced. And what’s very important is that I’ll never find a GMail or Google Turn by Turn Navigation experience better on any other platform but Android. Once you’ve used all of Android’s offerings to its fullest, in my opinion it would just be too hard to leave and essentially “start over” on a new platform and have to re-purchase all of the apps I’ve bought and so forth. Thus, in retrospect, if hardware isn’t the main allure for Android in the future then what do you think it’ll be? I realize that hardware advancements will never truly end, but the pace it’s going at currently will slow down at some point and I’m curious to see what Google will do in the software side to make Android even more appealing, more-so than just a powerful processor and a large screen. I feel Google will be creating more ways to synchronize an Android users life around them and their products which gives Android such an endless possibility to what it can ultimately become. I truly don’t think Android will just be a mobile operating system, I believe it will be much, much more than that. What else can it become? Time will only tell and I’m very much eager to see what will come into fruition for Android in the future. I’m curious to hear what you guys think about Androids future, whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts, I’d love to see what everyone else thinks about all of this. Maybe you think it will head into a very different direction that what I’m imagining? Sound off in the comments!