Feeds

Google's Android market needs Jobsian strongman

Tough iPhone love

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Comment One of the most hyped technologies of the last year or two is Google's Android. Based on a modified Linux kernel, Android has been heralded as the future of everything from tablets to TVs – and as a release from the stranglehold that Apple's iPhone has on hearts, minds, and wallets of people everywhere.

Progress since Android was announced in November 2007 has been swift, and it seems that every day new supporters hop aboard to create yet more devices for Android to run on.

With major handset makers, telcos, and even mighty Google offering up Android phones, you'd expect to see a more polished – dare, I say, iPhone-like – approach to the user experience. Tthe Android marketplace still feels like an afterthought compared to the iPhone's App Store.

The Android Marketplace runs a distant second to Apple's App Store in terms of numbers and range of applications and sheer profile. A quick search on tech media research tool ITDatabase.com turned up some 19,545 results for Android and more than 63,000 for iPhone but these are of middling appeal and enjoy little visibility or marketing.

At this point in time, the average consumer – who has proved generally oblivious to what technology they are running or the nuances of their code underneath – is well aware of the Jesus Phone and its variants.

That awareness has come not just from major news outlets but also from Apple's advertisements and TV commercials. Android has a bit of marketing juice – the odd billboard here or there touting Motorola's Droid on Verizon, for example – but has nothing approaching Apple's branding sophistication.

For those who do recognize Android as the operating system for a smartphone, the next logical step is to customize, figuring out what applications you can put onto your new device, where they live and then downloading them. The iPhone drives you into Apple's App Store whereas Android lets you frolic across the greater web.

The web, in theory, is the right way to go, providing distribution and unrestricted access. But it presents a challenge to users who have been trained to engage with their smartphone in the Apple way.

Broadly speaking, having a vast array of distribution points is generally not bad. After all, look at the success of Linux. But mobile phones are not like servers, and the packaging of the operating system and applications is fairly well ingrained into the mobile user mindset.

Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin has suggested that to see the path of Android, one only need to follow the path of Linux, which eventually coalesced into a few major distributions that allowed developers and ISVs to better target customer demand.

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Next page: The Apple standard

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.