Since the introduction of the iPhone by Apple in 2006, smartphones( mobile phones which operates by an Operating System) sales has been dramatically rising. Over 54 million units were sold worldwide in Q1 2010( Source: Gartner, Inc). This accounts for 17.3% of the global mobile phones market share, increased from 13.6% at the same period in 2009. The increasing share from smartphones does not only benefitting the manufacturers, but also led to a new market: market for applications.
Application developers can easily distribute their products by submitting it to the market service for approval, and then everyone using the OS can access, pay online and download it to their device.
There are now four main smartphone OS and is distributed as follows
Share of 2010 Q3 smartphone sales to end users by operating system, according to Gartner.
Each OS has its own market service and Software Development Kit (SDK). While Symbian and RIM has a rather large market share, at the moment their market service are relatively poor comparing to those from iOS and Android. However, this still makes programmers confused on deciding which platform to focus on working, while in my opinion, Android is the platform that any developer should choose. In this report, advantages of Android and how it benefits application developers over other smartphones OS, will be discussed, as well as ethical and other issues.
1. Advantages of Android over other OS
1.1 Android Structure and how it helps
The Android OS is basically an open-source project which gives developers as much freedom as they wanted to write their apps, ranging from user interface to accelerometer-gaming. It is built based on a Linux kernel as the base layer, followed by Android libraries and Dalvik Virtual machine one the next. The Android Libraries enabled the applications to be programmed by Java, and the Dalvik Virtual Machines acts like an individual OS. By this way applications can be ran on the DVM itself, the base OS won't be affected if one crashes. Applications are also independent from others, and the phone is able to perform multiple tasks at once.
The iOS from Apple, on the other hand, does not have multi-tasking. It operates only one app at a time therefore it is practically impossible to write two applications that co-operates with each other. This doesn't only annoying to the user, but also makes the developer had to write a new application to combine the two existing applications into one to do the equivalence work.
While the Android gives developers full access to the application framework, the iOS have its own limitations making their range of applications narrower. For example, developers cant change iOS's main user interface. This means there are less opportunity to turn their ideas into functional applications in iOS than Android.
The ease to start being a developer is also an advantage of Android. Java is a friendly programming language for starters, while Cocoa, the trademark programming language for Apple is quite a struggle to new programmers. Java has a large number of users because it is popular in web programming. This is a huge source of potential developers because switching from web to application platform is relatively easy to people who have been familiar with Java.
1.2 Android 's market potential
An application developer should choose the platform which have a lot of users to help them widen the number of potential customers. There are now more than 8 million Android users worldwide. This is not a lot comparing to iPhone's 21 million user, but the number of Android devices are increasing fast mostly because of the Open Handsets Alliance, which are partner with Android's owner Google, including HTC, Samsung and many large electronics manufacturer. They released about fifty different Android models in...