If you have been living under a rock for the past year or just woke up from a coma and don’t know what the android is, It is the mobile operating system from Google which is open source and free to use both for phone manufacturers as well as users. Which means that the operating system will enable manufacturers provide devices for a fraction of a cost cheaper than proprietary operating systems like the iPhone OS. So straight off its already better than its apple counterpart, add to it the openness of the platform to add what ever you need as applications makes it even more competitive and flexible. DOnt know what I am talking about? try getting another browser for your iPhone or run a flash based website or a flash based tool on iPhone … not possible. But with the android its all good. Now, android is from Google, which for me tips the scale here add to it Google’s participation in developing the Nexus One and various applications for the platform and you have just the iPhone killer that you are looking for.
I am writing this after I just saw the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 in Dubai, I was more than impressed. If I were not waiting for the Nexus One to reach Dubai, I would have already bought it. The point is I was seriously impressed by the speed and the reactiveness of the phone and the OS. A recent report on Engadget made it visible that Android as an Operating system is now ahead of iPhone in the American Market and just behind the revered Blackberry OS. Unfortunately, there are’nt enough Android Phones in Dubai for me to be able to make a comparison in the local market or for that matter the Indian Market is the same. So, just getting everyone prepared for the onslaught of the Android I am posting a list of applications for the Android that would rival some of the best on the iPhone.
Until last year, Apple’s iPhone was the winner if you counted the number and quality of various apps available on its marketplace. Palm’s WebOS, Blackberry, Microsoft Windows Mobile and even Windows 7 Phone – none of them have the quantity and quality of apps that could get anywhere near the iPhone Apps. Maybe it was customer Loyalty, or just having a closed loop system but it worked for iPhone, however here are some apps that might make you feel bad for getting the iPhone.
Google Apps (Gmail, Voice, Docs, Calendar and others). One of the most important reasons to get an Android phone is its complete integration with all of Google’s web-based Apps, which are very useful and used by many users. As Android was closely supervised, developed and is currently maintained by Google, it’s not that surprising to see the fact that they went an extra few miles to make sure their operating system is fully integrated with other products they own. And for a lot of people, this is the single biggest reason to choose an Android-based mobile device. Google Search, Maps, Calendar, Gmail and other Apps work and look much better on an Android phone, right from the box, than on any other mobile device, including the iPhone.
Layar. If cutting edge is your thing then the Android Platform has just the right app for you, Layar the Augmented Reality browser which is making waves around the world. Agreed that the iPhone also has some augmented reality apps, nothing really beats the range or flexibility of the Layar browser for the Android. You have to see demo’s to believe them. To be very honest this is the second biggest feature that the iPhone lacks.
Google Goggles is a little more interesting from a technology standpoint: it’s an Android app that takes photos, tries to recognize what in them, and then generates search results about them. Goggles can recognize landmarks, books, contact info, artwork, places, wine, and logos at the moment, and Google says it’s working on adding other types of objects, like plants. Pretty neat stuff — but how about linking these this service with QR Codes together at some point.
Open Home. If there’s one thing that iPhone owners hate the most is the major lack of customization options, specifically for the home screen. Someone wants various widgets, someone wants their latest tweets and facebook updates displayed, and other people just want a giant time and date widget to cover the whole screen – doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that Apple’s iPhone simply can not provide them with that freedom. On the other had, Android can. Open Home was created to allow users to easily personalize every little thing on their home screen, including how, where and when anything appears. As a result, everyone gets a much more customized display for their liking, unique to them, which really shows that they “think different”.
Nintendo ROM Emulator – NESoid. If you liked to play games on your Nintendo console when you were younger, you will definitely love this app. It allows anyone to go retro and recreate a full Nintendo gaming console experience on their Android-powered phone or MID (Mobile Internet Device), which will definitely lead to a lot of time spent playing Mario while waiting in lines or when having nothing else to do . All the users have to do is find the ROM for the game they want to play (there are many sites where one can download them) and run them using NESoid. The free version does not allow the user to save the game (but then again, many consoles didn’t allow that either), while the paid version costs $3.50 and allows the user to save any game at any point (quite useful, indeed).
Quake 3 Arena. This is a bit like the NESoid, maybe even better (in my opinion). It is the full desktop version of Quake 3 Arena for an Android phone! I’m sure there are a lot of people who remember playing it on LAN or against computer opponents. For a while, it was the best 3D first person shooter game available. Now anyone can have it on their Android device, with great desktop graphics and sounds, and play it for hours at end. The only major bad thing about it is that you have to get a powerful enough device that has a hardware keyboard (like the Motorola Droid).
So now we’ve got a new, powerful competitor in the mobile OS industry that is ready to take on the iPhone. And a lot of people believe that it can actually do it. The last year alone has seen a lot of great apps launched on the Android marketplace, from augmented reality applications like Layar to excellent portable picture editors like Photoshop Mobile to excellent 3D games with amazing console quality graphics (Armageddon Squadron, Wave Blazer or even the desktop version of Quake 3 Arena). A lot of them are also totally free, which makes the platform an even better choice for many users. And of course, they all come with an open source, which you can modify at you will (if you have the technical knowledge). All in all Android is really going to stay, and with the betterment of hardware the software will only get better. Unix / Linux can actually make it big maybe just not on the computer.