The year 2010 has seen a significant boom in the number of Android based devices being brought to market by various manufacturers. From manufacturers like HTC and Motorola to new entrants Samsung, the influx of Android powered mobile options available to consumers has significantly skyrocketed over the past few months. In May, Google VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra announced that they saw Android device activations reach 60K a day within the US. In just three short months Google recently announced that it has seen an increase in Android device activations reach the 200K mark. The rate at which Android devices are being released, analysts expect the sales to surpass those of iPhone by 2012.
This year also saw Google try a new sales technique by offering an unlocked device to consumers which they can buy directly from Google, hence leaving the carriers out of the loop. Though in a latter decision they decided to stop selling the Nexus One device through their online store, the device still continues being sold through several carrier retail stores on contract.
As recently as this past weekend Samsung released their much awaited line of Galaxy Vibrant and Captivate devices. The devices sport Android 2.1 and have a clear advantage over the existing line up of devices which are available within Canada from carriers like Bell, Telus and Rogers. While majority of devices in the market currently boast the Android 2.1 platform, it is quite possible that before the end of the year all of these devices will either see an upgrade to 2.2 (codenamed Froyo) or at least have definite plans by manufacturers to have their devices upgraded by Q1 of 2011.
With that being said, Android 2.2 brings forth several amazing capabilities which makes Android devices even more attractive to consumers and developers alike. These features include:
- Adobe Flash and AIR support,
- Push messaging,
- New enterprise features (including device administration support),
- Performance improvements (the totally revamped JIT compiler for the Dalvik JVM),
- Audio and API improvements,
- Ability to install apps on the SD card,
- Market update to include better error reporting and auto-update features,
- Ability to tether through Bluetooth, USB and to create a personal mobile hotspot,
- Support for Microsoft Exchange and
- Fastest mobile browser on the market
These robust new features and improvements are making Android an extremely viable option for consumers looking to upgrade their old generation mobile phones. Although Google may have stopped selling the Nexus One, the demand for Android devices is rising so much that manufacturer HTC cannot keep up with that demand.
It is also expected that prior to the end of the 2010, Google is slated to announce the next logical version of Android. Android 3.0 (codenamed Gingerbread) will address features which consumers are looking for and introduce some new and exciting innovation to the Android platform. It remains to be seen what new features are going to be packaged with Android 3.0.
The growth of Android is also going to increase as more and more manufacturers are starting to adopt the new capabilities of Froyo and will start including plans to offer the OS in their tablet and/or netbook offerings. One such company is Notion Ink, who is working on their Adam tablet which is an exciting and promising device. Several other manufacturers have indicated their plans to release their products running Android 2.1 with a future upgrade to 2.2. Dell recently entered the mobile phone arena with the announcement and eventual release of their Streak product which acts as a mobile phone but also hopes to be a tablet which consumers can use to carry on their day to day activities. Although it comes packaged with Android 1.6, Dell does plan to eventually upgrade the device to 2.2 in order to reap the benefits of the new and exciting features which Froyo brings.
These are exciting times not just in the Android realm but an exciting time for all things mobile. Android is fast gaining momentum and remains to be seen the barriers which it is slated to break as it progresses in the wildly open mobile space.