Strength in numbers: Android’s legacy
Android. We know the name but do we truly understand the ideals behind it?
A few points to mull over before we begin this piece:
- Android is Google’s brainchild.
- Android is property of the public.
- Android is, and has been, a boon to mobile manufacturers, app developers, and retail outlets.
Think about the above for a moment. Imagine a world without Android. Would we still have diversity in the market? Would Windows Phones have Android’s market dominance in a competitive battle with iOS? I surmise it wouldn’t but let’s backtrack for a moment. Google develops each release of Android. However, leaked ROM’s, forks and mods are by and large the public’s doing — and are, in some cases, the product of commercial intent, like what Amazon has done — but regardless, Android’s development is largely the product of enthusiasm for the mobile environment, and the support of open-source software.
Ownership of Android
So who really owns Android? This may seem like a rhetorical question at first but let’s look at the third item on the list for an answer. If there were no Android, mobile manufacturers, app developers and retail outlets would be stuck in the days of old. We’d have a world with Apple vs. Microsoft going at it, both being closed to public development for the most part. The world of mobile computing and telecommunications at large would be vastly different, possibly even bland, simply because the third option does not exist. Shelves would be full of Samsung and Sony tablets running Windows Phone adaptations. The only alternative would be iPads. I don’t know about you, but that’s not a world I’d like to live in. Choices are good, and so is competition.
The support of Android, in general, is a vote of confidence for crowdsourcing. It’s a statement of trust and intellectual wealth being passed about in the hive, as opposed to the “closed door policies” that exist under the two aforementioned companies. For those who are really paying attention, I haven’t mentioned Symbian specifically because Nokia isn’t a big player in the mobile software development world anymore. Loyalists who use nothing but Symbian, swear by it’s reliability and utilitarian appeal, are welcome to it. Symbian hasn’t done anything groundbreaking like the other competition has in recent years. Case closed.
Android is the futureproofing of mobility, and it could be that Google someday decides to pack up and move to the next town. But for now we have a beautiful synchronicity between consumer adoration and developer intelligentsia creating some visually exciting and productive apps and devices. When you leave the show content to the audience, great things can happen. This is something that research and development in big companies can’t co-opt. It’s an organic human response to the lack of creative solutions on the market at the time of Android’s initial release. Continued availability is just the evolution of an idea funded by the enduring human quest for information.