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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Android OS

Android is the mobile operating system created by Google. While looking for a way to expand their already large ad viewing audience, Google bought up a company which had been working on a mobile operating system for smart-phones. This OS would later become known as Android. The first phone to run this new software would be the G1 which ran on T-Mobiles wireless networks. The phone offered several advantages over competitors including, customizable folders, and multitasking. However it was not until 2009 when Android began to pick up steam as the Motorola Droid was deputed. The device was pegged as an iPhone killer and advertisements featured iDon't campaigns against things Android could do that the iPhone could not. Since the release of the Droid, most major phone manufacturers are turning to the use of Android as their primary system. Earlier this year Google was able to overtake Apple in mobile market shares for the first time. This was seen as a major event seeing as Apple had not had a single true competitor until then.

Android has evolved over the years becoming more powerful, more customizable, more user-friendly and more about money. Google has constantly worked on bettering the Android experience fixing bugs and making the system faster and more reliable while creating better navigation systems to get around the OS. No matter how far Google comes in upgrading Android, there always seems to be phone manufacturers getting in the way, sometimes for the better, and often for the worse. Phone makers continue to add custom skins on top of the Android system in order to differentiate their phones from others as well as to gain more control and offer better experiences. Sometimes these add-on's can be a good thing and add features that users may find useful but other times as is seen in most newer Motorola phones can be a big pain. While some companies like HTC add customized skins to better the experience of users other companies like Motorola add tons of bloatware, unnecessary apps, to their phones in order to gain more money from phone sales. Many of today's computers come loaded with bloatware as well however the big difference is that while it is often simple to remove the unwanted programs from a computer, the apps pre-loaded onto an android device are often locked down and the user is unable to remove them without first Rooting, hacking, the phone. Some apps that are included may be useful such as included task managers while others such as Skype may eat up system resources and others are just plain useless most of the time like VZNavigation.

Since I mentioned Rooting I might as well go over what that is. Rooting is the process of gaining administrative rights to an android powered device. Most often, phone manufacturers lock down devices so that a user can not access certain parts of the system. This is often done to keep people from messing up their phones however it also keeps them from being able to use everything they could be using. Often people find themselves rooting their devices in order to either over-clock the CPU, which makes the phone run faster sometimes, or to install custom Operating Systems such as CyanogenMod which might offer new features, greater speed, or better stability. While rooting may be a desirable choice when owning an Android powered device it is not always simple and if the process is messed up you could wind up with a useless device that is not covered under warranty anymore.

Android is an open-source OS and as such is welcome to customization from anyone. Developer tools can be found from Google.

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