Elance Blog

The Emergence Of Android

“Droid Does”

If you’ve had your radio, television, or computer flipped on in the past month, you’ve most likely run into the phone that is a “bare-knuckled bucket of does.”  Although the ad campaign positions the Motorola’s Droid (and other Google Android-based phones, for that matter) as a device that is everything that Apple’s iPhone is not, Android does have an uphill battle in the mobile phone arena.

Some will say that Android’s 10,000 available applications are paltry when compared with Apple’s 100,000 apps and over 1 billion downloads to date, but despite this, Google and co. are still sitting in a favorable position to make power plays in 2010 and beyond. If you’re considering taking your idea or business platform on the go with a mobile application, here are 5 reasons why deploying on the Android platform as is a worthy of serious consideration for your business. (Need help getting started? Hire an expert Android developer here.)

Strength In Numbers: The adoption of Android by mobile phone and other technology manufacturers is palpable. Since the launch of the T-Mobile G1 on October of last year, there have been 26 Android devices released across carriers all over the world. In the states, the words "carrier exclusivity" do not apply: The Android operating system has managed to hit all four major U.S. carriers in the form of many devices (Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) with more slated to appear in due time.

Additionally, analysts from Gartner predict that by 2012, Android will become the world’s second most popular smartphone platform behind Symbian – with Apple’s iPhone in third place. Here are some other numbers to chew on: With the initial release of the Motorola Droid, analysts estimate that a quarter of a million devices were sold within the first week, and by 2013, Taiwan’s Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute predicts that there will be 126 million Android-based products shipped to the market.

Tools For Development: Although some found the initial software development kit for Android to be somewhat lacking, the SDK and its development community has matured substantially. The widely available open-source SDK contains a comprehensive set of tools, which include an emulator, tools, sample code, and core libraries, and there are large numbers of communities and user-generated help documentation floating around on the web to help you get started. The SDK is also available in multiple platforms, allowing even more flexibility for developers.

Additionally, Android-based devices operate utilizing Java combined with Google’s custom Java libraries, so those that are familiar with developing Java applications should have a relatively short learning curve when developing on Android. And if development isn’t your thing, there’s a large number of developers ready to get your app pushed to market. Skeptical? There’s more than 500 Android developers ready on Elance right now.

Road To Market: With Apple’s App store, getting an application published can be a humbling experience. Besides a subscription fee that can range from $99 to $299, there is an application approval process that every submission must meet before being released to market that has reported to sometimes take weeks at a time. Additionally, Apple requires all applications to be exclusively distributed through the iTunes network which also charges the developer 30% of all application revenue to be listed in the store.

Becoming an Android developer requires a one-time $25 registration fee, and publishing an application to the marketplace is a far more unsupervised process – simply code, upload, and publish when ready. Although some may believe that the lack of a review process can hurt more than it helps (remember the MemoryUp scandal), it appears that Google’s hands-off approach is here to stay, and it’s an attractive alternative for those having trouble setting up shop and staying open for business on the App Store. The Android Marketplace also isn't the only option for Googlers - developers are free to create, utilize, and control their own forms of distribution.

Access To Hardware: The Android platform allows developers open access to hardware elements to create a higher level of application customization when compared to the iPhone. With Android, developers are free to access the core phone hardware, meaning custom applications can be created to handle dialing, calling, text messages, camera usage, and more. More freedom when access hardware = more flexibility with application development and a higher level of third-party application integration. Also, Android gives applications the access to run in the background, allowing for multitasking and multiple running applications.

Less Competition: With 100,000 applications available on Apple’s App store, some view the market as oversaturated and that the gold rush for the most part has come and gone. With Android’s rapid global adoption, young and bustling app store, and its promising features and benefits, it appears the apple is ripe for Android developers to pick.

Links:
Elance - Android Developers

Comments

Although Android is still small in comparison with it's direct competitor, the iPhone, it's market share is continuously growing and it's getting more and more important.
As a top Android developer here on Elance, I can tell you that Android projects are more numerous, demanding and complex. It's definitely becoming the next big thing, and that's a fact