Android caught the world by storm and Nokia off-guard. Top manufacturers like LG, Samsung and HTC are quick to spot the trend and launched Android phones, which the rest are trying to catch up. Android is an operating system of choice for low-cost smartphones. There’s no question about it. But is Android designed for just geeks in mind? Given the fact that it is built on Linux just bolsters the argument.
Linux which was thought to be a Dark Knight for desktop computing never left the hard drives of geeks for two decades. New Linux flavors like Mandrake, Knoppix have made things easier for the general populace. Ubuntu, one of the later flavors of Linux, just made things a lot easier. Once installed, the keyboard, mouse and speakers work. With a little fiddling you can plug in an USB drive. Watching movies and playing music became easier too with Ubuntu. As you can see there is a big curve which Linux has to overcome. Android on the other hand did not have the same curve. It was adopted at a grand scale in less than two years. That doesn’t mean that it is any less geeky.
Frank Meehan, CEO of INQ made a comment about Android :
"If you go to a nightclub in any city in the world, the pretty girl has an iPhone or a BlackBerry. She doesn’t have an Android phone. She has no emotional attachment to an Android phone. It’s too complicated. It’s a geek device, it’s all wrong." (Engadget)
The immediate reaction to that comment is, how can he even say that. If we think about it for a second, he might actually be right. You buy a phone to use it. The whole notion of owning the phone, rooting it and making it do things which other phones can’t – well that’s just stuff or geeks. For rest of the population, the phone should do what it is supposed to do. If there is a pretty app, then it should run on it. If music has to be synced then there should be an immediate way to do it. As someone rightly compared, it is like a car. You don’t want to know what’s under the hood. All you want the car to do is take you from place A to place B, without troubling you too much for it. The same logic goes for the phone.
As per an earlier survey, the chance of an iPhone owner running the latest operating system are more than 80% and an Android phone owner running the latest OS are less than 10%. And that 10% happens to be geeks. What happens to the rest 90%? Some are still stuck with 1.5 and 1.6 versions of Android. Do you know that taking a screenshot on Android phone is more difficult than getting a ration card in India?
Simply put, Android isn’t all that intuitive. Not right now. It needs curation. It needs an app store or a iTunes like app to sync everything for you. Android still looks a lot like its elder cousin Linux. Android probably has a long way to go to challenge iPhone or even Blackberry in the coolness factor. What do you think of Android?