Monday, 11 March 2013

How did Android rejuvenate the low-end phones?


Android operating system rules the smartphone arena with over 60 per cent of the market share and offers plethora of features that no one would have imagined at the time of its initial release.

Android devices, be it smartphones or tablets, are available at a price range, which starts from as low as INR 3.5K, to as high as INR 46K. A time has come where it appears that even very cheap feature phones are in danger of being replaced by Android smartphones due to better features and performance. Although, it is said that Android is the ‘most closed open source project’ but it can’t be denied that it has rejuvenated the low end phones and gave them a new life. Here are some of the reasons why Android was able to succeed in low-end devices. 

Android is based on Linux kernel under the hood and the development tools for Android are available for free as well. Prior to the existence of Android, most of the low end phones used to be based on proprietary operating systems developed by device manufacturer themselves. But with Android, mobile device manufacturers don’t need to work on the software part as much as they did earlier and anyone can join in the program. Now, device manufacturers can spend a whole lot of their time on improving the hardware quality such as design, processing power and battery life rather than focusing on software.

Also, device manufacturers don’t have to worry about the development of applications and games for their devices; Google Play takes care of it. Although, there is a lot of fragmentation, a lot of necessary apps and games run just fine even in devices with some of the lowest-end hardware configuration. Communication applications like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and WhatsApp are compatible with every Android smartphone released in past 3-4 years and that’s what people need the most. Also, in my personal experience, prior to the release of Android, very few mobile subscribers used to subscribe to data plans in their mobile devices. But these days, a lot of Android smartphone users are using a data plan to download and use apps, services and games from Google Play. 

Apart from these things, an operating system backed up by Google services meant that people not only use the phone, they enjoyed it practically. Stuff like push mail notifications, calendar sync and accurate maps were not even imaginable in low end feature phones a couple of years ago. We can absolutely say that the quality and usability of low end phones has definitely been increased due to the presence of Android.