Starting with the basics – Android is a smart phone operating system with development spearheaded by Google. In fact the operating system is worked on by a variety of companies which fall under the umbrella title of the Open Handset Alliance. It’s is an exceedingly powerful smart phone operating system as it allows a large degree of customisation and app availability. It is essentially a software stack (backbone for an interface). Many companies develop their own graphical user interface for the Android backbone and this is why you will find that almost every smart phone that utilises Android has a different interface (albeit with a lot of the same functionality).
Ok, so the good – well it’s highly customisable. It also boasts a massive array of apps. Android doesn’t pull any punches in this regard as it has over 100,000 apps available for download. This is just one aspect of how customisable the phone is. The other is that the software is not locked to the phone as such, this allows the savvier of users to tweak the internals and add or subtract from the operating system itself. This is great for the technically minded folks out there but it leads to the one complaint I have about the Android operating system and that is it sometimes is a little daunting to new (or non-technically minded) users.
The only real problem with the Android operating system is this – with a massive array of customisability options many people are going to feel as though they are not in need of a phone with such advanced capabilities. However, this is hardly a problem if you consider how easy to use most Android phones are out of the box. Many of the companies who have picked up the Android backbone have tailored their interfaces to be fairly user friendly. While the Android interface when untouched is functional – it remains just that. It is not the most attractive interface to behold. Depending on the phone you use this is not always an issue however.
Android processes software fast as well, so there is not a lot of lag or jerkiness in many of the phones that I have tested. Many people may not be too worried about eye candy anyway. Most of us just want something that works – and Android works, quickly. Sure, the native Android interface is a little less user friendly when you first approach it, but it is not a very steep learning curve. Regardless of the phone, there is going to be some sort of learning curve and the Android probably has a slightly steeper learning curve than many of its competitors. Although once you master it you’ll be adding apps left, right and center.
So the Android operating system is good, no doubt about that. However for novice users you might want to spend some extra time on getting your head around the interface. It will pay off in the long term however because there are a massive array of apps available for download (over 100,000 at present).