Let’s start with a vague response – the Google Android OS is great because it is made by Google. You know it is going to be good when a company like Google develops a software based solution (for the most part). The Android operating system is a smart phone operating system developed by Google. Companies have started using the Android OS as their main operating system for their smart phone technology. The OS itself is not really an OS as such. Google call it a software stack. This is essentially a communication bridge between the hardware and the software that the company wishes to use as the OS.
For simplicity – we will label it as an OS however as it is the integral part of bridging the phone’s hardware with the software. The beauty of the Android operating system is that it is an open source solution. Anyone can utilise the code base and alter it for their specific purpose. It also means that app developers can take a peek at the code and see how it works in order to tailor their apps for use on any smart phone that utilises the Android OS (or software stack). Android also is not limited to the carrier (unlike the iPhone’s OS). Many carriers are taking advantage of the open platform in order to exploit their wares to a larger demographic of users.
So let’s look at why this is a great thing for consumers. Firstly, the ability to make apps for developers – as a developer you won’t be limited to writing apps for Apple. Apple requires developers to jump through a multitude of hoops in order to develop for their platform (objective C, anyone?). It also means your apps are more accessible to a greater number of people because they may not be specific to a single phone – it is heavily reliant on how many manufacturers use the Android backbone.
This works out great for consumers as well. It means more apps. Google is developing a suite of tools that non-developer types can use to make their own apps. Quite handy really – it means consumers can make their own apps for their own purposes. It also means that they can go forth and share the apps they create (or even sell them). So you don’t actually have to be a developer to develop for the Android platform.
The other great thing about Google’s Android solution is that it gives manufacturers the ability to add to the OS. It means they can tailor their phones to best utilise the Android backbone which means a more functionality laden market. You won’t be limited to Apple’s way of doing things or the Apple app store to add functionality to your phone. More competition means more innovation. This innovation hits the market as a greater range of choices for the consumer. Everyone wins in this regard. This is the reason the Google Android OS is so great. It is enabling a competitive (smart phone) industry. The industry will not be dominated by a single device for much longer!