Now that two completely different versions of the software developer’s kit (SDK) have been released, it’s time to assess what’s being said about Google’s foray in the mobile arena. Did it improve on the initial offering? What changes were made? Does Android look like it’s going to live up to its hype?
Around 4-6 weeks ago, there was a lot of backlash surrounding the SDK and how it was buggy, missing vital information, and not quite what was expected. Google’s name was being tarnished by bloggers and tech sites as word quickly spread that they were “being unresponsive to the developers” working on Android. After a week or so of hype, the consensus among bloggers and fanboys was that people were just expecting way too much out of a pre-release SDK.
Fast forward to Mobile World Congress (MWC) and the public unveiling. The first few days of MWC had almost all interested parties singing Android’s praises as they found it to be considerably fast and intuitive, even on phone technology that was two generations old. “Imagine how fast it will be on new hardware!” A couple days later, Google drops the new SDK on the masses and all of a sudden, everyone divided themselves like some kind of Lord of the Flies tribes. Those who love it and see the future capabilities and those who loathe it and feel like it will end up being an also-ran in the cell phone market.
Did people really like the initial version that much? Why don’t they like the new version? I have my reasons and I’d like to share them with you. No matter how hard people try not to, they are going to subconsciously compare every other operating system to Apple’s iPhone. For this specific reason, they will be wrong in their assessment of Android.
See, the iPhone is not so much about what you can do with a mobile device. Rather, it’s about how it looks doing it. For those who understand and see the potential, Android is a completely different animal that, in concept, offers more. Android is about what mobile devices and phones will be capable of first. How it looks will be secondary. Having an open source OS, you’ll see skins and graphical user interfaces all the live long day. Like snowflakes, no two Android phones will look the same.
One must remember that an SDK is only the backbone for how things will operate. A good comparison would be to picture Windows on your desktop without any customization or programs installed. It’s up to you to make it run the way you want and look the way you like. And for those talking about all of the security concerns, stop worrying. Linux has proven to be a lighter, more secure operating system than Windows.
We were looking at an article on Gizmodo this morning that has a short video showing how the new SDK looks running basic functions like making a call. After watching the video, we glanced through some of the comments from readers as they reacted to how it looks. It seems like this UI is polarizing people. Either it’s loved, or hated. We’d like to point out one thing. This is a bare bones developers kit, designed for people to ‘sex up’ however they see fit. It can be equated this way. CSS and HTML are the backbone for most websites today. It can be very basic when left alone, or it can be some of the most practical and beautiful stuff you’ll encounter. It’s up to the person using the basic rules and code.
If you were here last week and saw the article on The Astonishing Tribe, you saw one of the companies involved in the Open Handset Alliance. TAT specifically designs user interfaces (UI) for mobile devices and their work is among the best in the world. We know we sound like unapologetic Android enthusiasts at times, but we sincerely think a lot of these detractors will be eating their words within the year.
What do you think of the video and Android’s basic design so far? Leave a comment below.
Next week will be the coming out party for Android. With roughly 100 days passed since the announcement of Android and the Open Handset Alliance, things have come together rather quickly for some. So who will be showing off their wares? You can expect to see plenty of players in the OHA rolling in to town to give consumers a glimpse at their 2008 products and services.
Handset manufacturers High Tech Computer Corp.(HTC), LG Electronics Inc., Motorola Inc., and Samsung are all confirmed. We’re also going to see chip makers Intel Corp. Broadcom Corp., and Qualcomm Inc. For the most part, the entire OHA will out representing in some form or another!
According to CNN Money, it is expected that up to 12 prototypes for Android will be shown at MWC. And here’s your final takeaway class… Just because you’re not part of the alliance, you’re not prohibited from making phones capable of running Android. Watch for ARM’s design next week and see what we mean.