Yet for all that, the rewards of Android are high. The “community” is growing rapidly. Price is a huge factor. You pay a lot less for a Samsung, HTC or LG Android device than for an iPhone. There is a greater danger of malware getting into such an open environment however, and one reads scary stories. But generally speaking, Android offers you all that is needed. A very small number of users update to the latest version of the Android OS, which is surprising and foolish and a cause of some surprise in me. Maybe it’s just that I’m so fanatical about having the latest update of every app, let alone every operating system…
So it comes down to which model you like. Most people seem to like Samsung. Samsung is a huge company, not as big as Apple yet, but getting there. Moreover, until recently at least, Samsung Electronics were primarily a component manufacturer. Apple and all the big players are major customers for Samsung’s products. They are, weirdly enough, the world’s second largest chip builders and the world’s second largest ship builders. True story. From silicon chip to frigate and ship. Talk about a wide portfolio. Gossip is, speculation says, people are saying … (tell it not in Gath) it would be in Samsung’s interests to design their own OS. Yes! To be like Apple, to design the devices and the OS that runs perfectly on them. Google and some of the smaller Android OEMs might well sleep uneasily in their beds… Word is Samsung already have a prototype OS well into development. Certainly, if I were head of Samsung it’s what I’d set my team to work on. Full integration. In the beginning Palm showed that it worked. Apple has shown it works. Blackberry showed, in its heyday, that it worked. Windows on the other hand showed that not being in control of hardware but providing general software for a range of third party OEMs emphatically did not work. So they scratched their heads and came up with the compromise that is
I like Windows Phone. I was there for its British launch and I applauded the guts with which MS admitted how far from the path of good design and delivery they had strayed with their atrocious early forays into the field. Windows 8 replaced the original 7 (much to the dismay of Nokia who had invested quite a lot in the first two Lumia devices that couldn’t be upgraded to 8 ) and is a fine option as your preferred smartphone OS. You get seamless integration with your Xbox (which was the only good hardware that Microsoft had ever come up with at this point, the brilliant Kinect being its crowning glory) you get little tiles that bristle with info and updates and notifications, and you get a stern Apple like SDK which means developers can’t muck around with its APIs and ways of behaving too much. Some people take to it instantly, others find it a bit cumbersome in some areas. Give it a week and you’ll get used enough to want to keep it, I reckon. The Nokia and the HTC 8x are both excellent. There’s something cheery and optimistic about them. Just about all the apps you’d want are there, as well as the business end of things with SkyDrive and Office and all that sort of howd’youdo.
So we come down to the BlackBerry which was launched today. I’ve been lucky enough to have had one for a little while to play with and I am very impressed. Everyone knows how high the stakes are for BlackBerry (formerly known as RIM or Research in Motion) – their share of the market has been falling and unless they can coax back some users it is generally regarded that they will be toast. Gobbled up by Lenovo (who gobbled up IBM, the original and biggest and most unassailable name in computing there ever was, but whose ThinkPads are now made by the Chinese giant) or gobbled up by someone else. Gobbledytoast, that’s what the wiseacres are predicting if BlackBerry doesn’t get this one right.