The main goal of our thesis is the design and development of an Android application. At first the choice for this operating system seemed logical, but now it raises some questions. Why was Android a logical choice? What are strong points of Android? What does or did Android mean for our society?
In this blog post, I hope to find an answer to most of these questions.
Let’s solve one question at once: why was Android a logical choice?
This question is probably answered by a countless number of ‘Android fanboys’. I will discuss some relevant advantages of Android, based on this article written by one of these fanboys.
In my opinion, the main reason why so many people (both developers and costumers) choose for Android is the accessibility. A lot of reasons mentioned in the article above, can all be brought back to this accessibility.
For example: choices, choices and more choices. A customer that chooses for the Android doesn’t choose for a specific smartphone brand. Samsung seems like a logical choice, but there are a lot more brands that use Android as their default operating system. In this way, Android doesn’t block the level playing field on the market of smartphones.
If we compare this to the second most widely used operating system, Apple, we see a completely different company philosophy. Suppose all the smartphones in the world have the IOS operating system, this would mean all smartphones in the world are Apple devices. Hence, Apple doesn’t care at all about a level playing field and their ultimate goal probably is ruling the complete smartphone market.
When all smartphones in the world have the Android operating system, this doesn’t learn us anything about the distribution of smartphone brands. Samsung would be a big shareholder of the market share, but other companies like Huawei, Motorola and many others could also be big players of this market. Hence the level playing field of this market is not at all destroyed by the Android operating system.
What does this mean for developers? As an IOS developer, you’re bound to Apple devices. If you don’t like these devices, you can’t test or even show an application you developed. For Android instead, you have a wide choice of brands to choose from. The result is that the threshold for developing Android applications is a lot smaller than with other operating systems.
Conclusion: today, Android is king of the accessibility (in a very broad sense)!
Of course we have to pay attention and keep in mind that it’s not all peace and harmony in the smartphone world. A smartphone also has a lot of downsides. Some of these downsides are important to really know what Android did or does mean for our society.
A smartphone (nevertheless the operating system) is the perfect symbol for creative destruction.
One of the goals of a good operating system is being able to perform a lot of tasks. This means that it probably replaces other technologies. As we can see in the above picture, the smartphone is responsible for the ‘destruction’ of a lot of technologies.
Hence we have to remark: the more powerful ‘king Android becomes’, the more technologies will come to an end.
Another side of the coin is the limited number of countries that intensively use and rule the smartphone technology. Today there are still a lot of countries that are not able to make use of this technology. The result is that application development or the always developing smartphone industry reaches only a limited number of people.
As we can see in this image, a lot of people in the world don’t own and will probably never own a smartphone.
What I want to conclude here is that due to this technology the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (both with knowledge and capital). Hence, in my opinion, Android and all other operating systems are inseparably linked to the Matthew effect.
As a last remark I want to quote the main idea of this article:
As mobile smartphone owners gobble up more content, their perceived utility (or quality) of the content drops. While quality is partially based on mobile device type, media content quantity determines utility or satisfaction.
Translated in terms of Android app development I would say the following: nowadays the marginal utility for every new application or feature is not equal. Where in the past very big improvements were made, and an application could have a very big added value, it’s difficult to achieve the same added value these days.
Especially on Android, where tons of applications are available, it’s difficult to improve the world at once. One thing I learned from the article I referred to, is that we have to improve the world with small steps.
Hence the marginal utility for every new developed application is not as high as that for previously developed applications.
I hope by now we’ve both learned a lot about up- and downsides of Android in our society. What I conclude from the research in this blog post: the Android operating system has a lot of opportunities, but with these opportunities comes great responsibility!
Please feel free to share your thoughts or any suggestions!