The future of cell phone software with Android
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This paper describes the possibilities with Android.
What is Android and why should you care? To answer this question you have to take a look at your cell phone and how you use it. Even if you think that cell phones should be used only for making calls, Android will make a difference for you.
Let’s take the primary use of the cell phone as an example – making phone calls. Mobile phones are all different, yet each of them should have this capability. While the size and color of the buttons make a difference, there are other features that would be important to you such as voice calling and hot keys. With Android and technologies like touch-screen displays, even basic button sizes and colors will be fully customizable.
You are the only person who knows exactly what you need and probably noticed that the latest cell phones have more storage, more features and more functions. Say your phone comes with 1 GB of memory, yet more than half of it is allocated for mp3 and music; which you don’t need today since you have your favorite mp3 player in your pocket. With Android you can change that. Soon enough everyone will have a touch-screen mobile phone with a larger display. Some may look exactly the same on the outside, yet each will be totally different on the inside.
How often do you switch your cell-phone? Is it every year? Two years? Usually people hold on to theirs for at least 6 months and guess what – it is exactly the same cell phone every day! Now think how having a different cell phone every day might be convenient to you. With the ability to fully customize your phone it will be like a chameleon, adapting as often as you need to suit your present needs.
To better illustrate the point, let’s take a look at the following example. Imagine that today you are going on vacation to another country. With Android you can erase everything from your phone and put on new features. One might be on-screen keyboard for easier text messaging since you probably don’t want to pay the roaming fees. Perhaps capturing some scenery on video would be nice. You will be able to add video recording feature as well. How about downloading some maps of the area to make it easier to find destinations? What about a language dictionary? Ok… Now you are back from vacation and pressing a button on your phone to upload all the videos to a video sharing network. You don’t need to sign in and press a thousand other buttons since your phone was customized for you and stores all that information. A few button clicks and you are done. Now you don’t need the on-screen keyboard and video recording anymore, and since you are going to give an interview tomorrow, you need a voice recorder and some music to listen to while waiting. You connect your phone to your computer and update the functions with a few clicks. Now it is a voice recorder that can hold a few hours of recorded conversation and a few dozen of your favorite songs.
While features described above are pretty basic, Android offers more. You can go as far as getting and playing your favorite game on your mobile phone, Quake for example, or just have your own custom menu with modified features like clicking one button to take a picture and send it to everyone in your buddy list.
Now, what exactly is Android? It is a free mobile platform offering the ability to customize any software layer – operating system, middleware and applications. It is built on the Linux Kernel and is open source, which makes it free to the community. Pretty soon you will be able to find source codes for thousands of applications and modify it to better match your personality and lifestyle. The software development kit is available for free to download and use; and includes such components as emulator, libraries, debugging tools and source codes that you can use as an example.
Will this project be successful and widely accepted? While knowing the future is impossible, there are some factors that make it more obvious. Android is supported by Google and it looks like they advertise it very well. One of their latest efforts to make Android popular is the contest that provides ten million dollars in rewards for the best cell phone applications built on this new platform.
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