Growth of Smart Phones and Their Open Platforms

21 Feb

The phenomenal growth of smart phones in recent time comes from many factors.  The software platform is among the key ones.  A good platform is one that developers are willing to develop apps upon it and find it efficiently to do so.  Then, a high level of satisfaction needs to be maintained in the distribution of the apps so that both developers and users will keep developing and downloading the apps.

Both Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems are Unix-based derivatives.  Both systems place an application layer to process Java code and programs compiled from other programming languages.  Their implementations can be different but both become popular with the developers in the same fashion.  Developers came up with more apps in less time relatively to the other software platforms.  iOS even adopts Object C language and enables developers to use the language to develop apps on Mac platform.  Multiple apps came out from this made-smooth process.

Symbian is the flagship system of Nokia, the largest cell phone manufacturer on earth.  The operating system has its advantage in its executing performance.  However, a developer will have to go thru tedious coding jobs while referencing numerous documents in its programmers’ guide in his development efforts.  On the contrarily, it will be easier to do the same on Windows Mobile.  Microsoft provides good development tools and the developers can leverage their past experience with Windows systems.  The issue is the efficiency of the WM system.  It can well be the slowest among the systems mentioned.  A developer can crank out the best code s/he ever does but the app will run slow on WM just the same.

Market acceptance comes not only with good software library and operating system but also central distribution platform.  That is the case for smart phones.  Past efforts of Linux-based cell phones didn’t quite make it for the lack of enough quality software apps even with the support of major manufacturers like Motorola.  Porting of Linux to cell phone wasn’t an easy job to start with.  Then, the Java program doesn’t run efficiently due to the system and VM constraints.  Android places both hardware and application layers on top of the Linux cores.  As long as the developers follow the framework Google provides, the apps will run with the expected efficiency on the Android platform.  The Android Market provides a central distribution platform to ensure the quality level of the apps as well as the process of acquiring them.  The economy of scale kicks in and Android becomes a well-known brand name.

Similarly, iOS gets people’s share of mind in similar manners.  The benefits it provides to the developers and users are the same albeit it is not an open system.  Of course, the marketing prowess of Apple also helped.  Both Android and iOS prove the same model of success.

Android phones have made some progress since their onsets. There will be more to anticipate on release 2.2, 2.3 and on.  The open platform will continue as an critical factor in the growth of smart phones.

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