I have news for you folks. Android has not been cool until this very year. I know this is difficult to hear, but before your geek love pride is bruised know that I love Android more than most. I started this blog. It’s about Android. Therefore, I’m probably justified in making this point.
Like many other people, I fell in love with Android around 2009. Not being an early adopter type, I was a little sketched out the T-Mobile’s G1 and it’s swinging arm mechanism. At the risk of offending that one person who’s still using their G1, the phone, much like Android itself, was awkward, geeky and ugly.
At the same time, it didn’t really help that Apple was, with all it’s usual pizazz of buy-this-to-be-cool advertising, plugging the hell out of the iPhone. In terms of sexiness the “I’s had it.
Fast forward to 2010 and 2011 and the number of Android users exploded. The moniker “Droid” became the closes thing to a unifying, household brand, so much so that practically everyone with an Android device was asked at some point “Hey, is that a Droid?” At which point you’d either have to say “Yes”, which was completely and annoyingly wrong or get into a lengthy explanation of how Droid was a brand, while Android was an operating system. Not great first date conversation, FYI.
Android was a utilitarian interface coupled with a hodgepodge of devices, some of which were great but many were just terrible. I bought three different devices that year all of which were of equal sluggishness and half-hearted usability. It wasn’t an Android problem, it was a hardware problem. Inevitably, any die hard Android owner had to hear from someone who bought a cheap Android phone complain about freezes, crashes and, well, eventually they’d just go buy an iPhone.
Android Finally Gets The Hardware It Needs
I absolutely concede that I have vested interested in the continued growth of Android, but there’s no doubt in my mind that 2012 is different for several reasons.
First, Android users have never has access to such wonderful hardware on such a large scale. As of this writing, you can buy a very powerful Galaxy Nexus directly from Google sans contract for only $400.00. If you’re used to being on contracts that may seem like a small fortune to pay for a smartphone but, whether you believe it or not, you’re not getting off any cheaper going for a stifling two year contract.
The major Android manufacturers are continuing to release beasts of Android devices like the Galaxy S III and the HTC One X. Unlike tightly curated world of iOS, you need powerful hardware to pull off Android devices that actually worth a damn. Unlike previous years, 1Ghz devices have become the standard and, largely, are within most people’s reach.
Sure, relativism between the hardware and software is always a factor. But, again, my gut is telling me that 2012 is the year that, across the board, more people will have access to powerful devices that can run Android the way that God, Heaven and all of creation wanted.
Android Apps: No Longer Left Out In The Cold
No matter how expensive their device was, Android owners have felt left out in the cold for one reason: the apps we had suck. Now, some of you disagree on my harsh stance on bad apps, but realize that this goes much deeper than superficial choices of what apps to install on my phone. I don’t like anything bad. I don’t have time for it and, most importantly, I’m attracted to devices, people and places that breed quality in every action they do.
Android was shunned from even the basic apps like Twitter and Angry Birds (always seeing an iOS release before Android). These apps became the envy of every Android user even as recently as the release of Instagram. Here’s an app that Android user had been salvating over for at least a year and half and since it’s release a few months ago Instagram has already has whopping 10 million downloads.
This year, more than any other, Android has access to the apps that have made iOS what it is. No longer do Android users have to bitch and moan about the apps they hear about from iPhone users but can’t have.
Just as important, Android developers have finally become responsive to what users want: great looking apps. Instead of simply shoveling out bland UIs built on base templates, developers finally understand that looks do, in fact, matter. Obviously this is a blanket statement for a range of different developers and apps, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t half way true.
Android 4.0 For The Win
If you haven’t already seen Ice Cream Sandwich, you should stop whatever you were planning to do with your life today. Android 4.0 represents an evolution of the operating system built upon flexibility while simultaneously looking pretty F***ing great. It’s pretty, sexy, minimal and functional in ways that blow old version of Android and iPhones out of the water.
Android 4.0 is smart. Support for Near Field Communication, hardware acceleration, panoramic camera modes, etc. Ice Cream Sandwich brings the most dramatic user interface and feature set of any version of Android. Best of all it feels like Android on its own terms, all grown up like and not a copy of anything from Apple.
2012 Is The Year Of Android
Whether you believe it or not 2012 is the year of Android. This year, unlike all others, will be the year that Android goes from obscurity to the fore front. From “Hey, do you have a Droid?” to “No, I have an Android.” And maybe, just maybe, people will know what the hell you’re talking about for once.