According to Neilson’s Q3 report, Android has captured 43% of the smartphone market (and 18% of the total market for all mobile devices). In other words, almost 1 in every 5 people walking down the street with a cell phone in their hands are sporting an Android phone. With this extremely high market penetration, one would think that most media coverage would be directed toward Android products, especially in comparison to the Apple IOS, which is actually much less popular but hyped more.
Apple’s intense marketing campaign has been extremely effective. The iPhone has risen to almost mythic status in American popular culture. Why hasn’t Android risen to merit similar acclaim? Well, its first issue is the diversity of devices that use the platform. There is absolutely no advertising promoting the features of updates to Android operating systems as they are released. Instead, any advertising for Android devices comes in the form of promotion for individual phone models. While this stratified approach will create sales, it won’t be as news or blog-worthy as Apple updates.
That being said, let’s attempt to rectify this lack of Android hype, starting with a explication of Android’s newest operating system: Ice Cream Sandwich.
For those that believe that the iPhone runs the most visually appealing, intuitive software, think again. Android phones running Ice Cream Sandwich certainly give Apple some stiff competition. Its interphase is extremely streamlined. For example, Ice Cream sandwich has eliminated the need for physical buttons. Instead, “home,” “back,” and “menu” have been integrated on screen. They rotate when the user physically rotates the phone for easy access no matter what orientation the phone is in.
Unlike the iPhone, Ice Cream sandwich allows the user to completely customize the home screen. Users can place widgets, apps, and shortcuts on their phone’s homescreen that are resizable and not regulated to gird placement. Widgets are accessible right from the home screen, which means that users can access important information like their inbox directly without needing to open an external application.
One of Ice Cream Sandwich’s most interesting features its system application “People.” Akin to most phones’ “Contacts,” People provides Android users with a one-stop-shop for information about their acquaintances, merging social media information and contact data in one place.
Ice Cream Sandwich is forward thinking. One of its most advanced capabilities is its facial recognition ability that allows users to unlock their phone simply by looking into the camera. Cool. No?
The above features are just a snapshot of the many fantastic capabilities of the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. Although many Android phones have yet to receive the capability to upgrade to this new software, many users can expect these new capabilities by early 2012.
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