Androids Among Us

What is an android? Well, originally it meant a manlike robot, then it was shortened to “Droid,” which promptly entered the vocabulary in 1977.

These aren't the droids you're looking for...

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…

Fast-forward more than thirty years, when Google developed a mobile operating system for smartphones and tablets to compete with Apple’s iPhone, and called it Android.

The iPhone was the first so-called “Smartphone,” essentially a pocket-sized computer with internet access, email, PDA functions, and GPS, among other features. Android phones (and now tablets, too) are similar, but there are important differences.

By the way, please don’t call an Android phone a “Droid”; that is a trademark of Verizon Wireless applied to their Android phones.

One of the major differences between Android and Apple iPhone products – and one of the reasons I really like Android – is that Android is “open source.” This means that the actual programming code the operating system is built from is freely available for people to analyze, pick apart for flaws, change for their own purposes, and improve upon. Thus it is very well understood by many people who are not employees of the company. “Closed source,” on the other hand, is what Apple practices with their operating systems, and they certainly have a right to guard their intellectual property in that fashion. Problem is, if there’s a security flaw, say,  you may not know about it for months, until the company issues a fix. With open source, since lots of people who don’t have a vested interest are looking at the code, the fix may take just as long, but the flaw can often be exposed quicker.

Buy an Android phone, and save money you will!

Buy an Android phone, and save money you will!

Another benefit of open source is that anyone can modify it as needed for whatever strange and esoteric hardware they dream up. This gives you, the end user, an incredible array of choices. There are only a handful of different iPhones for sale at any given time, but there are hundreds of different android phones available. They can also be much less expensive than an iDevice.

A third reason I’m fond of Androids is I like to tinker and customize. I find that Android has lots more knobs and switches (figuratively speaking!) than the iPhone has. Now this may be a benefit for the new user, but after a while, you may find yourself wishing for more options.

I think that both Apple and Android devices are about equally easy to operate; if you haven’t made up your mind yet, I encourage you to try both, and wring them out over a period of an hour or more before making a decision.

For more information on Android:

http://www.gcflearnfree.org/androidbasics/2

For more information on iPhone:

http://www.macworld.com/article/2049277/iphone-basics-how-do-i-work-this-thing.html

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/consumer-electronics/iPhone/iPhone-Basics.html

For even more empowering technology info, read my new book, “Deciphering the 21st Century,” Available now!

Click here to read all about it.

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