Android has a very different philosophy when compared to Apple and its
Anyone can use Android OS in their smartphones for free, anyone can
modify Android, and anyone can develop applications for it without
requesting permission to place their apps in the Android Market.
Furthermore, Google also seeded the Android app market by holding
developer contests with cash prizes, so by the time the first Android
smartphone arrived in stores, there was already a selection of many
applications available for download.
Mobile phones used to be devices that simply made calls. Nowadays, they
are small computers able to send and receive e-mail, browsing the
Internet, and running software.
And unlike the desktop computer market, Windows doesn't have the
dominant market share in the mobile smartphone market. Worldwide, Nokia
dominates this market with the now open source Symbian platform. However,
in the U.S., Symbian hasn't really caught on with mainstream consumers.
HTC manufactures a great variety of Android smartphones. It also
manufactures the Google Nexus One. Some smartphones use a mixed Android
installation, and others include HTC's enhancement, Sense.
Sense is a user interface system based around widgets. Widgets are
small, always on apps that run on your smartphone screen for specific
tasks, such as posting Twitter updates or showing weather information.
This is somewhat similar to Windows Gadgets on desktop computers. The
screens use scenes centered around common activities, such as work and
social media, and HTC created several custom widgets to make using
smartphone activities easier. Sense also puts some information together,
like combining Facebook with phone contact information.
Sense smartphones come with a PDF reader, which is very useful for
reading attachments. It's also much easier to use Sense smartphones for
web browsing, because Sense allows for typical 2-finger gestures.
Motorola may be more responsible for Android's popularity than any other
The Motorola DROID smartphone was heavily advertised as a competitor to
the iPhone 4, and it became the first truly Android smartphone to hit the
Motorola's user interface enhancement is Blur, which is meant primarily
as a social networking feature that combines feeds from email messages
and sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, and places such messages
directly on the Home screen of your smartphone without the need to log
into separate applications.
In January 2010, Google introduced its own Android smartphone and made
the option to compete against other phone manufacturers in the Android OS
phone market they've themselves created. Nexus One is the first official
Google smartphone, and although it's made by HTC, it was sold by Google.
Anyway, there are plenty of other Android offerings worth serious
Keyboard vs. Touchscreen
One way you can narrow down your choices for selecting your appropriate
smartphone is by deciding if you're a keyboard or a touchscreen user.
If you feel uncomfortable with virtual keyboards, such as those offered
on the iPhone, you'd go with a keyboard smartphone.
Keyboards can slide out, such as those on the T-Mobile G1 and the
Verizon DROID, or they can flip out like the one on the Motorola FlipSide
or Motorola FlipOut (both Android smartphones)
A keyboard adds bulk to your smartphone, but they're nice to have around
when you'll need them.
No Keyboard will keep your smartphone slimmer and often means you'll get
a much better quality screen. The Google Nexus One,
and HTC EVO all skip the slide-out keyboard. The HTC EVO Android
smartphone will even allow you to do part of your text entry with your
Do you have to take on-site pictures or video as part of your day-to-day
duties? If that's so, you'll need to select a smartphone with a good
camera. The HTC EVO Android and DROID Incredible currently take the
You'll use the network every time you use your Android smartphone for
anything other than talking. So, you should go for unlimited access if
you can. Some companies charge more for smartphone data plans than they
do for data access on regular phones, so be sure to check the small print
before you commit yourself with a specific data plan.
If you plan on using your smartphone as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, you
may also need to purchase a plan that specifically includes it.
Android smartphones generally have 2 prices: one is the actual cost of
the smartphone, and the other is the price when purchased with a yearly
contract. The reason smartphones are much cheaper with a contract is
because the phone carrier charges you more every month to make up for the
much lower price of the smartphone.
Often you end up paying much less overall when you buy a smartphone with
contract, but it does mean you're locked into that contract and can't
switch services, upgrade smartphones, or cut back on minutes without
facing some sort of penalty (these restrictions are normally for the
first 6 months of your contract).
Generally, the price of Android smartphones without subsidy is around
$300 to $600. The price with a contract starts with $0.01.
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