Many around the world love the Android operating system, but usually not because of how great it is. Rather, they either love it because of the low cost devices it is attached to, or the many different ways it can be customized and repurposed to almost anything a new user wants. Of course, there are a number of people who claim to hate other operating systems because they don’t have the same features or customisability, but those people are actually few and far between. Often they are just parroting something else another person said anyway, and don’t really know enough about the operating systems to hate them.
For example, ask any iOS or Windows Phone OS user you know how to hack their phones to a new OS. Chances are very few of them have any idea how to do it. Then go ask any Android OS users you know the same thing. Again, chances are that very few of them know how to do it either, though you likely will find a few more who will know how to. It’s not that people want to know how to be able to modify their phones, but rather they are in love with the idea that they ‘could’ do it. That’s part of what’s wrong with the entire Android ecosystem. There are too many ‘could’ and ‘would’ users that aren’t interested in maintaining the system. In fact, they are often what contributes to these four problems.
Many Android users do not want to spend money
In some cases, they actually don’t have money to spend in the first place, as the Android market growth has lately been into new and developing markets, which rarely have the economical profiles to support expensive devices. However, visit any of these developing countries and the first thing you’ll notice is that anyone who has the money to afford an iPhone is carrying one. Switch over to the Android market, and there is a mix of devices from all sorts of manufacturers – but few of those device owners are willing to spend any real money. Now, this isn’t to say that Droid users in the UK and other developed nations won’t spend money. Rather, it’s to say that users in the undeveloped nations where Android is dominant don’t have credit cards and instant payments, or if they do, can’t afford to make them. Even if they had money, they’d often rather get hacked, pirated, or otherwise free apps.
Android is forked and fragmented almost beyond belief
If you have an iPhone or a Windows Phone, there is usually just one set of instructions you need to follow to fix a problem. At most, there might be two or three ways, but that’s it. A great example of this is in resetting your phone. Windows and iOS make it easy – a few of the same standard button presses and steps, and you can reset your phone. Not so with Android. There are literally a dozen different ways to reset your Android phone, and if they don’t work, then there are software apps you need to use for resetting it. Use the wrong app, and you can damage your firmware, meaning you’ll not be able to later update or restore the phone at all. This lack of standards might be great for some manufacturers, but it cripples the wider adoption potential of Android, and can make resolving a problem very frustrating.
Samsung is a bigger name than Android
The Samsung Touch Wiz overlay on their port of the Android operating system has always been more common than anything Google or any other Android manufacturer has offered up. Add to that the fact that Samsung was working on their own operating system (Tizen), which Google supposedly attempted to take down, and you’ve got a strange mix that sort of homogenises Android. This is in part due to Samsung having more of the Android market share than anyone else – but it’s also due to the fact that Google isn’t in the business of selling phones. Well, minus the Google Nexus anyway. This means that the heavy lifting is done by mobile manufacturers and people selling devices, while Google rakes in the top level marketing and search data, which profits them. Not everyone manufacturer is happy about this.
The battle for enterprise tech isn’t one Google will likely win
First off, Google is not known for their attachment to policies, or their lifetime of commitment to supporting items for users. Instead they are known for what can be described at best as delivering some good services, and providing reasonable search results. It’s Microsoft that provides professional email and corporate services, and lately Apple through a partnership with IBM that is also looking at shaking things up with their own corporate offerings. Then there is BlackBerry, which is still recognised as a leader in the mobile security field. Android, however, won’t be invited to that party. They are just too fragmented, too unreliable, and far too insecure in comparison to more closed and secure device ecosystems. That isn’t to say that the OS isn’t secure, but rather that it’s built around advertising and collection of user data. No one wants that if they are truly interested in security, which means no one truly interested in enterprise level security wants an Android.
In short, if the Android operating system doesn’t start making money for phone manufacturers and carriers, it’s not a problem for Google, but it is a problem for the carriers and vendors who support Google. This is because they aren’t getting anything out of the deal. Sure, they get a free OS, but that just ties them to Google, who will make any future money or ad revenue the users generate. So the manufacturer of a phone just gets the little profit the actual device generates, but none of the on going revenue stream.
It’s not unlike buying a home phone to call Amazon and order something. The phone manufacturer gets the profit from the retail sale of your home phone, but Amazon gets profit on every order you place – forever. Google is no different, and as long as people are using their OS, Google profits long after phone manufacturers have made their sale and moved on – yet it’s those same device manufacturers who are bound to support devices – while Google makes the profit.