How Android changed the technology industry
Not so long ago the IT industry was diversified to such a degree that the average man in the street could easily pigeon hole most IT companies eg Microsoft was an office software corporation, Apple was a consumer electronics corporation and Google was a web services corporation. However in the past few years leading IT companies have homogenised to such a degree that there are few differentiators and one of the main reasons behind it was the Android operating system from Google.
As recently as 2007 the only products that Google produced were internet based eg a search engine, email and an advertising network but the launch of the iPhone from Apple changed all that. Its phenomenal success persuaded Google to develop the Android operating system which was released in 2008 and ultimately used in 2010 in the Nexus One,a smartphone it made in partnership with HTC.
As the Android was based on open source software, it also had to be open source and that led it being adapted by a plethora of electronic manufacturers which further fuelled the growth of smartphone market and has caused a snowball effect. The popularity of the smartphone led to the development of the tablet and has caused a decline in the sale of PC’s. Large IT companies dependent on the PC like Microsoft, Dell and HP have reacted to its decline and all three have developed or are developing smartphones and tablets which have led to the current homogenised state in the IT industry.
Where can the industry go from here, is it the end of IT companies losing their distinctive advantage? Thankfully no. Google which started the trend towards homogenisation has moved on. This month aside from releasing a tablet it developed with Asus called the Nexus 7, it has also released an entertainment hub, the Nexus Q, which streams music and video from its Google Play music store and contains a high-quality amplifier that puts it on a par with the best digital music equipment on the market. This is an interesting development and from my perspective could revolutionise the music entertainment system for the digital age.
Not content with adding a new entertainment system Google has also announced further news relating to its augmented reality project, Google Glass. Google is looking for developers to create apps for its new technology and for $1,500 they can obtain a prototype of the new glasses by early next year and benefit from first to market advantages.
In years to come I expect we will look back at this current homogenised state as an unique occurrence about by the development of the Android open source software as and while it has had its disadvantages it has reenergised the hardware industry and that’s not a bad thing.