India Gets a Taste of Android Magic
When Google announced that it was working on an open source OS for cell phones in 2007, the world promptly sat up and took notice. It was not that open source mobile operating systems had not been developed before, but the involvement of a company like Google made many see this venture in a whole new light. In November 2007, Google not only unveiled Android but also announced the formation of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) to develop open standards for mobile devices with the likes of Google, LG, Samsung, Intel and HTC on board. The open source mobile ball was well and truly rolling, powered by Android.
Needless to say, there was immense curiosity about the new operating system. Would it finally herald the arrival of open source software in a big way in the world of cell phones? Would it strike a blow against the hegemony of Nokia, Microsoft and RIM in the mobile OS space by offering powerful devices at a relatively lower price? The first Android device, the HTC G1, was released last year and while there were some mutterings about the device’s less-than-designer looks, no one could deny that the phone’s OS was a formidable one. Most significantly, Android represented one of the first times in tech history that the OS of a mobile phone had grabbed the headlines. At the time of writing this article, no fewer than three phones running Android have been released and in each case, it has been Android rather than the phone’s specifications that have made the headlines.
And it’s no different in India. When HTC unveiled Magic with Airtel, it was not the phone’s processor, camera or touchscreen that dominated the launch but what was under its hood—Android. Needless to say, we promptly stood in line for a device and when we got one, put it through its paces quite thoroughly.