Ever wondered about… Android

Posted by Anthony Lewis

What is it?

Android is the mobile phone operating system (OS) from Google. A wide range of smartphones from a variety of manufacturers run the Android software, in the same way that the iPhone uses its own “iOS”, and Blackberry use their proprietary system. What sets Android apart is its open architecture. Essentially, it is designed so that anyone can develop apps and alter the phone’s setup, making it hugely customizable (compared to the iPhone and Blackberry systems, which let you install apps, but not alter the core interface of the phone).  Hence, fewer limitations on handset choice. It overcomes certain frustrations, such as allowing Flash where the ubiquitous iPhone does not. For mobile marketing this is important.

Connecting with customers through mobile technology is hugely powerful, so pay close attention – this is one bandwagon that just might be worth jumping on.

Why Should I Care?

With smartphone use increasing at a huge rate, the potential for reaching a large audience is great, and anyone thinking about mobile marketing can’t afford to ignore Android. Smartphones aren’t all about Apple, after all. It’s a fact that Android is stealing a march on the market – and expected to emerge as the number 2 OS this year. Also, as the tablet market grows in the next few years, Android tablets are likely to prove real competitors to the iPad. Apple tend to make one significant hardware release per year, whereas there can potentially be hundreds of handsets released running the Android software as so many companies have adopted it. It’s spreading fast.

So it looks like Android is here to stay. Google’s recent acquisition of Invite Media and Admob hints at future possibilities of this mobile marketing, and opportunities for advertising within apps as well as on mobile internet browsers will soon be abundant.  There are lots of considerations to be made here, though. It might be that you can offer a custom app to your clients, but equally important may be that your brand is listed and findable in other, general apps, while careful placement of adverts on the right mobile web pages or apps could be just as fruitful.

Anything else I should know?

While iPhones and Blackberries aren’t the only smartphones out there, neither are Android handsets. Nokia run Symbian, but wily developers have swiftly worked out how to hack their handsets to run Android on them. Like it or now, the hardware / OS landscape is opening up.

But for marketers, it will be important to remember who your audience is, and how they behave. For example, if you’re appealing to business customers, a Blackberry app might be the best way to connect. Don’t rule anything out. However, with millions of users taking up smartphones, you want to be able to get at as many of them as you can, whether it’s via their iPhones or their Android-wielding handsets. These technologies are still young, but the growth is fast. The potential is huge, so watch this space as it develops.  We are convinced that the rise of Android is significant for marketers.

Ever Wondered About is a new series on the Wisdom London blog, where we aim to demystify and explore what’s shaping our social interactions.  Coming up: Paper.li, and PPC. Wondering about anything else?  Tell us and we’ll investigate!

Ever wondered about how Ning could be useful for your business? Here’s our take.


One Response to “Ever wondered about… Android”

  1. […] Ever wondered about how Android could be useful for your business? Wonder no more. […]

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