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361. An Unknown Story about "Android"

Choi, Ji-young 기자2016.03.02 00:00:00

     Android is a well-known mobile operating system (OS) that is distributed by Google. It has a unique position among the OSs installed in smartphones and tablets all over the world. According to the research data of ABI Research, a poll agency of the US, the Android accounted for about 86%, based on shipments in the second quarter of 2014. However, many Android users do not know about the Android in their devices. Therefore, it will be interesting to learn about the unknown story of Android through this article.

 

The Past of Android

     On July 2005, Google took over a small 'Android company' which was making an operating system for cell phones to prepare for the upcoming mobile era. At that time, Google made a group named Open Handset Alliance (OHA). It consisted of various companies like Intel, LG Electronics, and Motorola. The goal of this group was to develop open standards of mobile equipment. OHA presented their first mobile equipment platform Android on 5th November, 2007. In the same year, as Apple launched iPhone, competition between two prominent OSs started.

 

Why was Android distributed for Free?

     Google announced that the Android offered an 'open source' operating system on October 2008. It means that the software can be used for free and anyone can modify it. Andy Rubin was responsible for that. He was one of the founder members of the previous Android Company and worked as Chief Vice President. He aimed to make profits through service, not sales. This was because the software developing cost was maintained while the hardware developing cost was reduced. He thought that manufacturers would begin focusing on the Android without pressure of cost, if it was free. In reality, after Android was launched officially on 2008, its popularity with manufactures soared just as he had thought.

 

The Strategy to Earn Money from Free Distribution

     There are 29 basic applications in the Android 4.4 version Kitkat. More than half of the applications are connected with Google, such as Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play. This shows that Google can make money by just providing services, as Andy Rubin predicted. Users can modify the Android on their own but many people just use Google Map or YouTube. Therefore, the strategy of Google has been successful, considering that 80% of people in the world use it. Furthermore, this strategy threatened their Apple competitor iOS, because iOS also included Google Map and YouTube. Apple made Google earn money through their own OS, the iOS. However, Apple then erased these two applications. An ostensible reason was that the license had become invalid but most analysts said that they were displeased about Android making money through their OS. Although Apple deleted the apps, Google can still earn money if iOS users download applications related to the Google service. Among the profits Google earned, mobile advertising accounted for 41% of the whole mobile advertisement market and it earned 19 trillion 400 billion won in 2014.

 

The Rival of Android

     Although Android is matchless compared to any other OS, it also have rivals. 'Open source' made the Android the best at the initial stage, but it started to impact on sales at the same time. Some manufactures used the Android after modifying it and they usually removed the Google service. This is generally called an 'Android Open Source Project (AOSP)'. Actually, the Android accounted for 65% of the 86% and the AOSP accounted for 21% in the whole smartphone market. Nowadays, manufactures who are using the AOSP are mostly Chinese and Indian. They started to make their own OS using the AOSP as their technical skills quickly grew. For example, Xiaomi have their own OS, called MIUI. There are Mi Apps instead of Play store to download applications. Moreover, there are no YouTube, Google Map, and Gmail in the MI Apps. Although the AOSP is based on Android, it does not make a profit for Google. Currently, there are few users who differentiate the Android and the AOSP yet, but Google is concerned about the growth of these internal rivals.

 

     Android was always ranked high and most users around the world are using it. In addition, more and more manufactures will use the Android. At this time, when various competitors such as iOS, Windows, and the rapidly growing Tizen are developing their competitive quality, many people wonder what will be the strategy of Google towards the AOSP.

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