The number of smartphone users worldwide today is over six billion and is predicted to further grow by several hundred of millions in the next few years.
This means that over 80% of the world’s population owns a smartphone, driving businesses to invest more in mobile applications to boost revenue while simultaneously creating more job opportunities for developers.
Android is a leading operating system in the mobile OS market with a share of close to 70% as of January 2022. Together with the other substantial benefits, using Android OS in business operations can make businesses thrive.
I had a chance to talk about the advantages of Android OS and why you should choose it for your business, with Roman Chekashov, a leading industry expert in Android Software Development.
Android is the leading mobile OS worldwide, accounting for almost 70% market share, while iOS takes up just 25% of the market.
Therefore, there are much more Android users than those using iOS or Windows Phone OS. For instance, the app that Roman developed in his company was downloaded more than 2 mln times on Google Play, while just 400,000 users downloaded it on App Store.
Roman recommends identifying the target market for your application in the first place. If Android is dominating the market, you can start developing an Android application. Thus you’ll ensure that the app is widely available on the lion’s share of smartphones in the market.
Smartphones operating on Android OS also vary depending on types of users, technical characteristics, cost (there are affordable options, like Meizu, or ultra-premium ones, like a Samsung Galaxy S series smartphone) and so on. It makes Android suitable for different industries (finance, hospitality, healthcare, retail, etc) and various tasks.
The market offers us more and more robust digital devices with unique features. For example, Android Auto for cars, smartwatches, smart TVs and so on. Android OS is able to maintain the functionality of them at the highest level.
For instance, nowadays companies turn to customization of Android for vehicle infotainment systems (Android Automotive). The codebase is the same, while there is added support for automotive-specific features and requirements.
Another example is Android Enterprise. It’s an initiative that enables the use of Android devices and apps in the workplace. For instance, scanners for tracking inventory, medical devices to monitor patients remotely, knowledge worker devices and so on. Besides, Android has become a preferred OS for powering medical devices in the healthcare industry. Opportunities for your business are endless.
Android OS as well as all libraries are open-source. In contrast, iOS is not. To start developing an app on iOS you have to buy a MacBook in the first place, as the IDE (Integrated Development Environment or Xcode) works only on macOS.
All Android users, on the contrary, have the option to do what they want with their hardware. They can root to gain administrative access, thus creating the freedom to use and modify their smartphones and tablets’ features the way they want to.
The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) offers the information and source code needed to create custom variants of the Android OS, port devices and accessories to the Android platform. The website states that the goal is to avoid any central point of failure in which one industry player can restrict or control the innovations of any other player. Android can be ported to nearly any device and provide public documentation that is available to everyone.
Android offers a convenient file manager that helps organize folders and files the way you like and find downloaded files quickly and easily.
Moreover, an Android smartphone can be used as an external drive when you connect it to a PC. As a result, you can copy stuff you need to and from the phone without additional software.
In contrast, you can’t transfer files from a PC without installing iTunes first. Downloading files from your browser and locating them on iOS is also impossible.
Despite the fact that many smartphone brands have removed this option, still many offer expandable storage with a memory card. iPhone, for instance, never supported expandable memory.
With Android, you can personalize almost anything: from the process of unloading the device to teeny-tiny icons no one knows about. Any app can be customized for any device, screen size and user’s preferences. Moreover, Android supports multi-language support. To compare, Android offers more than 100 languages while iOS supports just around 40.
Android is also flexible in terms of customizing the home screen. You can experiment with widgets, apply different icon packs, personalize the layout of the home screen, swap out the default apps, check the theme settings, switch to the dark mode and many more.
Besides, Android allows other apps (launchers) to take over the management of the home screen.
As most users love to customize their apps, in this case Android OS is a much more favorable option.
The split-screen mode helps to avoid going between two apps over and over again. Luckily, Android supports the split-screen mode, making multitasking easy and available anywhere.
To compare, you can split the screen on an iPad as well. However, there is no such built-in feature on iPhones, so you have to download third-party apps to be able use it.
Furthermore, Android 10, supports activities on secondary displays. If an activity is running on a device with multiple displays, users can move the activity from one display to another.
If you have to share your smartphone with other people, the option of setting up additional profiles or enabling the guest mode is what you need. Android allows people to use a smartphone with different accessibility settings.
Every user has their own profile with their own apps, settings, wallpaper and so on. It’s simply a different device. Most importantly, users are guaranteed that their personal information stays private no matter who is using the device. Everything is separate: emails, docs, calendars and so on.
You can control almost all functions on your Android smartphone, including root access that allows you to manage more advanced smartphone settings. Android apps ask permission to use almost any feature of the OS: geolocation, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and so on. Apps get access only if a user agrees. The latest Android versions impose more restrictions for developers thus providing higher security levels for users.
The guide on Android permissions states that developers should follow the goals related to user privacy. It includes
Android Enterprise is a solution that manufacturers integrate into devices in order to provide a common set of device management APIs. Thus businesses can be sure that the usage of devices in their companies is safe.
Android Enterprise provides privacy and security for both employees and businesses. As a management solution, it allows using employees’ own devices safely while ensuring that work things stay secure. Employees can use their personal devices for work by utilizing the Android work profile. Admins can choose which employees get access to which apps.
Finally, you may set up hundreds of devices automatically or a single one manually.
Android devices provide built-in security. Google claims that they ensure that device makers meet its strict hardware standards.
Security functions run in a trusted execution environment (TEE) to make sure the OS stays safe to prevent leaks and hacks. For example, protected lock screen and data encryption.
As mentioned before, Android controls every employee’s device simultaneously. A business owner can configure settings the way he or she wants.
Despite all the advantages of Android OS, which OS to choose depends on your business needs. Prior to starting mobile app development, consider your goals, limitations, timing, challenges and so on. It’s also important to determine the target audience’s location (e.g. people in North America probably prefer iPhone to Samsung) and budget (as we’ve discussed, iOS development is more costly).