Navigating the Android market

Apple's legal victory over Samsung is just the latest chapter in the platform's saga


It’s “platforms” month here at TOC and we covered the current state as well as future predictions for iOS in an earlier article. Now it’s time to shift the focus to Android. It didn’t take too long for me to figure out who we need to talk with about Google’s OS. Brian Jepson is senior editor of Make books here at O’Reilly and he lives and breathes Android.

Depending on who you ask you’ll discover that Android is either crushing iOS or so splintered that it’s having little impact on Apple’s momentum. What does all that mean for publishers? That what I set out to learn in this conversation with Brian.

Key points from the full video interview (below) include:

  • Why should publishers care about Android? — iOS seems to be the only platform publishers and app developers are making money on. It’s not just about making money though as engagement is important too. [Discussed at the 1:00 mark.]
  • Nexus 7 as game-changer  — The price makes it a force to be reckoned with. Brian bought one and hasn’t touched his Kindle Fire since. [Discussed at the 5:07 mark.]
  • The problem with too many free apps — Unlike Brian’s experience, I rarely need to pay for Android apps. That’s great for consumers but might spell trouble for developers and their ongoing interest in the platform. [Discussed at the 7:01 mark.]
  • Finally a platform for innovation — Samsung lost the first round in the legal battle with Apple but it’s nice to see that Android devices are starting to do more than simply copy the functionality of iOS devices. The Samsung Galaxy S III phone is a terrific example. [Discussed at the 10:20 mark.]
  • Evolution, not revolution — Don’t look for radically new Android releases anytime soon. Brian feels Google learned their lesson with the dramatic (and in some ways, painful) shift from Gingerbread to Honeycomb and isn’t likely to make that mistake again. [Discussed at the 13:50 mark.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

This post is part of the TOC podcast series. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.

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