Google’s Android path to success

Google has developed the Android mobile operating system (OS) from an outsider to the world’s best selling platform, overtaking various rivals and bringing smartphone functionality to the masses. It has now diverged into two distinct types, with one designed for mobile phones while the other is aimed at tablet computers, although both share the same basic features and heritage.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread is the latest edition designed for smartphone users. It has various tweaks and improvements over previous generations of the software, but perhaps the biggest change is the support for NFC (Near Field Communication) which Google has backed up with the launch of its own-brand Nexus S handset. NFC is designed to be used at compatible terminals and hotspots in retail outlets so that people can buy products and make small payments for services without having to get out their wallet, pay with a card or use cash. Google is the first major firm to start the roll-out of NFC in mobiles and it is thought that rivals like Apple and Nokia are also going to enter the market, so the search giant has made a shrewd decision to lead the way.

LG Optimus 3D

Android phones are not only getting new NFC tech but they are also the first which will support dual core processors, full HD video capture and 3D displays. The LG Optimus 3D is an upcoming handset which will encompass every one of these high end features well before the competition, allowing for glasses-free 3D movie playback and even recording of 3D video clips using its dual five megapixel camera setup on the rear. Meanwhile the dual core chipsets of the HTC Sensation and the European version of the Samsung Galaxy S2 are the first to run at 1.2GHz, setting the benchmark for performance.

Android is not just for hardware enthusiasts as the arrival of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play shows that gamers can also find something to like. The Xperia Play is the first PlayStation certified mobile, with slide-out controls to make gaming much more interactive than it is on most touchscreen-only smartphones. A selection of exclusive PlayStation games and the promise of much more to come make this an intriguing choice, since the recent launch of Windows Phone 7 with its own Xbox Live compatibility shows that whatever your console allegiance there is a mobile platform for you to pick and the best Android phones are all about offering support for this market.

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