Can you name the number one most used operating system on planet earth? If you said ‘Windows’ you’d be wrong. Actually, it’s a trick question. Android is tops, but Android, a visual and functional copy of the iPhone, actually is based on Linux. But let’s go with Android.
Android is dead. Actually, the question ‘Is Android dead?‘ was asked in an article on a major technology website recently, but the headline read, “Android as we know it is dead, but it’s not going away.” Alright, I get it. This is one of those argumentative opinion pieces designed to fill space during a slow news day.
Is Android dead? No. Is it dying? No. Is it changing? Yes, of course. Android OS put Microsoft’s mobile device hopes out of its misery, and keeps Apple hopping around to make iOS a better platform that is more private and secure for iPhone and iPad customers.
Is Android dying? Well, in a sense, yes, because things change and nobody can predict the future with much certainty, and just as it’s important to Remember The Alamo it’s just as important to remember what happened to Windows– topped by Android and iOS– and everything Microsoft did to make it the de facto OS of the 21st century that failed.
Things change. New products arrive on the scene and some herald the death of older products.
So, what’s happening to Android OS? Change. Google’s executives and engineers are not stupid. They saw what happened to Microsoft. They know full well what happened to their first iteration of an Android-based smartphone and once they saw the iPhone knew they had to start over because someone else invented the future.
Not only is the Android platform being weighed down by its legacy Linux kernel, with all that legacy code being the perfect breeding ground for bugs and vulnerabilities, there can be no doubt that Google would love to be free of all the IP entanglements that mean that hardware makers already operating on razor-thin margins are having to hand over stacks of cash to patent-license holders such as Microsoft.
Knowing that, what does Google have planned? What is Google working on to replace Android? Only Google knows, but the paragraph above gives us an idea of where Android– or whatever future OS Google foists upon an unsuspecting world– needs to change.
Remember Mac OS X? It came on the heels and death throes of Mac OS, back at the turn of the century. Mac OS X was new, but Mac OS was retro-fitted so it could run within Apple’s new operating system (build upon the old NeXT Step, which itself was an amalgamation of various Unix components). It took a few years, and it was messy, but Mac OS X prospered, macOS High Sierra is another step forward to ensure a future.
The same holds for iOS. It was based upon Mac OS X with those famous Unix underpinnings and various Core technologies, and Apple has shaped and shifted it to become every more capable while customers simply point and touch at different icons to make it all work.
Regarding the future of Android:
The transformation is likely to be mostly transparent to users, with the changes happening under the hood. Most will be totally unaware that anything has changed (end users only focus on things like the user interface). Android will work much the same, and the apps that people rely on will continue to run. However, Android is open-source and Google can’t make it go away, so there’s likely to be two platforms for a while. However, without Google at the helm, I don’t see Android development continuing for long (unless a big player like Amazon steps in).
Amazon? What Amazon uses on its tablets and Echo devices is also a derivative of Linux so wherever Linux goes, major tech companies are sure to follow.
Yes, Android has problems that Apple’s iOS does not, but both are undergoing constant change to ensure they live somewhere in the future. Early this year Apple rolled out a completely new file system to nearly one billion iPhone and iPad customers with hardly a ripple or wrinkle. The Mac will get a similar overhaul with macOS High Sierra. Step by step, Apple– and Google– are reinventing the future but, as always, basing it on the present which often ride on components from the past.
Is Android dead? No. Will iOS die? Not any time soon, but both will continue to change, evolve, and prosper. Until something better comes along.
Remember the wife of Lot? Remember Windows? Things change.