What's The Fuss About Android?

Samsung has released another flagship smart phone in the form of the Galaxy S5.

It's bigger than its predecessors, and has a heart rate monitor, but its biggest feature is that it's running Google's Android operating system for smartphones and tablets.

So what's the big deal about Android?

It's so similar to Apple's iOS operating system that the Cupertino, California, company successfully won a court hearing against Samsung which it accused of copying it. Android, then, looks similar to iOS in that it is navigated the same way. Small, finger-sized, icons represent the different applications on the device. The applications are launched with a quick tap.

The difference is the way the software it is rolled out to users on devices.

Unlike Apple, which sells smartphones and tablets with iOS pre-installed, Google gives its Android operating system away. Google shares the source code of Android with any hardware maker.

Manufacturers from Asus to Samsung have taken Android and adapted it to their purposes. So it may not look exactly the same from device to device. Android has been rolled out on everything from the cheapest and most cheerful of hardware to flagship devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Apple has stringent controls over what it releases, in both hardware and software. Google has no control over what manufacturers do with Android. Which means the lower end of the smart phone and tablet market can be a little unpredictable.

If a smart phone costs a tenth of those at the top end of the market it will probably be about a tenth as good. It may have a slower processor, less memory and no room for expansion cards.

So if you're looking at buying a new smartphone or tablet and you're in the market for an Android remember you get what you pay for.