Most people have heard of Android – the mobile operating system that pretty much dominates the market and has done for some time. In fact as reported in the last quarter of 2014, Android was running on roughly 76% of mobile devices worldwide.
This market share is very impressive, especially considering that it has grown from only 52% in just over 3 years.
There are quite a few reasons behind the success of the Android operating system.
Due to the open source roots of the Android OS it is very popular amongst the community of users and developers that support this methodology. In addition this method of developing software by its very nature encourages fast and robust development.
The operating system is based on the Linux kernel which makes it very stable, very secure and also easy to build on top of for both the core developers (Google) but also for third party software developers that want to integrate with the operating system.
Flexibility for the end user
In addition to these points, the Android OS has found much of its success due to the fact that it is flexible to its users – compared to a close competitor (iOS) it is very flexible in its nature and allows users a much greater insight into its workings.
The operating system has been very stable up until recently which is also a very big factor in its success and widespread take-up.
Unfortunately though these benefits are now coming into disrepute after the most recent major release of the operating system Lollipop 5.0 has caused much disruption amongst its users due to many bugs and software faults being present.
Lollipop 5.0 has had quite a few issues relating to wireless connectivity and has led to some mobile devices being unable to get onto the Internet at all. This in itself has caused major disruption to the community of Android users.
Probably the second most prevalent problem that has been seen in this release of the operating system is an increased drain on the battery which is not proportionate to any additional or beneficial activities carried out by the operating system.
Generally not running as well
In addition to these key issues that the operating systems latest update has brought with it, users have also reported that the system is far more unstable than previous releases. Users have faced many general problems with the OS including crashes, slow speeds and also problems with other processor dependant operations such as video playback.
Mitigating the situation
Google have release several small updates to the latest operating system version in order to try and mitigate or resolve the various issues that have been occurring but have not succeeded. Despite each release the issues have prevailed in the main and users have grown more and more dissatisfied with the response to these problems.
The release of Lollipop 5.1
After much outcry from the community Google have finally released a major update to the operating system – Lollipop 5.1.
Google have confirmed that the latest release will address and fix all of the previous issues faced by users of 5.0 including the WIFI issues and also the battery drain issues.
In addition to providing permanent fixes for these issues the latest release has also brought with it some brand new features.
The new 5.1 update comes with enhanced security capabilities that allow the device to remain locked even after it has been party to a factory reset. Once in this state it can only be unlocked once the owner has signed in to their Google account. This feature is great for device security and means that even if the phone is stolen it cannot be used or sold on in a working state.
Dual Sim Support
Another great feature that has been added in the latest update is the support for dual sim cards. This is a very cool feature that allows sims on different networks or tariffs to be present in the device at the same time. This allows the user to switch between sims very easily. This feature is particularly useful if you travel abroad and require easy access to sims belonging to networks in different countries.
HD Audio calls
5.1 also come with the ability to carry out audio calling in HD (high definition). This allows for extremely high quality audio functionality on mobile phones and can be particularly useful for meetings and conference calls that involve multiple participants.
So it seems that Google have used the release of 5.1 to addresses multiple things at the same time – on one hand they are fixing some problems that have been on-going for some time and on the other they are bringing out new features perhaps to inspire continued and greater use of the operating system. This is likely to target the users (with the bug fixes) and also the phone manufacturers (with the new features) at the same time.
Is this a good idea? Only time will tell and this will really hinge on whether or not all of the issues really have been ironed out and also whether or not there are any new issues that come along with the new features.
It is a dangerous game that Google are playing because with the upset that has been present due to all of the issues with 5.0 if there are still existing issues or new ones that come with the release of 5.1 then there really be outcry in the Android community.
It may have been more sensible to release a major update purely to address the on-going issues and then to plan the release of a new features update further down the line.