Industry Analysis: Technology Cartography Exploring the World of the Android Operating System In the Smart Phone Market

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17 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 6 μήνες)

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Maddie Rau

Industry Analysis Badge


Industry A
nalysis
: Technology Cartography

Exploring the W
orld of the A
ndroid Operating System

In

the Smart Phone M
arket



According to Mobile Tech News, Smartphones will be the most purchased
consumer electronics device this year
.
1

The current landscape of smartphones is
advancing at a rapid pace, which is an important factor to
consider

when
de
ciding on your next smartphone.
To name,

the most common mobile operating
systems utilized by modern smartphones
are

Google’s A
ndroid,
Apple
’s iOS,
Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Nokia’s Symbian, and RIM’s BlackBerry OS.

These
operating systems allow the smartphone to run applications, an imperative
function of what makes a smartphone, well, a smartphone.


Within this industry analysis, a few of
the l
atest features and technologies
of
the Android operating system

will be explored
, along with
its
potential
vulnerabilities
.

This include
s

a run
-
down of
Android’s newest v
ersion “Ice Cream
Sandwich,”
looking at topics such as
usability

standards
,

voice recognition,
secure web browsing,
and
app threats.


Android’s 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

(ICS)
, which was announced in late
2011, added new features including facial recognition unlock, network data
usage monitoring and control, unified social networking

contacts, photography
enhancements, offline email searching, app folders, and information sharing

2
.
However,
even though

Android 4.0 is a significant improvement from pre
vious
versions of the platform,

it has yet to reach many end users, as it is availab
le only
to a small
number

of existing smartphones
.
3

In accordance with this statement,
Google’s Director of Android operating system User Experience claims that ICS
“theoretically

should work for any 2.3 device”

but
, if you really want ICS (and
certainly
to get the most from it), you’ll need to get a new smartphone
.
4


The Times of India
5

reviewed Android’s 4.0 ICS, highlighting the 7 biggest
new features available. With its brand new look,
ICS has
a unique “Roboto” font
system specifically designed for
hig
h
-
resolution

screens. It is also more screen
-
shot
ready, more supportive of voice commands (though not as efficiently as
IPhone’s Siri), has uni
fied tablet and smartphone API, improved camera,

and
comes with a Chrome mobile Web browser that syncs with your

computer
bookmarks and saves pages for offline reading. It can open as many as 16 tabs
at a time.

Another impressive feature noted is Android Beam, which is based on



1

http://www.mobiletechnews.com/info/2012/04/05/234155.html

2

http://www.thetechlabs.com/tech
-
news/android
-
ice
-
cream
-
sandwich/

3
http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/handheld/232800413?cid=SBX
_iwk_related_news_Smartphones&itc=SBX_iwk_related_news_Sma
rtphones

4

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open
-
source/android
-
40s
-
five
-
best
-
new
-
features
-
for
-
users/9781

5

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/itslideshow/10551559.cms


Maddie Rau

Industry Analysis Badge

Near Field Communication and allows two Android smartphones to securely
exchange Web page
s, contacts, media and even applications.


A PC
World review
6

found that while the previous version of Android was
more straightforward to master, ICS is more complicated to get the hang of
,

though easier to use in the long run.
One key issue is that not all icons within ICS
are clearly labeled, leading
the reviewer to conclude that “t
his isn’t the same
Android that we’ve all come to know, but rather a new OS that carries on the
Android legacy.



On the topic of
Android
apps,
a re
cent Verizon
investigation report

7

published at the end of 2011 found that mobile vulnerabilities are high on the list
of threats developers need to watch this year. According to the report, there is an
increasing phenomenon of applications in the Android Marketplace that appear to
be legi
timate applications, but are in fact malware packages that, once
downloaded, interact with mobile devices and other applications without the
users’ knowledge. Within the article, the Chief Technology Officer for the provider
of
free

anti
-
virus software
exp
ressed that “t
he number of malware samples for
Android
is

growing much faster [than other platforms].”


A
relevant

study conducted by a team of researchers at North Carolina
State University
8

warned that Androids could attack
, with new evidence of gaping
s
ecurity and privacy holes in smartphones.
The study concluded that of 100,000
apps, 297 contained ad code that allowed the phone
to run code downloaded
from the Internet, resulting in a potential path for malicious software to enter the
device. To add to t
hese statistics, “
48,139 of the ad libraries used by these apps
tracked the user's GPS location; 18,575 tracked the identity of the phone; 4,190
let advertisers track the user via GPS; and 4,047 accessed the device's phone
number.”



Another study
9

looking at the vulnerability of iPhone, Android, and other
GSM (Global Sys
tem for Mobile Communications) p
hones demonstrated that
software in many of these smartphones could leave them vulnerable to remote
exploits.
The researcher connected his own iPhone

4 to a phony base station
and caused it to crash, showing that “vulnerabilities in the GSM code base are
plentiful and shallow.”

He expressed that as smartphones
contain

more
information with greater access to network resources, cellphones
are predicted t
o
be
come

the next frontier of hacking.




6
http://www.pcworld.com/article/246919/a_users_guide_to_android_ice_cream_s
andwich.html

7
http://www.sdtimes.com/VERIZON_MOBILE_THREATS_ARE_ON_THE_RISE/
By_Victoria_Reitano/About_MALWARE_and_MOBILESECURITY_and_VERIZO
N/36453

8

http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39935/

9

http://redmondmag.com/articles/2011/01/21/phones
-
are
-
vulnerable
-
to
-
att
ack.aspx?sc_lang=en


Maddie Rau

Industry Analysis Badge


One potential solution to this problem is the recently launched secure web
browser by Good Mobile Access

(GMA)

for Android
.
10

GMA is a feature of the
company’s service that offers “secure mobile access to
behind
-
the
-
firewall
applications, resources and data without needing a virtual private network
connection.” Essentially, it prevents malicious apps and provides increased
security by encrypting browser cache, cookies, bookmarks, an
d history within
Good’s s
ecure
enterprise container.


Additionally, Google discovered this past March that over 60 of its
applications had been published to the market with malicious software that
affected devices operating on Android 2.2.2 and lower
.
11

As a result, Google
immediat
ely removed these app
s and are planning to add additional security for
mobile apps.
These

precautions include a remote application wipe feature to fix
devices harmed and a “sandbox” feature that isolates individual activities made
by each application.


Ult
imately, many of the aforementioned issues obviously pose problems
for a number of different operating systems, and are not simply isolated to
Android.
BBC News Technology
wrote

that between Android and
the iPhone
, key
selling points in the past have been
screen size, camera efficiency, and clever
apps
.
12

However,
it

state
d

that
the future of phone
selection

may be
largely
based on which is the best listener in voice recognition.
Whether

or not

this is
truly the case, it is clear that
a prospective buyer of
a new smartphone has many
things to keep in mind when selecting their next brand.
















10

http://www.cellular
-
news.com/story/53686.php

11

http://www.sdtimes.com/blog/post/2011/03/07/Google
-
Plans
-
to
-
Add
-
Additional
-
Security
-
for
-
Mobile
-
Apps.aspx

12

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology
-
15348792