postheadericon TECH TALK: The Best New Tech Into Nepal for 2010

While the best new tech in the world this past year has clearly been the introduction of Apple’s iPad, in Nepal, these game-changing devices have yet to reach our borders in any mass consumerist way. Of course, like the iPhone, they are around - but smuggled into the country via the RNA baggage express. So my nomination as “Best Tech” this year has to then go to the set of phones sporting the Android operating system that have somehow managed to reached our landlocked IT island known better as Nepal.

But just what is Android you may be asking - if you have been living under a technology rock! Android is the system that runs many of the popular phones now being sold all around the valley. To put that into perspective: the iPhone runs on iOS, Blackberries on Blackberry 6, and Nokia uses the Symbian operating system.

A phone operating system is much like a computer operating system (think Windows XP or Linux), and is ultimately what gives you the features and functions that you may already take for granted on a smartphone, like having a music player, a camera roll, a calendar and to-do list, and a web browser for surfing the web while on the go. What operating system that you have on your phone determines just what you can do, while all of today’s phone operating systems do the basics, like provide a way to play games, consume media, and do just about anything besides making a simple phone call.

What makes Android special is that it was developed not by a phone manufacture, but by a world leader in online applications and search technology: Google. This was Google’s first foray into operating systems, and it appears that with the eminent death of Google Chrome (an OS designed for small laptops) that it may be their best effort – and one not easily forgotten...

Android is a fantastic OS for today’s generation of smartphones: lightweight, feature rich, and extensible. Yet this openness in regards to phone manufacture’s customizations is causing problems in the marketplace. For example, you may buy a phone using Android version 1.6, and then find out that your phone won’t support the latest version, which at time of press, is 2.2. But this is mostly a problem for technogeeks - if you are happy with your phone, then why worry?

The few differences between an iPhone and an Android phone are becoming slimmer every day, for example, there are now over 200,000 applications in the Android Store, which is much like Apple’s App Store for iPhones, only Apple’s store is larger in scale and more expensive to use. The Android Store has not been able to sell phone apps like Apple has done to such mega success, so most Android apps are free, and sponsored by in-app advertising.

But that should not be a problem for Nepal’s phone-app users, as we are more likely then not to be on a tight budget, or without an international credit card and access to the iTunes store anyway.
As an occasional Android user and an iPhone owner, I find little difference between the two operating systems when it comes right down to it; both do the same cool things, and very well. But as a dedicated Apple computer user, I find the iPhone fits into my workflow perfectly, and I doubt I could be as productive using an Android phone full time. For PC users, my guess is that an Android phone would be easier there for perhaps the same reason.

But with over 300,000 Asian Android phone applications per day, you would be in good company if you decide that Android is for you, and if contemplating a purchase in early 2011, the most popular models being sold right now are the HTC G-series and Nexus One, and the Nexus S and Galaxy S made by Samsung.

As you may have heard, the Android operating system is also being used in a bucket full of new tablets now out now - with tons more to follow in 2011. Following Apple’s lead, Google has positioned their phone OS to also work on tablets that function just like the iPad, sans the fruit logo. So if you have and like an Android phone today, you’re gunna love what’s coming out tomorrow, as Android tablets will have big screens and fast graphics processors, and will be able to run your favourite phone apps as well.

1 comments:

  1. i want to root my android phone. Can i get any help or a tutorial from you?

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Jiggy Gaton
lives in Kathmandu and is an aging technologist - has been since the days of Woodstock - so in the words of Roland The Gunslinger "he is from a world now gone by." However, Jigs is extremely up-to-date on all things tech and is also available for hire.
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