In three decades of reporting on personal computing technologies very few operating system upgrade introductions ever did much more than make me yawn.
Even though it was 20 plus years ago, I can remember Microsoft launching an incremental release of Windows-- the best it could do was put a couple of industry luminaries (notably John Dvorak and Stu Alsop) on a raised dias as Bill Gates proudly launched two windows clocks from the accessory panel and showed them running simultaneously. It wasn’t really a big deal.
Perhaps that’s why today’s announcement by Google of Android 2.2 snapped me out of my incremental operating system malaise. I view this Android release as a really big deal and suspect some of its features will go on to become “must have” features for any popular smart phone operating system.
At the top of the list of features the 2.2 version of Android supports is Near Field Communications (NFC).
Initially available on Samsung’s Nexus S smart phone, NFC consists of a silicon transceiver built into the phone and Android 2.2 operating system software. The software lets smart phone users complete secure transactions with retail point of sale systems equipped with NFC hardware.
Over the last year numerous Geolocation-based software (including couponing applications) have been launched in an effort to create and strengthen bonds between consumers and retailers.
There are two huge problems such applications face: technology-poor retailers who either lack web sites or point of sale systems that can communicate with smart phones, and, smart phones capable of communicating with retail point of sale devices.
Samsung’s Nexus S and Google’s Android 2.2 operating system help solve one half of that problem set.
Although Google has tremendous name recognition, it has yet to establish itself in any consumer market segment. But its smart phone operating system technology can change that, particularly if the Mountain View, CA< company makes other inroads with consumer retail products.
Android 2.2 was as far from a yawner as any operating system upgrade launch I’ve ever covered.
At last, the game changes; Microsoft and Apple have to respond to NFC and smart phone manufacturers need to upgrade their hardware and software. Awake at last, Jim Forbes on 12/06/2010.