The mobile industry may not be as diverse as it has been in the past, thanks to the loss of mobile platforms like webOS (I'm still sad, okay?), but that doesn't mean the market is any less interesting. Right now, the three big names vying for our attention, Apple, Google and Microsoft have never done better things than they are right now. It helps that the mobile platforms that they're building upon, iOS, Android and Windows Phone, have come further than many expected. At least, outside of sci-fi stories.
Just look at what we've got coming down the pipe. Microsoft just unveiled Windows Phone 8.1, which brings plenty of new features to the table, and gives features like Apple's Siri and Google's Google Now a run for their money with Cortana.
Then, like clockwork, we've got Apple's time to take the limelight for a bit, thanks to their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which kicks off June 2, and goes until June 6. There, it's highly expected that Apple's going to show off the next version of iOS, iOS 8, and maybe even a new wearable to go along with it. (We won't see new hardware until around September, as usual.)
Before that, and since the start of the year, we had Samsung showcase their newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5. A little time later and we've got HTC, not only announcing the HTC One M8, but also making it available the same day.
On March 18, though, Google really caught some attention for showcasing Android Wear, the company's effort to make sure that if you're going to wear a smartwatch or other wearable, it should be running Android.
The truth is, I'm running with a theme here now.
While it's great that Apple and Microsoft have new things coming, it's obviously Google's Android that's going to see the lion's share of new ideas actually put to the test in 2014, and probably into the near future. Android is on all sorts of difference devices, and Google's making sure that the platform is gaining traction with other devices, too, all to make sure that you're connected to their ever-growing presence.
If Android Wear isn't enough for you, just look at the NVIDIA Shield, a gaming peripheral that's running the latest version of Android thanks to a recent update. That device will now let you play your PC games from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. That's pretty awesome, if you ask me. It's the most obvious next step for "remote play," and companies like Sony and Microsoft should be paying attention. (They are, obviously.)
But it can also come down to the seemingly simplest of features on Android, something that's been around for quite some time, to really showcase the power of the platform. Just changing the lock screen, for example, and replacing it with an application that boasts its strength on contextual information, and providing you information and access to applications based on where you are.
When it comes to stand-out features like this, Apple and Microsoft are sorely lacking. And, don't get me wrong, I'm sure more than a few people out there would call most of these things gimmicks, especially the features baked into Android, but I just don't see it that way. Apps and services that help you automatically, based on your location, are pretty great, and I know that we're going to see a lot more of it. Even Twitter's getting into the game.
All of these things got me thinking about one question: What do you think makes Android the best mobile platform? Is it one big feature for you, or a bunch of little ones that come together to make Google's mobile platform the best choice for you? And, just because we need balance, if there's one feature or several that stand out to you for why you *don't* think Android is the best, let me know!