Android’s greatest strength, however, is its development kit. In the history of computing, the platforms that supported the application developers best became the clear winners. Failure to support application developers with robust tools killed the really Apple platform and IBM’s OS2. This is a mistake that Apple seems to be willing to repeat with the iPhone. The iPhone development tools are difficult to use and the application approval process seems terribly subjective at times. This makes iPhone application development unprofitable for many developers. In contrast, the Android development tools use Java and even C/C++. This allows developers to write applications for Android using languages they already know and use. Additionally, it allows them to use the tools they are already using such as Eclipse. The Android SDK also provides a very robust emulator so that application developers can test their Android applications without relying on physical hardware to do so. The future of mobile computing will largely be determined by the availability of the applications that end users want and need. In this regard, Android is a clear winner.
The biggest danger to Android’s dominance over the future of mobile computing is fragmentation. The ability of hardware vendors to extend Android without contributing their changes back to the Android project could lead to various incompatible versions of Android. To some extent, this has already happened as developers have had to struggle some to make their applications to support different hardware capabilities. This fragmentation of Android would make it harder for application developers to write code for Android. Since the support of application developers is crucial to the success of any computing platform, fragmentation could be a serious threat to Android as the future of mobile computing.