It has been widely adopted by device manufacturers, happy to toss aside legacy firmware and licensing fees for something sleek and modern and with a Google subsidy. It is now reported at a 39% market share. It is specifically because it is widely used that it has rapidly become the commodity underlayment and is being fractured to pieces.
There are hundreds of people working for the various carriers and manufacturers who seem to think that their job is to create some sort of competitive advantage for their particular flavor of device. Instead of focusing on making the experience of the user as smooth and seamless as possible, which trust me is way more work than ‘differentiation’, they shovel cruft into the phone.
So we end up with huge compatibility problems. Apps that crash. Inconsistent user experience. Battery life that makes the device a toy.
The fundamental basis of a good user experience is TRUST. The user has to trust that when they tell the device to do something it will, that they don’t have to recoil in fear of doing the ‘wrong thing’ and destroying data, texting naked pics to the wrong person, having no phone because the battery died. The UI needs to be consistent so they can find their way around in a new screen quickly and intuitively.
Google had some inkling of this early on and tried to enforce standards, but they’ve since failed to hold the line. Now that horse is out of the barn and it is not coming back in.
The destiny of Android is huge market share as the layer under the cheap and inconsistent phones that will be replacing the ‘feature’ phone segment of the market. No more meaningful than things being Java based turned out to be. This is not a platform segment in remotely the same way that iOS is, or that future Win Phones have the potential to be.