The Android platform is gaining market share and mind share with amazing speed. While it’s clearly trailing iPhone’s large head start, in terms of installed base and number of independent applications, Android is sprinting to make up the gap.

Why is Android moving so fast? From the consumer side, it’s about choice. If you buy an iPhone, you get one model (with a choice of colors and amount of memory). One size must fit all. Want a physical keyboard? No. Want a choice of carriers? If you’re in the United States, no. There’s one handset currently sold with iOS 4, and it’s from Apple and runs on AT&T.

By contrast, you have a whole consortium of innovators pushing Android—and building on top of it. From multiple carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T, to competing manufacturers like HTC, Samsung and Motorola, everyone is free to build on the Android experience with different hardware features and add-on functions. That means consumers get choices galore.

Developers, too, have plenty of flexibility. Apple imposes strict limits on what developers can put into their iPhone apps—not only to ensure that the functions don’t crash the phone and aren’t malicious, but also to make sure they don’t compete against what Apple wants to sell. With Android, it’s the Wild Wild West. The market is wide open.

When you couple the broad base of manufacturer and carrier support with the open model for app distribution, you get unparalleled opportunities for developers and entrepreneurs.

That’s why BZ Media—the company behind SD Times—is launching AnDevCon: The Android Developer Conference, on March 7–9, 2011.

Join us for three days in San Francisco. We’ll have dozens of technical classes and workshops focused in three topic areas: programming for Android, using Android software in the enterprise, and how to market applications to the Android market.

If you want to learn all about Android development, please join us at AnDevCon. Hope to see you there!

PS: If you’re an expert in Android development and are an experienced instructor, the Call for Speakers for AnDevCon is open through mid-September.

Alan Zeichick is editorial director of SD Times. Follow him on Twitter at Read his blog at