Verizon Droid Vs. Android
By Micah McDunnigan
In the modern smartphone market, commercials and salespeople can use so many terms that they all begin to blend together. It doesn't help matters when the terms they are using are very similar to begin with. One instance where very similar terms refer to two related yet distinct things are with the Verizon Droid phones and the Android operating system.
Android Operating System
Smartphones are effectively mobile computers that have the ability to tap into a cellular service provider's voice and data networks, allowing the smartphone user to access the Internet and make phone calls. Android is the name of one operating system that can power smartphones, in the same way that Windows, Mac or Linux can power regular computers. Android is an open-source operating system based on Linux, which can run on any phone with the right hardware set.
"Droid" is the name of a line of smartphones offered by Verizon Wireless to its cellular customers. These phones run the Android operating system, but are distinct from it. Whereas Android is the operating system, like Windows or Linux on a computer, a Droid smartphone functions as the computer itself. While the first in these lines of smartphones were simply called the "Droid," later models took on more specific names such as the "Droid Incredible" or "Droid X."
The Android operating system is open source, so any programmer who is so inclined can choose to work on programs that will run on the operating system, or work to develop aspects of the operating system itself. However, the official releases of the Android operating system are handled by the company Google, which gets the final say as to what code makes it into any given release of the Android operating system and what does not.
Although Google maintains and produces the Android operating system, the Droid line of phones can be produced by any company that produces an Android smartphone that Verizon will allow to be included in the Droid line of smartphones. At the time of publication, the physical phones in the Droid series have been produced by both the companies HTC and Motorola. While the Android operating system is open source, save for a few proprietary components, the entirety of the hardware on Droid phones is the intellectual property of the company that produced the phone.
Micah McDunnigan has been writing on politics and technology since 2007. He has written technology pieces and political op-eds for a variety of student organizations and blogs. McDunnigan earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Davis.