In creating a customisable smart phone application for GIS supported teaching and learning there has been a selection of operating systems of which could be used. The main smart phone operating systems as of the duration of the project according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone and Gartner were:
Thus the largest market share of late has been with the Android OS with a 43% share of worldwide in 2011 Q2 smart phone sales to end users.
Using the Android OS the GIS application has been able to access the smart phone features like internet, camera, GPS and accelerometer capabilities with ease which allow a more complex and interesting application to be developed.
Android success has been achieved from a large set of devices from many different phone manufactories which include HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericson, LG and Motorola. This makes the writing and testing of an application potentially more difficult as an application is to work on all of these devices. This has not been an issue during the development of the GIS application as the Android platform has managed the issue of fragmentation well. With the number devices used in testing the GIS application there has not been a problem of fragmentation.
For the GIS application using Android has been beneficial as with a larger variety of devices provides a greater reach in user base for the GIS application. The Android platform is available not only expensive high end phones but also to mid to low priced phones which are more accessible with the young.
As well as having a large variety of users who can assess an Android application, the Android OS has been good to write software on with the platform providing full APIs with open access to the hardware that is present on the phone. There is also the added benefit of no licensing, distribution, or development fees for developers.