The beauty of Google Android is that it operates on a wide variety of devices that appeal to differing market segments, yet those devices can utilize the Android Market Place and run general apps written for Android. This is similar to what happened with Windows on personal computers. It's an analogy worthy of exploration, however there are a few noteworthy differences that are actually rather revealing.
Android is nimble, stable and solid, unlike many attributes of the various versions of Windows. Over the years, something went horribly wrong with Windows. Is it possible that Android could eventually suffer the same fate?
Perhaps one difference is that phone manufacturers have a direct incentive to make certain that each Android phone model has a solid implementation. After all, phones simply have to work. Computer manufacturers, on the other hand, have often had a tendency to churn out new computer models without always fully vetting the hardware/Windows OS combination. Google seems to have taken the approach with Android of providing a basic, bare bones phone OS, whereas over the years Microsoft has taken the kitchen sink approach with Windows.
Another difference in the Android/Windows/open hardware analogy rests in the fact that Android is an embedded OS. Hardware manufacturers are forced to make it work. The better it works, the more phones they can sell. If a particular phone model is buggy, word spreads quickly and the model is a bust.
If a particular computer model has problems, its manufacturer often points the finger of blame at Microsoft, and Microsoft typically points back to the manufacturer, leaving the troubled consumer with a spinning head.
The consumer is also partly to blame. If you think about it, we tend not to look at particular computer models running Windows in the same way we look at particular phone models. We tend to look at boxes running Windows as just that – a box of hardware based on price.