There's no other software quite like Android. Google engineered Android, and Google's own apps run best on it. And with millions of apps, games, songs, and videos on Google Play, Android is great for fun, and for getting things done. Android devices come in all kinds of sizes, with all sorts of features, and at all sorts of prices. Each version of Android is named after a dessert, and the most recent version of Android is Jelly Bean. With Android, you're in control of your mobile experience.
The initial release of Android required a separate keyboard. However, "Cupcake," (Android 1.5) and later editions have all supported an on-screen keyboard. That means you can use models like the Verizon Droid 2 that include a slide-out physical keyboard or the HTC EVO that rely entirely on the touch screen.
One frequent criticism of Android is that it's a fragmented platform. Parrot's photo frame, for example, bore absolutely no resemblance to an Android phone. Had the developers not told me they'd used Android, I'd have never known. Phone carriers like Motorola, HTC, LG, Sony, and Samsung have added their own user interfaces to Android and have no intentions to stop. They feel it distinguishes their brand, although developers often express their frustration at having to support so many variations.
Anyone can download the SDK (software development kit) and write applications for Android phones. Google doesn't screen developers or applications. These apps can be downloaded from the Android Market. If the app costs money, you pay for it using Google Checkout. T-Mobile also has an agreement to allow their phone customers to purchase some apps and have the fee added to their monthly phone bill.
Although Web applications are important and widely used, there are several reasons why native applications are sometimes preferable for mobile apps. You can use graphics and UI controls that are not available in browsers. You can customize the apps for small screen sizes. You can use resources (location, address book, phone, network, local database) that are unavailable in Web-based applications.