Apple have gone one way, by restricting their app development to Object C (not the easiest of development languages), Google have gone the opposite. Their new App Inventor uses a set of simple tools and an even simpler interface to allow anyone to create apps. Brilliant! I love anything that democratises things, and whilst I’m sure that many developers will complain that ‘it can’t build a real app’, we could see some really interesting, creative and fun apps coming from this.
It has been argued that one of the strengths of Android is their openness towards app development. There have been reports of developers leaving Apple’s strict regime in favour of Android’s more open platform. With the new App Inventor it looks like they could attract a whole new group of people who have the imagination but lack the programming skills. Now, what app can I think of ….
An Apple spokesperson has dismissed the latest figures showing Android outstripping the iphone in the US. The press release pointed out that just 150,000 people in the US were surveyed and that Apple experienced 131% sales increase in Q1. The survey, however, was conducted by a reputable research firm, and is consistent with other studies which show Android sales sitting above Apple’s by the end of this year. The war of words continues!
… and Blackberry sells the most. According to figures from ND Group, the iphone represented 21% of smartphone sales in Q1 2010, whereas Android took a 28% market share, and Blackberry remained the market leader with 36%.
It’s certainly true that the iphone is a single model handset whereas both Android and Blackberry cover a number of models. However, it confirms that Apple, though highly significant in phone sales, far from dominate the market.
More on the story here.
The Apple/Google relationship has been become increasingly sour recently. The latest manifestation of this seems to be the censorship of the word ‘Android’ in apps in the iphone appstore. According to a report in Mobile Crunch, one developer had a reference to their entry into the Android awards removed from their appstore review.
Apple has previously censored words on the grounds of profanity, but have been largely ridiculed for removing ‘boobs’, ‘booty’ and ‘piss’ from apps such as dictionaries. The censoring of other brands appears to be a new step for Apple.
A report by market research firm points to Google’s Android taking second slot behind Symbian (used widely by Nokia). Whilst Symbian currently holds the top OS slot, second place is RIM’s Blackberry followed by the iphone. I have blogged about the potential of Android previously and with the release of the Droid and Nexus One phones, there are some serious handset contenders. When combined with Google’s more open source approach to the OS and app stores will drive them into second place within just three years.
It seems like Android handsets are appearing on the market quicker than I can keep up with them. Today Motorola announced a partnership with SK Telecom, a Korean company to develop the Motorai. It will be an entirely new Andorid handset and quite different to their much-praised Droid.
In spite of slow sales of the Nexus One, it still looks like Android will win in the battle of the mobile OS. It may take a few years to get there though.
In my predictions for 2010 I said that Android would become a significant OS this year. At the end of 2009 and start of this year there were some decent Android hansets appearing in the market: The Droid and the Nexus One. Perhaps they may not have the ice cool factor of the iphone, but in terms of pure functionality they certainly match, if not beat Apple’s offering. In the meantime, a number of frims from Samsung to Acer committed to Android. Recent announcements by Dell and Lenovo demonstrate a further committment to Google’s OS.
It’s not just about manufacturers adopting Android. Google has taken a more open approach to development, particularly apps and app stores. Apple’s more draconian approach to their appstore could see developers switching their energies to developing more for Android, especially where there is a growing user base.
Ultimately though, there is no threat to the iphone. Apple have taken a different approach to Google, and as with their PC’s it’s about offering both OS and hardware together. The iphone will remain a significant handset for many many years, but Apple will not dominate the mobile OS … but that never was their intention.
What of Windows Mobile? It would not suprise me if it becomes subsumed into a more generic Windows aimed at the portable computing market.
Now if only Nokia were interested in Android, then we would see a real unstoppable force in the handset/OS market.