In spite of Apple’s surge against RIM’s BlackBerry, the Q3 figures just published by Garnter show that Android has met expectations and become the biggest handset operating system after Symbian (widely used by Nokia phones). An interesting side note is that smartphone sales grew by 96% in the last quarter. With Android smartphones, such as those developed by Samsung now selling for under £90 on pay-as-you-go, the prediction that every phone will be a smartphone seems to becoming a reality.
If figures float your boat, here’s a table showing the relative positions:
More stuff from Gartner here
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.