Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

Summary: Google's decision to open source Android to multiple wireless handset makers has the mobile operating system poised to be No. 2 worldwide in short order.

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Google's decision to open source Android to multiple wireless handset makers has the mobile operating system poised to be No. 2 worldwide in short order.

Gartner released its smartphone operating system standings and has Android just behind Research in Motion with market share of 17.2 percent worldwide. RIM is hearing footsteps with 18.2 percent of the smartphone OS market. What's stunning about this leap is that Android's market share was 1.8 percent a year ago. In a year, Android has leapfrogged Apple's iOS. It doesn't take fancy analytics to project that Android will overtake RIM in two quarters.

According to Gartner, Android's non-exclusive distribution has propelled the OS. The strategy is similar to what Microsoft did in the desktop market---partner with a bevy of hardware players and flood the zone.

This Android march is benefiting some key handset makers such as HTC and Motorola, but not as much as you'd think. HTC is surging, but Android hardware vendors are going to kill each other with an innovation cycle that lasts weeks instead of months. HTC and Motorola are hot today, but Samsung could grab more share in a few months. Simply put, Android's success isn't going to translate to all mobile device makers.

Here's the global mobile device maker picture with today's primary Android players highlighted:

In the not-too-distant future, you'll be able to add LG and Sony Ericsson to the Android team. Add it up and Nokia has a big target on its back and no answers readily available. RIM will have to hope the BlackBerry OS 6 fuels sales. And Apple could care less about share since it's making a ton of dough, but don't rule out expansion plans via Verizon Wireless and other CDMA carriers.

Topics: Smartphones, Android, Google, Hardware, HTC, Mobility, Operating Systems, BlackBerry, Software

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62 comments
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  • WindowsPhone will make this really interesting, stealing share from all

    Probably mostly android, then nokia, rim, and apple. Should be an interesting next couple of years.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Yep, just like all of the market share that Kin stole.

      NT.
      DonnieBoy
      • And all the market share the Zune took

        Hahaha! LOL
        @DonnieBoy
        GoPower
    • RE: Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

      @Johnny Vegas Man are you going to be disappointed... I hate to say it (well not really) but Microsoft blundered when they didn't take Apple seriously when the original iPhone was released and continued that behavior when Android made it's debut... now it's really too little too late from WP7 IMHO...

      It will be interesting to see how it does but I would not have such high hopes for WP7.
      athynz
      • Except in the enterprise, of course

        @athynz

        BBs and Windows phones will do very well in the enterprise market, where both are entrenched due to our dependence on Exchange and Office. WP7 does face an uphill battle, but not as severe as you might imagine.
        itpro_z
      • itpro_z: Blackberry will continue to do well in the enterprise, as they are

        already entrenched, though they are losing share to both iPhone and Android. Windows 7 is not entrenched, and not proven in the enterprise, and will likely go about nowhere.
        DonnieBoy
      • Donnie: My wording was not very clear

        The BB is very entrenched in the enterprise, and is the only so called "smart phone" that we support on our system. WP7 is not out yet, so obviously it is not entrenched, but MS is. Do you not believe that WP7 will have very tight integration to Exchange and Office? That alone will make it at the least worth looking at when it comes out.
        itpro_z
      • WP7 is butt-ugly

        Talk about boxy and non-intuitive... WP7 is really ugly...<br><br>Perhaps MS will add a decent integration into Exchange and throw on some security to match windows.... BWAHAHAHAHA!!!! Security to match windows... LOL!!!<br><br>Whew...<br><br>On a more serious side.. Roids are facing a big uphill battle... They recently saw a wallpaper app that stole between 1 and 4 million identities, Google pulled 6000 spam apps from the Roid store, and now a Roid trojan is on the loose.... <br><br><a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100811/tc_pcworld/newandroidmalwaretextspremiumratenumbers" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20100811/tc_pcworld/newandroidmalwaretextspremiumratenumbers</a><br><br>That Roid Wild West doesn't have a Sheriff... Therefore, zero security, and no place in the enterprise.... And that creates an open door for Microsoft. And considering the RIM Torch is about to Storm itself out of the market... That opens the enterprise door a little wider for MS...<br><br>But the iPhone going to Verizon should have them all scared... <br><br>I think that will be a huge win for consumers... AT&T is going to have to slash prices in order to curb the mass exodus. Verizon and Sprint will most likely answer back with price cuts as well as deep discounts on Roids... BOGO or Free with a 2 year contract... 2011 looks to be really good for smartphone consumers...
        i8thecat
      • RE: Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

        @athynz
        WP7 should see significant business usage if not consumer usage. Company wide/campus wide/factory wide private cell networks with direct access to all the company apps/SQL data/Exchange will happen. With low level integration I can alert a manager about a problem. With high level integration I can do that and also present the options and put the decision into effect with a tap. We will have to wait and see how good a job they did.
        mswift@...
      • Wow, cateater, thanks for the review

        Of course, considering that WP7 is not out yet, you'll have to forgive me if I take your (unbiased, of course) opinion with a grain of salt.

        I do find it funny, though, that a Mac user tries to take a poke at Windows 7 security when OSX has more holes in it than a chain link fence.
        itpro_z
    • I don't care about marketshare

      @Johnny Vegas
      I really like MS's task oriented approach in WP7. While I like my iPhone, I find it utterly ridiculous how much time it takes me to gather up the information I used to get at a glance on the homescreen of my WM6 device. It literally takes me 10+ taps and swipes on the iPhone to look at my next appointment, see the weather forecast, and access my alarm clock. # of taps and swipes on WM6? 0.

      With iPhone, you must know what application to open in order to accomplish whatever task you are trying to accomplish. With a task oriented UI, you tell the OS what task you are trying to accomplish and it will open the right application for you. It is much more natural.

      WP7 still has too many showstoppers for me to personally consider it yet but I think the UI that MS has come up with is much more innovative than Apple's.
      NonZealot
    • RE: Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

      @Johnny Vegas
      Actually, Windows Mobile 7 has a better chance than many believe, but at this point Google is the one poised to take the crow. Of course all of this can change rather quickly. What makes things interesting is that Apple's margins will quickly be marginalized and force it to compete more on technology and price. I went into detail on the slicing of margin's and the competitive landscape here: http://boombustblog.com/reggie-middleton/2010/08/12/how-google-is-looking-to-cut-apples-margin-and-how-the-sell-side-of-wall-street-will-enable-this-without-sheeple-investors-having-a-clue/
      Reggie Middleton
      • RE: Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

        @Reggie Middleton

        I cant see how WM7 is going to make any kind of impression at all. Why would a handset manufacturer prefer a paid-for OS that they cant modify in preference to a free, open source, fully customisable OS? Microsoft have stated that the handset manufacturers cant make any significant changes to the UI, and phone hardware is pretty standard across all manufacturers so the only competitive advantage will be to lower prices. It will result in a race to the bottom and wont be profitable.

        The target market for the Windows Phone is XBox and Zune owners, Microsoft is going to have a hard time selling the OS outside of that demographic.

        I expect WP7 to do about as well as the Kin (remember "project pink" that all the Microsoft supporters were proclaiming would get Microsoft back in the race and has failed spectacularly.)
        Nickkuk
      • Simple Nickkuk...

        @Nickkuk

        Not only is it a free, open source, fully customisable OS, It also lacks quality control, rules, enforcement, and consistency... It's a free open world, free to good and bad.... Roid is a sitting duck for malware, trojans, poorly coded apps, etc.. And we are just beginning to see the tip of that iceberg...

        Just by being open and insecure eliminates Roids from the enterprise. All they have left is the consumer market. The only reason they are popular is because people don't want AT&T and see Roid as the only other choice worth having... But when reporters start to put it all together and shine a light on ID theft, trojans, spam apps, etc., it will be game over for Roid phones. No2 smartphone OS.. Nah, Not gonna happen.... Human nature prevents it. You might want to short that stock...
        i8thecat
      • RE: Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

        @Nickkuk<br> MS can not afford for WM7 to be a failure. Therefore they will heavily subsidise and incentivise WM7 to ensure it is on numerous manufacturers handsets and with numerous carriers. Add to that a big push into the enterprise via their established relations with corporate IT. If MS can get some traction in the enterprise and provide a device that also covers "home" use thereby providing a single device that is a seamless integration of work and home then they could create a success. MS are also in this for the long haul and still see a big untapped smart phone market globally.<br>On the downside MS does have an ability to make awful mistakes at launch which can cripple the product for life.<br>We will have to see what happens but I dont think WM7 can be discounted just yet.
        Nihon8888
    • RE: Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

      @Johnny Vegas

      Windows Mobile 5 and 6 were uninteresting offerings. I'm going to be getting my first Android phone next year and hopefully, the experience will be better. Windows Mobile 7 has a long, tough road ahead.
      DonRupertBitByte
    • RE: Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

      @Johnny Vegas Windows has one problem. Its BLOAT. Have you gotten Windows XP3 update 3.0? your computer slows down, your network doesn't work and the system crashes. That's the future of Windows 7 on a phone. You want that... keep it. I ll use Android and no Android is available Ill use Apple but Windows. you have to be a fool.
      Uralbas
  • But as open source

    Google makes no money directly for their effort. How long will they provide a platform which primarily makes money for others? This isn't like Windows which is Megasloth's bread and butter.

    @NetAdmin1178
    GoPower
    • And, Google does not have to make money "directly". They are just fine with

      making billions INDIRECTLY!!!!!!!!!
      DonnieBoy
    • RE: Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

      @GoPower

      No, Android doesn't make any money for them directly; but it does direct the users of that platform to their services that drive up their ad revenue - which makes lots of money. Why does Google offer anything they do for free?... Because in the end, they do make money off of it.

      And if Google ever did want to make money directly from sales of Android, they could - just as Red Hat, Novell, Oracle and others do with their linux distributions. I don't see it happening, at least anytime in the foreseeable future, as this isn't Google's method of doing things.
      NetAdmin1178