Smartphones

Android poised to be No. 2 smartphone OS worldwide

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.

This is a guest post from Larry Dignan of TechRepublic’s sister site ZDNet. You can follow Larry on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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.

45 comments
Jaqui
Jaqui

After Oracle's suit against Google, Android sales will skyrocket it to number 1. :D

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Something odd with the 2009 numbers. RIM had more smartphone sales than device sales in 2009. But Apple had more device sales than smartphone sales. Both have phones that are exclusive to the OS.

bpist
bpist

Perhaps if the same type of intuitiveness was presented on the desktop as with Droid phones we would not be hearing all the MS bashing. Give people a desktop OS that functions as easily as Droid and you will surely see less frustration and more productivity.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Once MS releases WP7 to multiple carriers and device manufacturers, they'll give Apple a run for their money. Apple is once again cornering itself as a niche botique gadget provider.

Hazydave
Hazydave

WP7 may have a hard time of it. For one, Microsoft's various phone OSs were around long before the iPhone. Apple came from nowhere and drank their milkshake. Android mopped up all but the most dedicated WinMo users. So in reality, WinMo is starting over again. Most of their OEMs are doing very nicely with Android... how does MS convince them to offer a version with WP7.... an OS they have to pay for, with practically no apps and no proven market. Not easy. Microsoft these days has also prove itself kind of stupid and out of touch. Remember the Kin fiasco of last month? And that was MS fronting the hardware.. that was such an obviously bad idea, I doubt they could have found a single OEM to license Kin. WP7 looks better, but same problem: who wants this over Android and iPhone?

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

When an OS like WP7 isn't free, why would phone manufacturers pay for it? Even better question...why would consumers go for a brand new ecosystem with virtually no marketplace or apps? Windows Phone 7 is like a chicken and egg problem...Microsoft has this brand new phone OS with bells and whistles that may appeal to consumers but doesn't have the established marketplace to support it.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

I doubt it. There is too much competition out there. That said Apple's proprietary ways is hurting them just like on the desktop and laptop market. The only difference is that Apple's phone prices aren't much different than the competition but in the desktop/laptop market, they have the "Apple Tax" [same hardware on a PC and a Mac but the Mac is 25%+ more expensive.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

Is Google ready to become the next Microsoft with the media spotlight on crashes, hardware incompatibilities, application lockups, crapware, and frustrated users? When it comes to smartphones, there are many more factors that come into play than those in the laptop and desktop world. Smartphones are made almost entirely of proprietary parts...you can't exactly upgrade the RAM, processor, or even display without junking your old one and buying a new one. Because of the proprietary nature of smartphones, each manufacturer has to release an OS update through their own distribution channel. The average user can't just download an update directly from Google, which is going to lead to a lot of frustrated users. So...kudos to Google and Android. Enjoy the spotlight!

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Its easy to upgrade RAM, even beyond what you phone is SUPPOSED to manage. I have upgraded my screen too, ELO/Tyco sells screens of your choice to fit most smartphones too, 5-Wire resistive, Accoustic Touch, Capacitive etc. You can even upgrade your i-Phone to a decent touch system if you want. I replaced the screen in my HTC with a more accurate touch system because I used the handwriting recognition system all the time. As for OS updates, I upgrade that for free, did when I had WinMobile too, free download to upgrade to latest version. Not sure what you are getting at.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... when they're not making any money off of it?

Hazydave
Hazydave

When you think somehow you're smarter than Google, time to do a little more research. Google's primary source of income is ad revnue from web search. The main point of Android as a business case was simple: web search was moving from PC to handheld, and fast. Android's success ensures that Google could bot be locked out of the handset (at least by default), a very real possibility with so much of the handset market ob proprietary and tightly controlled systems. So yeah, Android itself is a give-away, but in return, Google maintains 95% of the handheld search market, so far. They made the Android distribution model for the OEMs.. this solved the big problem of delivering smartphones, at least for companies who are not Apple, RIM, or Nokia. This is also why its rise was inevitable. Google does sell a suite of apps, which OEMs or carriers can buy or not, but that's cheap. The big win is low development costs coupled with unified app development to drive device sales. So yeah, Google is going to keep advancing Android.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Android has been hit with its first trojan. announced this week from [I think] Kaspersky. Soon you'll see Norton Anti-Virus for Android, Avast for Android, AVG for Android, ... :-)

Rexxrally
Rexxrally

You cannot sail to new worlds with one foot on the dock. I would rather have the open world of Android (viruses and all) than to be told what I can and cannot do, who I can deal with, and what my morals are, by Steve Jobs. You ever hear the difference between God and Steve Jobs? God doesn't think he's Steve Jobs!

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

And is the average user of a smart phone a techie, or a consumer? Just because [i]WE[/i] as techies know how to protect ourselves, does our neighbor know as much as we do? Can they do for themselves what you do every day? Believe me, for every one techie who knows what he's doing, there's more than a thousand consumers who don't have a clue. As long as you assume everybody knows as much about technology as we do, you'll see no change in the malware world. To end malware, you either have to educate the ignorant, or protect them. Since education alone can never reach every user, protecting them is far easier and cheaper.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Just because you can't explore farther doesn't mean you're going to sink. There's a lot of ocean within the reach of that rope and you've got a pretty watertight ship you're riding on. And obviously there's a lot of fish in that sea. None of them, as yet, barracudas or sharks.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

So far, after 5 years of SmartPhone use, not one virus, WinMobile, Symbian etc. No problems, DO viruses exist? Certainly, just as they do for computers. I also haven't had a computer virus or trojan attack in many years either though. User ignorance leads to most such issues.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Especially when you don't have a chance of exploring anywhere new because you are bound to the dock until you are permitted to buy more rope from the boat builder.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

I'd like to keep my phone virus free, thank you very much.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... than risk sinking in the middle of the ocean. That 'open world' appears to be a sieve--at this rate it certainly won't still be afloat by the time you reach the 'new world.'

RowanM
RowanM

So this is the end of the platform because an AV company says they have found a trojan on this platform? Like they have said they found on iOS, Win Mobile, and no doubt all the other extensible phone platforms. I have not heard of any real world infections on any mobile platform yet, but that hasn't stopped AV software houses telling you for years that you have to buy their software to keep safe. It will happen eventually, but one AV house saying they have found some proof of concept code is not a real world threat any more than the existence of such code for Linux and OSX means everyone has to run anti-virus on their Macs of Linux PCs.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... since the report is that the Android malware automatically and surreptitiously dials high-fee phone numbers that charge for every minute they're connected.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

If I remember right for the Android trojan, the person downloads a fake multimedia app. When they open it, that's when it starts to do its crap. So you don't need any AV for this?

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

To the first iPhone Trojan in Jan 2008? :p ;\

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

...and has the viruses to prove it!

michaewlewis
michaewlewis

What? I thought the iPhone was the #1 phone!!! There must be some mistake!

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

back to where you belong..

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... when both charts clearly showed that Apple sold more than 3Million more iPhones in this year's slowest quarter than last year's. This isn't to belittle Android's growth, but when you figure that they started from such a tiny number last year, their growth HAS to look huge! Will they show the same level of growth next year? Three years from now? Sure doesn't look like 'So Long Apple' to me as much as 'So long RIM, Nokia and others.' If you want to gloat, at least use something gloatworthy.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

but then everybody has to start somewhere, no?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

[i]"So Long Apple back to where you belong.."[/i] Sorry, Apple's going nowhere but up. And if some of the stories about Android's issues are true, it looks like Android may slow down or even turn around just as quickly as it rose. http://www.pcworld.com/article/203891/motorolas_android_22_rollout_what_a_mess.html?tk=nl_dnx_h_crawl http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=5855&tag=nl.e101 Read the last few paragraphs of these posts in particular. Android is beginning to lose its shine.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Apparently you do, since you started this particular line of discussion. However, if you really want to say one platform is killing another, shouldn't that other be losing sales, not gaining them? Your own logic is what's creating the spin--not the facts.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I merely stated that iOS is not going away, no matter how badly you want it. The 'spin' is in saying Android has killed it. If Android has killed anything, it's the Blackberry; meanwhile, iOS is working on Symbian.

Digicruiser
Digicruiser

Apple just love to shove in our faces what they let us have, not what we want!!! Thanks to IOS4, I don't have to jailbreak it to get my 50 ring tones on and a huge amount of wallpapers... BUT I still have to use iTunes as a conduit in most cases. The public are seeing this more and more and many want to connect to a PC without iTunes to download a ringtone etc from any capable PC at any location. You can only Video conf to another iPhone, where Nokia etc can Vid conf to any other video-phone, be it be Samsung and so on. People want to have pictures via Blu-tooth in the same room etc, my iPhone won't let any pictures be send or be received from a Samsung etc. The list goes on. Don't get me wrong, the OS in the iPhone is great in the way it operates but I would use it as a future wheel chock real quick when I get my new Android phone soon. The satisfaction survey they send out only asks if you are satisfied / not satisfied and so on but they don't ask you any details. This is blatant money grabbing stuff and as long as they are making money, they don't really care about what you want - you find out too late after you bought one. So keep your iPhone 4 with a stingy 5 megapixel camera and I'll buy a 8 megapixel bigger display (although not as high reso) Android phone which doesn't have Microsoft outlook slight problems etc and masses of freedom with the device. 70,000 apps now for Android and don't tell use about 200,000 apps for iPhone - tell me if anyone here has gone thru 200,000 apps and not seen absolute rubbish in a percentage thereof! Of course there will be rubbish Android apps but I'll have the best for iPhone and Android and they certainly won't be more than a 100, if that! Android gives you freedom, and I see the poor iPhone user drop their jaw when they see their mate receive a simple ringtone from another mate without ruddy iTunes...

macnixer
macnixer

While Android is good it was not the OS that changed how we do things today. Do not forget that when iPhone came out the whole smartphone market changed. There was a time I would fight with my Sony or Motorola just to install an app. Not with the iPhone. This whole ecology has become a standard now. I strongly believe that you have not used and iPhone. I rarely use the BT method for transferring files. I prefer the mail as I already have it running. BT is slow compared to the higher speeds that i get over 3G and WiFi. Then again, each to his own. I may belong to the other side which is not so popular but I am happy with what I have and care not for how you are happy without what I have.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

I use the USB Cable - fastest and most secure of the lot.

Mindtickler
Mindtickler

I'll bet you said that same thing when Windows 95 came out didn't you? You'd be wrong both times!

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