Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Will smartphones running Google's new Android mobile software eventually replace the iPhone?

In some people's minds, Android already has surpassed the iPhone. In terms of market percentage, NPD Group reported Android phones outpaced the sale of iPhones in the first quarter of 2010. This puts Google's Android in second place right behind Blackberry in terms of market share and paints an optimistic future for the platform. iPhones, however, have a rabid fan base and Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference scheduled in June carries with it the expectation for announcing the new iPhone HD. If true, iPhone sales will skyrocket. Sales and market share will be heavily contested this year but the long term trend points to Google as the big winner.
Currently Apple is tied to a single US carrier while Android is available on all the major networks. Apple has similar outlets for its product in European and Asian Markets and, while it has served Apple very well so far, this approach to the marketplace is a liability. Now that Google's Android has matched, or even surpassed, the iPhone's capabilities, consumers no longer have envy helping them make a smartphone purchase. Instead, buyers can concentrate on pricing plans and which carriers serve their needs best. It is only when someone lands at AT&T, or another exclusive iPhone carrier, that this tug of war between the two smartphones exists.
Apple' advantage is that it did lead the way, showing the world how a mobile device should be personal, intuitive, and just plain fun. It has made the term "app" synonymous with the iPhone and erected an ecosystem every competitor is trying to duplicate. Google's emergence as the only company capable of competing with Apple is a difference between strategies. Apple is singularly responsible for all facets of its handset while Google pushed for openness in its approach and can draw from a collaboration of partners who can provide brandable differences between phones. It is not that Google dismisses a proprietary place for software, it has provided things like voice search and maps while allowing third party products like Adobe's Flash onto the platform.
Recently, when Apple tightened the criteria for developing on its OS, it made the already notoriously picky App Store even less attractive for developers. With Google's Marketplace already growing by leaps and bounds , Apple's move is alienating developers and jeopardizing one of the key reasons the iPhone is still an attractive choice over Android, its number of apps.
Google has simply used openness to upstage Apple. Open means there is a larger pool of manufactures, developers, and carriers to draw from. Open also means the innovation, creativity, and speed of Android's development will outpace the iPhone. Open also means consumers will have a far greater choice and this is why Android will dominant.
Originally Posted on Helium

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