[Update] Ok, I wrote this article before the Motorola purchase by Google. In doing so, Google have rendered many of my points mute. But it is interesting to see where the market was going before this bombshell. But just one more thing, Google bought one of the companies that makes some of the better Android devices, after a rather large amount of loss in the finance markets and having a war chest of 17,000 patent. This has all happened in about 2 years. I wonder if in a year’s time, we will actually be talking about Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia in the same way.
Yep, it is and there’s no use arguing about it. Not with me by any rate. The idea came from when I was looking over articles about the scale and expansion of Android over the mobile market. I’m not going to reel off all the figures that the other blogs put up. Nothing against that, as they are news sources, this is an opinion site and to read more on my thoughts on the matter, jump past the break.
But it came to me when the fact that Android OS is the largest of the mobile OSs and has the largest market share against iOS. Well, lets just put a little perspective on this. Apple, since 2007 have sold four different types of iPhone using the iOS platform. Since the first Android handsets came out, the market has exploded to there being literally hundreds of Android OS phones. This reminds me of the PC market. The Mac has been around for longer than the domestic Windows PC and yet, has a sub 10% global market share. But like an invading western force, is the hearts and minds. The Mac is an asperational item (with appropriate price tag) where as the PC is the works computer, the budget laptop, the outdoor display screen.
This growth and adoption of hardware manufactures to the Android platform has lead to tablets that all mimic the big fruits. But the PCs paid homage to the use of a windowed environment from the Mac and made it main stream. iOS made people want a smartphone and Android manufactures have made them cheap and accessible, while some make some high end devices too. Like a £300 laptop in the budget range of windows ecosystem there are Android phones costing less than £100. But in the PC world, we have Vaio laptops from sony costing £2000 and Android devices from Samsung costing over £500.
If Android were to continue on its current path of multiple OSs in use, across base spec hardware then the situation that microsoft faces now will be true of Android. One huge OS thats ubiquitous with the market space, but full of people who aspire to ‘move up’.
Word from Google is that the Android OS is going to become more focused – one OS for tablet and phone alike, in the vein of iOS – with stricter controls on the customisation that manufactures do to the interface from the light seasoning from samsung, to the full on plastic surgery from HTC and it’s Sense UI. This stricter control will help stem the ‘Windows Malaise’ that haunts the future of Android, but unlike Windows, the future of Android is littered with patent cases in the billions of dollars category and the fear of Malware and eventually full on viruses spreading through this bourgeoning platform. In this respect, Apple have it easy, they control their world. Android is the opposite, its open (to an extent) but its going to have to tighten up so it doesn’t go the way of Windows.