Saturday, September 17, 2011

Android and the Mobile OS Showdown

The continuous advancements of smartphones and tablets have led some to say that we are now in a post-PC era. Just like in the popular debates about which desktop or laptop computer operating system was better, the same question is being asked by users about mobile devices today.

Nokia and Blackberry jump started mobile industry advancements around a decade ago but Apple’s introduction of the iPhone easily superseded these to gain a major presence in the consumer market. Then Google came up with Android and iOS superiority was no longer a given. According to how market experts analyze it, there are three main factors that gave the Android platform its quick ascent.

  1.     Almost exponential increase in the number of base installations and apps developed
  2.     Monthly, weekly and even daily innovations that crop up in hardware and software
  3.     Timely support from major mobile carriers

iOS and Android may currently be the leading contenders but Nokia, Blackberry and Windows Mobile are not yet out of the fight. How the mobile OS showdown will turn out in the next few years will depend on how these platforms address the following issues.

  1.     Further product development and support from third party application developers
  2.     Introduction of an innovation that would significantly impact user experience
  3.     Moving on from the consumer market to gain more footing in the enterprise market
  4.     Additional development in cloud computing

These are the areas of opportunity in which the other mobile platforms can still make noticeable headway and get back into the conversation. Microsoft products for example already have a footing in enterprise and would do well to somehow consolidate the various services into their mobile offering. Research in Motion meanwhile has yet to surprise the public with its next line of products based on QNX.

All in all, it won’t be surprising to see more acquisitions and new partnerships form in 2012 and beyond as these platforms wrestle to gain more space in the mobile industry.

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