Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
11/15/2012
08:56 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Why Android's Dominance Is Bad

Google's Android platform grabbed a commanding 72% share of the smartphone market during the third quarter. That needs to change.

Windows Phone 8: Star Features
Windows Phone 8: Star Features
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Google owns the smartphone space. With Android on nearly three out of every four smartphones sold during the third quarter, it has all but destroyed its competitors. The closest rival is Apple's iOS platform, which has a paltry 13.9% in comparison. The rest of the field? Fighting for Google and Apple's scraps.

Gartner estimates that Google sold 122.5 million Android devices in the July - September period, doubling the 60.5 million it sold during the same period a year ago. That's massive growth, and it shows no signs of abating. Google says it is activating 1.3 million new Android handsets each and every day.

Apple posted growth, too, boosting sales from 17.3 million iPhones a year ago to 23.6 million this year. But Apple actually lost market share, dropping from 15% to 13.9%.

[ Is Windows Phone started to gain momentum in the market? Read Microsoft Phone Sales Jump 139% In Q3. ]

Sales of BlackBerrys dropped from 12.7 million to 8.9 million, and RIM's market share collapsed from 11% to 5.3%. Bada, Samsung's proprietary smartphone platform (which most people have probably never even heard of), shipped 5 million units, giving it 3% of the smartphone market. That's more than Symbian and Windows Phone. Symbian plummeted from 16.9% a year ago to a meager 2.6% this year.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's Windows Phone platform improved from 1.7% a year ago to 2.4% this year, with sales of just 4 million units during the third quarter of this year.

Keep in mind, these are worldwide figures. In the U.S., the rankings are: Android, iOS, BlackBerry 7, and Windows Phone. But BlackBerry 7 and Windows Phone have such a small percentage of the market, they're almost not even in the game.

And that's the problem.

Google's Android platform has caught on like wildfire. Four years ago, it was a fledgling platform with one device -- a curiosity at best. Android and iOS together have destroyed the fortunes of Nokia and RIM. Nokia was the long-time top provider of smartphones, with RIM's BlackBerry behind it. Now, both companies are scrambling to survive. Android has successfully pushed the former market leaders face first into the dirt.

Competition is good, but Android and iOS together have formed a smartphone duopoly of sorts. Combined, they own about 85% of the industry. The market can't support more than three or four real platforms, but whichever platforms take those third and fourth spots need to do better than taking just 5% from Apple and Google.

Microsoft and RIM are both staging comebacks, but their potential for real success against these two juggernauts is uncertain. Windows Phone 8 is an excellent platform that deserves a spot on the pedestal with Android and iOS. We'll see just how competitive BlackBerry 10 is in a few months.

The ecosystem strategy is the best approach. Google and Apple have vast ecosystems supporting their platforms. Microsoft is in a better position than RIM in this regard, as its ecosystem is much larger and already present in many homes and businesses thanks to Windows and XBox. But is it enough? Can WP8 really take a significant (>10%) piece of Google's Android pie? Can RIM, with BB10?

I hope so.

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riceryder
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riceryder,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 4:32:18 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Opensource baby! Windows OS is nice. iOS needs to die. BB10? What's that?
Benjamin Han
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Benjamin Han,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 4:33:42 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
A pretty uninspired article... Btw, the title should be more like "Why a Duopoly Is Bad" as this article has almost nothing to do with Android specifically, but only the pretty elementary conclusion that having competition is good for consumers.
milrtime83
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milrtime83,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 4:34:05 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
So Android's dominance is bad because it's dominant? That's about all I get from this article. I don't see where you actually state why that's a bad thing.
BarraCoupDuh
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BarraCoupDuh,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 4:34:31 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Domination of any market is bad for consumers.
Ajedi32
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Ajedi32,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 4:34:54 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
So the title of this article is "Why Android's Dominance is Bad", but you don't really explain that in the article?
TheWenger
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TheWenger,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 4:37:34 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
You could make the same article: "Why Verizon's Dominance is Bad". Except Verizon offers nothing for free and rips off consumers every chance they get.
Wild_Jogger
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Wild_Jogger,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 4:38:52 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
How DARE those evil Android people make such a great OS that everyone likes it and uses it.... all over the world!

We should all start using awful OSs instead!

That'll teach 'um!
turrboenvy
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turrboenvy,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 4:40:19 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
So it's bad because the "old guard" has lost their market dominance? It's Nokia's fault alone that they threw in their lot with Microsoft, and Microsoft's fault that they were so slow to see and catch up with the user interface paradigm of iOS and Android that brought smart phones into the mainstream.

Android's open platform allows for a number of major players, like Motorola, Samsung, and HTC to make/sell their hardware. So, sure, it's the dominant OS, but with decent hardware and customization, anybody can plan that game.

As TheWenger said, the duopoly of Verizon and AT&T is much worse. Those new "shared data" plans that force you to pay for unlimited talk/text, and then through the nose for paltry bits of data are ridiculous. But they're the ones with coverage unless you live in a major city and never leave.
Ryan Knudson
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Ryan Knudson,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 4:40:34 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Android got where it is by being the best. They were not simply handed this crown, it was earned. I could see it being bad if Apple and Android were switched on the charts (Apple having the 70%+ of the market)
However, since Android is a free and open environment as opposed to the authoritarian model provided by Apple there is no real ramifications. I do agree that Windows 8 is a great mobile OS and I think as time goes on it will grab more and more of the market. Especially if Apple keeps going after companies using Android. It will leave a void that will be filled in with WP8. The reason Windows and RIM are so far behind is they failed to keep getting better and as a result they fell way way way behind.
Richard Morey
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Richard Morey,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/15/2012 | 4:41:05 PM
re: Why Android's Dominance Is Bad
Android is dominant because Google did the right thing in maing it open source and available to hardware vendors and carriers to customize. As an Android developer my frustration is with the fragementation of Android versions across devices but I still much prefer Android as both a mobile platform and a development platform to the closed "Do as we say" iOS. I don't think WinMo or BB will make any real traction in the mobile space.
Page 1 / 9   >   >>
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