Android vs. iOS
Android appears to be on a winning streak, smashing on through with 79.3% of all smartphone shipments in 2Q13. The debate of Android vs. iOS is a long and painful argument and has been a hotly debated topic by any amount of tech enthusiasts for the past few years. Android’s open source and accessibility by manufacturers gives it greater exposure to a wide array of high, mid and low end phone specifications, from the Samsung Galaxy S4 powerhouse, to the lower end HTC Desire 200. Apple on the other hand, with only six models of the iPhone since launch, has and continues to be a revolutionary force in the smartphone market and have shown their strength with their yearly iPhone release cycle’s ability to penetrate the market.
Meeting the change head on
Google realized the potential of the mobile market and Android was built to meet this ‘mobile’ future. Apple foresaw the potential of the mobile market, but perhaps realized that no device had yet caught the interest of the mass market and with the release of the iPhone in 2007, Apple captured and dominated the smartphone market.
One of the problems that plagued the early days of Android was the lack of control that Google had over how the operating system was used, users had vastly differing experiences depending on the hardware that was used – a problem that still dogs Android today, although as hardware specifications have increased, so has the usability of Android on a wider range of hardware.
The rise and fall
Android and iOS hold 92.5% of the market share in 2Q13 shipments, Windows Phone, while seeing a large percentage increase, holds a significantly smaller 3.7%, even with a 77.6% increase year over year. With the huge decrease Nokia has seen with the Symbian operating system, Windows Phone offered an OS that they could use on a new generation of handsets.
However when facing the dominant players, Windows has not gained a significant hold on the market. Lack of developer interest has forced Microsoft to either bridge the gap themselves or rely on third party app developers. MetroTube for example bridges the gap of the official YouTube Windows Phone app, since Google, owners of YouTube, demanded that Microsoft pull the YouTube app from Windows Phone due to violating their terms of service with certain features.
The end of the PC
As the post-PC era continues, tablets are now common place with iOS and Android continuing to show their mobile strength into the tablet space. Windows 8, the golden child of Microsoft, has fallen short in tablet sales with the Windows Surface RT and the Windows Surface Pro failing to gain any significant market share.
It’s all in the connectivity
But, all things considered in the mobile and tablet space, what about the future of mobile? Are wearable technologies like Google’s Glass the way it’s going? With the success of crowd funded start-ups like the Pebble, raising a staggering $10,266,845 – it would seem a good guess to say the potential of ubiquitous computing is coming closer. Google’s Glass project is one of the largest scale commercial products that Google hopes will make significant gains for Android and also, as is key with Android, to give Google’s web services a clear lead.
As the time of the PC slows, it’s becoming clearer that those with the web services infrastructure that are able to connect easily with their users and use that data will be the sure winners, no longer are we needing to carry around a laptop, when servers are able to as quickly process and deliver the content and these software as a service models of technology still have a great potential in the mobile space, with systems like Google Now showing a fraction of their possibilities.
The future of the mobile has some great possibilities, but it won’t be the mobile hardware that will fuel it, it will be the mobility of the connections, so, and as Larry Page put it at the end of Google I/O in 2013 – “Technology should do the hard work so people can get on with the things that make them the happiest in life.”