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Android Starts to Take Upper Hand…

January 19, 2011

In the battle for the future soul smart phones, the Observer is suggesting that Google is taking the upper hand, though the battle is far from over.  At talks I’ve done in 2009 and 2010 I said that, based on my PhD research the open-source nature of Android gave it a longer term advantage over the iPhone.  It appears this predicted gap is now opening up…

“Android has taken over from what I can see,” said Will Sullivan, founder of the website Journerdism, which is studying the mobile technology industry. Some commercial statistics bear that out. Android phones are now outselling iPhones in the US. Latest figures from the US show the Android and iPhone neck and neck in market share – but with 40.8% of new smart phone sales in the six months to November going to Android and 26.9% to iPhones.

That is important. For one of the great ironies of the development of the smart phone market is that making phone calls on the devices has been supplanted by email, instant message and chat. A vast business ecology of “apps” has also grown up allowing smart phones to do anything from checking the weather to picking out a local restaurant. In this new world of mobile communications many think it would be foolish to make firm predictions. “So much can change again in five years that I just don’t know what will happen,” [Rob Jackson, editor of Phandroid] said.

Though I’d echo this caution. We’ve not yet had much data from Microsoft on Windows Phone 7 and RIM (makers of Blackberry) have been busy with new devices of late. Changes comes and it comes fast, but I still think for the longer term, Android is best positioned to make it.

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