Five Reasons Why Android Could Kill Windows Mobile
NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system could be the product in the smartphone space that is most vulnerable to the rise of Android, whose market share has steadily climbed over the past year. A variety of factors, ranging from a pairing of the Android OS with the solidly selling Motorola Droid to a positive trend line in Android OS adoption, suggest that Windows Mobile could be squeezed out of the multiple-mobile-device ecosystem unless Mobile 7, rumored to be released sometime in 2010, proves to be the substantial improvement that Microsoft promises.When the Motorola Droid, powered by Google's Android OS and serviced by Verizon, made its street debut on Nov. 5, the comparisons immediately started between the new smartphone and Apple's iPhone. Fueling the argument was Verizon itself, which launched a series of head-to-head advertisements that emphasized certain Droid functionality-such as the ability to run multiple applications simultaneously-that Apple's device currently lacks. Yet Apple may not be the company most affected by Android; as Google's operating system gains traction, Microsoft could be the one finding itself firmly in the crosshairs.
Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system-currently in Version 6.5 but expected to upgrade to Version 7 at some point in 2010-may end up being the most vulnerable to the rise of Android. Unlike Apple and other companies, Microsoft depends on its operating system and attendant software being ported onto multiple devices offered by multiple manufacturers and carriers-something that has the potential to be a huge advantage in terms of mobile OS market share, unless a stronger competitor enters the ecosystem.
In theory, Mobile 6.5 would stop the erosion in Microsoft's mobile market share, before the newer-and-more-improved Mobile 7 comes onto the scene to do hearty battle with the iPhone and BlackBerry. But Android is putting pressure on that model, with the AdMob data suggesting Google's market share has climbed 1,000 percent in the past year. Mobile 6.5 will be present on 13 phones, including ones by LG Electronics, HTC and Sony Ericsson, by the end of 2010. Andy Rubin, Google's senior director for mobile platforms, previously estimated that the Android operating system could be running on 18 to 20 devices by the end of the year; even if you consider the source and chop that Android number in half-and given that everyone from Nokia and Motorola to Acer and Dell are all either building or considering Android phones, that's conservative-it still represents a substantial number of Android OS phones crowding the ecosystem.