In the mobile market, it's not always easy to predict which company will reign supreme. After all, prior to the iPhone's launch, who would have thought that Research in Motion's influence would be marginalized and Symbian would be affected the way it has been? The mobile space is simply a hotly contested market that can change dramatically at a moment's notice.
But over the next several years, there will be some consistency in the mobile market. Google's Android platform, which has come on extremely strongly during the past couple years, is sure to dominate..Not even Apple's iOS platform or Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 will be able to stop it.
Unlike just about everything else in the mobile market, saying that Android will be dominant for the foreseeable future isn't all that risky. The operating system has all the elements required to stay a dominant force in the mobile market. Android has caught on with consumers, appealed to vendors, and has been running on worthwhile smartphones. It's a winner across the board, and its domination has only just begun.
Here are 10 reasons why Android is here to dominate.
1. It's a numbers game
If nothing else, Android's future as a dominant force in the mobile space is guaranteed because so many companies are running the operating system on their smartphones. When Google first launched Android, the company realized how important its relationship with vendors would be, and it went about entering into mutually beneficial partnerships. Combine that with the success of early Android phones, and it didn't take long for companies to jump on Google's bandwagon. Now many firms, especially Motorola, are committed to Android, and that won't change.
2. The phones keep getting better
One of the best parts about Android is that the phones running the operating system keep getting better. Last year's Motorola smartphone releases were even better than those the company launched before that. The same can be said for HTC's offerings. As vendors continue to warm to the idea of being an Android provider, they're delivering better devices. As long as that trend continues, expect Android's growth to continue, as well.
3. Android tablets
Google's Android tablets have so far faced some difficulty. The devices, including the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab, have failed to appeal to customers as much as the iPad 2. But when Android first shipped on smartphones, it was a similar story - consumers realized that Apple's iPhone was a better device than comparable Android smartphones. Now Android reigns supreme in the smartphone space. If Google's partners can follow suit in the tablet space, slates should only help solidify the search giant's standing in the mobile market.
4. Symbian's decline
Over the last several years, Symbian has been easily leading the mobile market. But its days are numbered. As IDC pointed out in a recent study, it expects Symbian to have just 20.9 percent market share in 2011. And after Nokia follows through on its deal with Microsoft to run Windows Phone 7 on its devices, Symbian's market share will be practically zero by 2015. Simply put, Android's top competitor is dead, and now there's nothing standing in its way to totally dominate the mobile market going forward.
5. Windows Phone 7 isn't impressive
Android's biggest competitor in the mobile market is arguably Microsoft. Unlike Apple, which only provides its operating system on the iPhone and iPad, Microsoft follows Google's model and offers its operating system to other vendors. So both firms are trying to not only woo customers, but woo vendors, as well. Luckily for Google, though, Windows Phone 7 isn't a top operating system. In fact, the platform lacks many of the features, especially an ample number of apps, that customers are looking for today. Until Microsoft can deliver something that bests Android, Google shouldn't expect much threat from the software giant.
6. Apple will never share its iOS
There's no debating that Apple could be a huge threat to Android if it ever decided to open up its iOS platform and let other companies run it on their devices. There's only one issue: It will never happen. Apple is content to make its cash on hardware sales, and it doesn't seemingly care about besting Android in overall market share. After all, with only its own smartphone and tablet on store shelves, Apple can't keep up with all the Android-based devices available.
7. Android is getting better
Google's Android platform isn't the best mobile operating system on the market - that position is reserved for Apple's iOS - but things are getting better and better. Android 2.2 was arguably the best version of Android ever released, and if Google can work out some of the kinks in Android 3.0 "Honeycomb," it might just have another hit on its hands. As Android continues to improve, its market share will increase along with it.
8. Android Market apps are catching up
Apple got out to a big head start with its App Store, but Google's Android Market is closing in quickly. In fact, some analysts believe that Google's store could have more applications available in the United States by the middle of next year. At that point, it might never look back. Apps are extremely important in today's mobile marketplace. If Google can reign supreme in that space, it could solidify its dominant position going forward.
9. Google's commitment plays a role
When Google first entered the mobile market, some wondered how committed the company was to delivering a worthwhile operating system. After all, it had been competing in search and advertising prior to that, and its ability to effectively deliver a mobile strategy was in doubt. But it's not any longer. Google is committed to winning in the mobile space, and that should only help its chance of succeeding at that goal.
10. webOS isn't a threat
Hewlett-Packard is doubling down on webOS, the operating system that it acquired after buying Palm. The company says that its operating system will be running on its upcoming TouchPad tablet, as well as its computers. As one might expect, it will also continue to be available on its line of smartphones. All that sounds great for the operating system's market share, but it won't do anything to stop Android's rise in the mobile space.