Android Aims to Prevail on Multiple Devices, Carriers

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-05-11

10 Reasons Why Android Will Dominate the Mobile Market

Google's Android mobile operating system platform has outsold the iPhone in the first quarter of 2010, according to NPD. Those figures were helped by HTC's Incredible, as well as the platform's availability on several different carriers.

Regardless, the figures speak for themselves. And although Android is still far behind the iPhone in terms of overall market share, it might only be a matter of time before the search giant's platform starts moving toward a dominant share of the mobile OS market.

Of course, Apple can't be happy to hear that. The iPhone maker has been soaring in the mobile market for years. As other devices have come and gone, it has been the iPhone that has enjoyed the staying power that the competition could only hope for.

But that is changing. The market is starting to realize that Android really is a viable alternative to Apple's smartphone. Google is quickly realizing that if it can stay the course and keep appealing to vendors, carriers and consumers, it will be only a matter of time before its overall market share trumps Apple's.

Believe it or not, Android is well on its way to dominating the mobile market. Here's why:

1. The momentum is shifting

Six months ago, the very idea that Android would be able to dominate the mobile market was ludicrous to most analysts. Google's platform was still trying to gain ground in a space where both Apple and RIM were strongly entrenched. But with the help of vendors and carriers, Google has been able to make its mark. And the momentum that was once decidedly in Apple's favor has slowly shifted to Google. Going forward, that momentum will only grow as more consumers realize that if they don't want to be on AT&T's network, going with an Android-based phone on another carrier's service isn't such a bad idea.

2. Carriers believe in Android

When Google's open-source platform first launched, it was met with some skepticism among carriers. They didn't know if it was another in a long line of operating systems that would attempt to be an iPhone OS knockoff or if it really would be different. During the first quarter of 2010, they got their answer. Android is here to stay. And it's quickly revealing itself as the most viable alternative to iPhone OS. That means everything to carriers like Verizon Wireless and Sprint. They know that they can't have the iPhone, so they will do everything they can to promote its next-best alternative. That should only help Android's market share.

3. Consumers are moving to Android

Thanks to those promotions and the effort Google and its partners have put into the software, consumers are finally starting to warm up to Android. Arguably, the first big breakthrough Android-based phone was Motorola's Droid. But now that the Nexus One and Droid Incredible are on sale, consumers have many more options available to them, further bolstering Android sales. That doesn't necessarily mean that a single Android-based device will be able to beat the iPhone, but it does mean that the overall market is warming to Android. The combined Android sales should easily outpace the iPhone's going forward.

4. It's Google, remember?

Google might not be developing the smartphones, but we can't forget that it's the brains behind the entire Android operation. That means something to consumers. If any company can compete with Apple in the mobile space and potentially give Steve Jobs a run for his money, it's Google. It has the same track record as Apple, enjoys a similar standing in the market and is generally beloved by the mainstream. Google has the name recognition and the respect it needs to dominate the mobile market.

Android Aims to Prevail on Multiple Devices, Carriers

5. Ubiquity is everything

As Google has shown, making devices available on several different carriers means the difference between a strong performance and outright dominance. It's simple math. Since the Android OS platform runs on multiple devices on multiple carriers' networks, it can gain market share faster compared with a single-carrier platform such as the iPhone OS. If Apple continues its exclusive deal with AT&T, Google should sell even more Android-based devices, since consumers and enterprise customers that are unwilling to switch to AT&T will find a viable Android alternative on another carrier's network.

6. High-quality applications keep coming

There's no telling how long (if ever) it will take Google's Android Market to catch up to Apple's App Store in terms of available applications, but the store is growing at a rapid rate. And the vast majority of the applications available in that store are worth using. That should help Google's chances of dominating the market going forward. After all, developers will soon realize that more Android-based phones are leaving stores than iPhones. Then they might shift more of their attention to Google's platform. Consumers in turn will find more even more applications to like. It's a win-win for Google.

7. The iPhone is still an iPhone

The iPhone is a top-selling device that deserves all the respect and admiration it gets. But as each new version of the device is released, the "wow factor" that once captivated consumers and enterprise customers is giving way. Customers may soon start to realize that with each year, Apple delivers iterative updates that don't necessarily offer the excitement the original did. That might play into Google's favor. As the excitement for the iPhone dies down, consumers might be more willing to consider alternatives. As recent sales figures have shown, when they seek out alternatives, they tend to land in Google's lap.

8. The industry is against Apple

A powerful, dominant Apple is not what the mobile industry wants to see. As the iPhone continues to improve and Apple's sales grow, we might see some backlash from the industry over fear of it turning out like the personal media player space. That should help Google. Although the search giant is dangerous in its own right, the mobile industry is rightfully concerned that a single company (namely, Apple) will dictate its direction going forward. If that happens, carriers and other stakeholders could lose control over the market, putting their own operations in jeopardy. But a dominant Google won't necessarily yield the same results. It might have the most market share, but if Google wins out, a single manufacturer's device or a single carrier's service won't command the market the way Apple's iPhone would. The space would be relatively similar to the way it is today, but Google would have the most market share. Carriers can likely live with that, since all that success will be spread around. Expect more carrier support of Google over the next year.

9. Vendor support keeps coming

Vendors are running scared. They realize that the iPhone is the de facto leader in today's marketplace and they don't want to be boxed out by Apple. Because of that, they're jumping to Google's Android platform. All in all, it's a smart idea. Why allow Apple to be the only company offering a "next-gen" platform? It's also good news for Google. The more vendors offering phones, the more the search giant can saturate the market with Android OS. And as carriers offer more Android-based devices, they will have an even greater vested interest in seeing the platform succeed.

10. Google has a plan

Unlike RIM or even Microsoft, Google has a plan to dominate the mobile market. It knows what it needs to do to attract consumers, vendors and carriers. It understands what the market is really seeking in a mobile device. And it realizes that it can't compete with Apple without offering a slew of phones on several different carriers. So far, that plan has worked beautifully for Google. And if Android's strong sales continue, it might be a matter of time before Apple realizes that its strategy for taking over the mobile industry might not be as bulletproof as it once thought. 

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