Mobile OS War: Defining new rules

Mobile ecosystem is changing. Smartphone operating system, applications and users are the inevitable part of this ecosystem. People are buying smartphones not only on the basis of features and build quality but majorly because of OS and availability of apps.  Advent of iOS and android has revolutionalized the way we use our smartphones. Recently HTC surpassed the Nokia and Research in Motion (RIM) in terms of market capitalization.
Nokia's recent venture with Microsoft to launch smartphones with its new windows phone7 OS instead of Symbian platform is the sign of paradigm shift in consumers preferences. Devices like Samsung Galaxy Note, Sony Ericsson P tab and Lenovo LeePad creating new niche which constitutes the users of smartphones and a tablets and these people better be called as “PhoneBlets”.


Tech obsessed folks  like me always feel fascinated about the improvisation and development happened to smart phones over the last 3 years. In 1992 IBM launched world’s first smartphone “simon” and after that smartphone industry never looked back.  We are witnessing quick and rapid development in the smartphone industry.

Share of worldwide 2011 Q2 smartphone sales to end users by operating system, according to Gartner

 Above figures are the mirrors of tomorrow.  Symbian still leads the pack with 37.6%  but projections favors  Android by 2015. Other gainers would be Microsoft and iOS . Samsung and HTC are the early adopters of Android, emerging as  one of the biggest vendors of smartphones worldwide.   On the launch day of iPhone4S, Apple claimed that they are selling 3,67,000 iOS devices each day. In June 2011 Andy Rubin said a Half million Android devices were being activated each day. Microsoft tends to be in the race through the recent 7.5 Mango update. PCs war in 1980s and 1990s between Microsoft and Apple has transformed  into the war between iOS and Android. 

Future is with Smart Apps, Smarter players, Smartest consumer:
The mobile ecosystem is consumers and technology driven. Consumers are buying latest smartphones like hotcakes. Not only players want to be in the race but consumers  also actively engaged in overall research and development process through social commerce tools. Consumers are becoming very specific when it comes to select the smartphone on the basis of OS, features and apps. Number of Apps available in the OS giving a reasonable weightage to decide the preferred smartphone purchase. As of September 2011, iOS has more than 5 laks apps and Android has more than 2.95 Lakh apps. Experts predict that Google’s  Android market will overtake the Apple store in both application growth and downloads per year by the end of 2011.
Hardware vendors like Samsung, HTC, Apple and Motorola are launching smartphones with cutting edge technology. Features like Ultrafast Quadcore processor in upcoming Samsung galaxy three, qHD and HD resolutions in HTC phones, Super AMOLED Displays by Samsung, camera with 1080p video recording  are giving extraordinary capabilities to todays smartphones. With every Google phone like Nexus one  and galaxy nexus google launches new versions of Android. For example Android was introduced with nexus one made by HTC, with nexus two they launched Gingerbread version and finally recently with Galaxy nexus Google launched Android 4.0 by the name of Ice cream sandwich which will provide seamless experience on tablets and smartphones.  That’s a good strategic move by Google and advocates the fact that future lies with perfect sync between hardware, OS, apps and user experience.
 Samsung’s own closed and proprietary OS “BADA”  which means ocean is  also doing good in mid range handsets with WAVE series. WebOS from HP and Blackberry tablet OS from TNX systems are struggling to retain their  marketshare.

We like competition. It forces to fend off or to trump others but ultimately benefits consumers  like me. Mobile OS war is catching up and it will intensify in coming years. The market is likely to flourish with smartphones with great user experience, stability, apps, cutting edge hardware but with more openness. We will taste more versions of Android like ice cream sandwich. Upcoming  Aliyun OS by Alibaba and Windows 8 by Microsoft will heat up the moble OS war in future. We  will witness quality apps in marketplaces.  Trend will be more important than moment and last but not the least- “fittest will survive”.

Above article also published in Management Mix Magazine Dec 2011 issue

Your comments are welcome
Dharmendra Pandey

Also read:  E-Commerce to Social Commerce


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