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Schweb's Lounge Forum for general conversation, chit chat, or most topics that don't fit in another forum.

Will Google be the Windows of mobile operating systems?


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fleurya

 
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Not trying to start a flame war or even a debate about which is better, but thinking about the mobile OS landscape of today reminds me a lot of the OS war for PCs back in the day. You have a lot of operating systems available, some a lot more popular than others, and in the end it will likely be content availability, speed to market, and room for price/product differentiation that could eventually win the majority of the consumer market.

So, in that context, doesn't it seem like Google and their Android OS is much like Microsoft and Windows back in the day? Instead of making their software only available on their hardware, they have made it available to all hardware manufacturers, which, like Windows, could cause it to spread much more rapidly and quickly take over the market. The only difference today is that Apple has a big upper hand. But if enough hardware developers get on board with Android, and the software developers follow for more revenue, and because they don't want to deal with Apple's stringent app approval, Android could quickly overrun Apple.

Now, I'm not saying Apple should change their ways or anything, or that this could kill the iPhone. Apple has always been on the side of developing high quality for the few rather than sacrificing quality for a bigger chunk of the market, and that model has done well for them. I just think it's interesting how it appears that the future is unfolding similar to the not-so-distant past.

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It's a good question, and a good way to start a flame war.

While I think Google has the opportunity to do some very cool things, people are becoming very picky about the reliability and integration of their hardware/software on mobile platforms. A cheap phone, no matter how cool the OS is, is still a cheap phone and some early Android adopters are learning this already. Since they don't control the hardware, the software upgradability will depend on the hardware makers to make the phones more "future proof", just ask those G1 users who's phones are not upgradable to the new OS 6 months after purchase (at least the iPhone took 3 software upgrades to kill the original iPhone, right as the original users AT&T contracts conveniently expired).

Since Google is ambivalent at best about who they license their OS to, this may eventually hurt them. Apple being a "one stop shop" and having a good retail presence provides a continuous viable alternative to any Android advancements, especially when it comes to Apps and support. Since Apple makes both ends, their whole infrastructure can be focused on the whole product, not just the OS. The only real advantage the Android may have will the availability on multiple carriers, although that may change for the iPhone with the advent of the new hybrid technology the advancement towards 4G.


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I think there is too much competition for any one player to get that big. iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and Windows mobile are all solid offerings.
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It didn't occur to me until just now but doesn't Blackberry make their own hardware?


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Don't forget Symbian, which controls 50% of the smartphone market.
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It didn't occur to me until just now but doesn't Blackberry make their own hardware?
Yes, Research in Motion does indeed make their own hardware and software.

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Don't forget Symbian, which controls 50% of the smartphone market
I have been to the Nokia store in Chicago and seen some of those phone, they look pretty nice but I don't know anyone that owns one.
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I think Symbian gets a large chunk of the market on your average non-smartphones. That said, it did say 50% of the smartphone market which, when I think about, I agree with you. I don't think I've seen a Symbian smartphone. I only really ever see BlackBerries.

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