The state of the market
Yes folks, the heat is on. Apple is looking to announce its iPhone5 next week, Nokia and Motorola are ready to launch their next best phone this week, and Amazon plans to launch the newest version of its Kindle Fire — yes, it’s all happening this week. Sony and Samsung showed off their Xperias, Galaxies, and Ativs last week at IFA 2012. Google also completed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, making Android’s position stronger and releasing couple of new devices this month.
Sony unveiled its new sleek tablet gizmo — Sony Vaio Top 20. And Microsoft of course is creating some buzz around Windows 8 with Nokia Lumia. IFA2012 saw Acers, Asus’s and Lenovos prototyping Windows 8 tablets. Earlier this quarter we’d seen the launch of the majestic Surface from the Redmond guys. These tablet style devices are ready to go head on with new mini-iPad (??) in the making.
And you might be thinking what I am thinking. Why are all these guys going crazy at the same time? Interestingly Michael Gartenberg, a technology analyst at Gartner thinks that the Apple created some insecurity in the market with its iPhone 5 announcement which led to this reactive movement. It could also be an amazing co-incidence of sorts too, who knows. No matter what the reason is, this is going to be an exciting market to examine but also a challenging one.
The patent wars
Market shares — Android has over 52%, Apple just spiked to 33%, RIM follows suite at 9%, followed by Microsoft at 3.6%. Would the iPhone5 change these numbers and what will all these new announcements do to Android and Windows? Apple’s position has definitely gotten stronger after the victory in its patent lawsuit with Samsung but that’s unlikely to dilute Android’s position. But Nokia might be able to benefit from this because MSFT rolled out Windows8 with Nokia and MSFT has a cross licensing agreement with Apple. Too many relationships to follow in the mobile market or should I say they are the marriages of convenience by enterprises to compete in market!!
The state of consumers and developers
No doubt, you and I have a lot to choose from and a lot to benefit from these OS wars. Screens, speeds, LOTs of apps, sizes, weights, sleeker keyboards, NFC chips, the ‘x’ factor and many such advanced features can help you decide which phone or tablet will suit your personality (if you can afford to ignore the price) – A Perfect story of a impeccably competitive market driven by consumer choice.
But if the OS guys need to gain share, they need to pamper their developers and secure their loyalty. Primarily because it is the developers’ enthusiasm that directly translates to hardware sales success —according to Kevin Restivo, a senior research analyst at IDC. And with new devices housing new OS’s there might be plenty of work for developers in adapting and readapting to support all these new devices and write new code for upgrades. The typical fragmentation problem. Unless, like Microsoft’s new Nokia phone software which is similar to the upcoming Windows 8 desktop and tablet software. There developers can write apps easily for both which could build the platform’s popularity and may even lead developers to eventually build apps for Windows before Android.
The consumer in this market may get many choices but the quality is always going to be challenging as the OEMs are forced to bring innovation to market faster, developers are going to try to support as many devices and features that they can to capture global market and testing teams in most of the enterprises will be busy playing the catch up game — sometimes I wonder how is this impacting the investment and budgets associated with mobile in enterprise world!!!