Android in 2013: Smartphones

Peering into a Green Crystal Ball to See Android's Future

Enorium asked me to deliver a presentation on “Android in 2013” as part of an Android seminar. This is the first in a series of blog posts that will walk through the topics I intend to touch upon in that presentation.

Smartphones are gaining significant ground in the overall mobile device marketplace. “This increase will be so rapid, that by the end of 2011, Nielsen expects more smartphones in the U.S. market than feature phones.” Smartphone usage is growing globally as well. With Android presently positioned as a smartphone mobile OS, it seems logical to start by looking at where Android will be in terms of smartphones in 2013.

You might think of 2010 as being an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Mobile OS Edition”. iPhone, and Android shortly thereafter, raised the bar for user experience with smartphones. Palm has already come out with its competing platform (WebOS), with Symbian and Microsoft targeting this year to revamp their mobile operating systems to adopt some of the same characteristics.

Hence, right now, Android is grabbing a fair amount of market share, at the expense of pre-makeover competitors. comScore shows Android sales in the US climbing rapidly, taking chunks out of Palm and Windows Mobile in the process. But, Windows Phone in the US and Symbian^3 and ^4 globally will help to slow Android's growth later this year.

RIM has remained relatively steady in the US, perhaps because it is the remaining major US market player that is still targeting enterprises. Windows Phone and WebOS seem to be consumer-focused, at least based on the features I have seen touted. That goes along with Android and iPhone which, while having some enterprise hooks, are still consumer operating systems at their core.

Hence, I am going to project that Android will wind up with 15-20% of the US market (and a similar percentage globally) in 2013, if it sticks to its current consumer focus. Android, though, is in better position to perhaps make a run at the enterprise than some of the others, so Android might wind up with more 2013 market share if it offers an enterprise flavor in 2010 or 2011.

Bear in mind, though, that I am playing the role of industry analyst here, so take a very large grain of salt with these predictions. Other industry analysts have suggested that Android will overtake iPhone, which is conceivable, but I am being a bit more conservative.

However, while Android today is pegged as a smartphone OS, that is not really the case. In the next post in this series, we'll take a look at where Android might be in 2013, beyond smartphones.


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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