The most overused phrase on the Internet right now is “iPhone-killer”. I think that iPhone doesn’t have any serious contenders right now, but I do see one on the horizon.
Enter Google’s Android platform. What is it? From Google’s website: “Android delivers a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications.” The T-Mobile exclusive G1phone is a great show of this platform’s potential. A phone or notebook manufacturer can use Android and tie into any of the features the platform provides.
Its a bit early in the game for Android though, and a lot of the growth that I expected to see at launch didn’t happen. I am starting to get excited again, thanks to some articles from the last few weeks.
T-Mobile recently announced that they have sold 1 million G1 phones in just 6 months after its release in October 2008. For comparison, Android holds 6% of the smartphone market, with Windows Mobile holding 11%, Blackberry holding 22%, and iPhone holding 50%. Since the G1 is the only Android phone available right at the time of writing, and the G1 is a T-Mobile exclusive, its potential is limited by the size of T-Moble’s customer base.
Several things need to happen to make the growth of this platform explode. First, Android needs to be available to customers on regardless of carrier. Second, more Android devices need to enter the market. For comparison again, Out of the platforms listed above, Microsoft is the only other vendor that is both carrier-agnostic, and device-agnostic.
So, who else is coming to the Android platform? Samsung has announced 3 new Android phones this year, HTC a second. Motorola recently annouced that it is moving to Android Dell, HP and ASUS are reportedly working on Android-based netbooks. Acer announced an Android netbook, as well as others. If these vendors start shipping Android devices, then my second speculated requirement will be filled too, with Verizon, AT&T customers being able to purchase Android devices.
Now for that last pesky detail – everyone is developing for iPhone right? I am happy to say that the Android Market is alive and healthy. Many new apps come in every day, and a lot of the apps available on iPhone have versions availabe on the G1 from the same developer. So in a way, the success of the App Store on iPhone will contribute to the success of the Android Market. As the Android install base grows in size, so will its developer base.
For now, it is a waiting game. I think I will look into the SDK for Android and find out just how hard it would be to make some apps. If I can get a cool idea, and a polished product for a .99 cent price tag then maybe I could make some mad money!