Many people actually seem to consider it news that Android OS will overtake mobile operating systems made by Research In Motion (RIM), Apple and Microsoft to occupy the second position after Symbian OS.
Of course, when organisations like Gartner and IDC speak, the information carries some weight.
Yet, this information is old news to us here at MobilityNigeria. A full year ago, I already made that same projection in my article, Battle of the Mobile Operating Systems.
From my October 2009 article:
I submit that Symbian is likely to remain the dominant mobile OS for a long time. Current trends suggest that Android will take the 2nd place quickly.
One of the advantages that Symbian has is what will help Android achieve this feat. Both Symbian and Android are licenced by numerous manufacturers, some of which are adding layers of services, functionality and usabilty to the underlying operatiing systems.
Communication service providers’ (CSPs’) marketing and vendor support for Android-based smartphones will drive the platform to become the second-largest platform, following Symbian, by year-end 2010 (see Table 1). This is almost two years earlier than Gartner predicted a year ago.
Symbian will maintain its leading position, while continuing to slowly lose market share. BlackBerry’s market share is projected to be almost flat (though, because of the overall growth of the smartphone market, RIM will see device shipment numbers increase). Android will overtake BlackBerry and reach second position, possibly posing a threat to Symbian in the (very) long run. Windows Mobile (or rather, Windows Phone) is expected to regain a bit of the market share it has lost in the past few years.
Of course, it isn’t as if this is the first time that these research organisations have projected that the competition is between Symbian and Android. It is the hype around the news that is surprising to me. People are acting like this is really, really, really news.
Well, it isn’t.
For sure, Gartner and IDC are giving us projected figures, and in my opinion that is a risky exercise. Those figures are not likely to pan out. But there is no doubt that the top two mobile Operating Systems for a while will be Symbian and Android in first and second place respectively.
I remember that someone questioned my position earlier and I replied him, “I will be glad to tell you, I told you so“.
In my October 2009 article, I mentioned the fact that the other operating systems are generally mono-products – iPhones are manufactured by only Apple; Blackberries are manufactured by only RIM, and Palm devices by only Palm. Bada OS devices are made by only Samsung for now.
To expect the battle to turn out otherwise does not make sense, unless there is a policy shift by one or more of the others.
And those screaming that Symbian is dead are living in denial. Symbian is selling more and more devices with each passing year. Plus, Symbian still sells more devices than most of the other platforms put together. How can these indices be interpreted in any way as death throes?
Personally, I have issues with Symbian, as do many others. But that does not translate to Symbian dying. For the records, I have issues with Android and iOS too – and I know that many others do too.
Before WebOS, Palm was dying. They were selling less and less. That was dying. Symbian is alive and well, people. Sales are up. Read the figures. The figures don’t lie.
As for Windowsphone 7, it is not here yet and I won’t place any bets on that platform yet. Once it arrives and we see how the river flows, I’ll have much to say. In the meantime, here is a summary of where I stand:
Fact: Symbian will lead for years to come.
Fact: Android, not iOS, will be Symbian’s main competitor. iOS never was a competition to Symbian. It is not likely that it will ever be. Even today as I type this, iOS is not number two. Blackberry is.
Possibility: Some day, Android may overtake Symbian as the king of the mobile jungle.
Fact: All others except for Windowsphone 7 remain niche platforms, being limited to only one manufacturer per OS unlesss and until a policy shift happens.
So is it news that Android will be the platform to compete with Symbian for the number one spot in mobile OS market? Nope. Old news. I took that for granted a year ago. Still, it is good to see that others in the industry see things clearly too.