Like watching a semi rumble past from the side of the road, Android has sailed past BlackBerry to become the number on smartphone platform in terms of market share. Nearly one third (31.2%) of US Smart phones now run the Google operating system, while only 30.4% of smartphones ran on BlackBerry during the same period from February 2010 to January 2011. Apple’s share of the smartphone pie has remained rather flat during the time, while Microsoft’s market share was cut nearly in half, even after the debut of Windows Phone 7. The rise of the Android’s platform has occurred in just over two years and can largely be due to Google’s open source philosophy which has been adopted by a wide range of smartphone manufactures, but really hit it’s stride after Motorola released the Droid in 2009.
At the beginning of 2010, RIM/BlackBerry enjoyed a 42% market saturation, while Google had just 7% market share. In the twelve months that followed, Google increased it’s footprint to the point where over 350,000 activations of over 170 different Android handsets were being done daily. The leap was able to improve its share well over four fold to gain dominance in the marketplace, leaving all three competitors wondering how the world it happened. The reality is, since Google’s Android operating system is free to implement, it was shovel ready, therefore allowing manufacturers to dive into the Cellphone business with little OS development. And that’s not all. With the ability to bypass OS development, handset manufacturers have been able to cut development time for hardware in half, making a new smart phone hitting the market almost a daily affair.
Although Android is number one in the smartphone category, it still lags behind Nokia’s Symbian OS for web enabled phones in general. But that lead is being chipped away quickly and it’s been stated that by 2014, Android will be the number one cellphone handset in the world. So, with such momentum on Google’s side, the question is, can Apple, RIM and Microsoft turn back the tide, or will be a simple case of too little too late?