Smartphones reignite the OS wars

“Smartphones have become the preferred computer of the masses,” Howard Fosdick reports for OSNews.

“Sales surpassed those of personal computers in 2010, having grown over 50% per year for several years. Nearly 500 million smartphones shipped in 2011,” Fosdick reports. “This radically shifts the terrain in the consumer operating system competition that was, for years, firmly decided in favor of Windows.”

Fosdick reports, “Smartphones have decimated Windows’ long OS dominance in popular computing… Tablets play a role in this change, too. TechCrunch projects iPad sales of 66 million this year. Forrester Research optimistically predicts that tablet sales will explode to 375 million yearly by 2016… Google Android and Apple iOS are the big winners in this OS shakeup. BlackBerry OS and especially Symbian OS appear destined for lesser roles in the future. Samsung has a good niche with Bada. webOS and Tizen might become niche products or they could fail altogether. The big question is whether Microsoft and its partners can nurture a third smartphone ecosystem. If so, we’ll have three dominant standards and a handful of popular niche systems. Otherwise the Android/iPhone duopoly continues, with small market share for Windows, and larger possibilities for niche alternatives.”

Much more in the full article, including some very informative Asymco charts, here.


  1. To the extent they can leverage their server tools, Office suite, Xbox, and existing enterprise desktop base, Microsoft is still in this game. But based on how they are executing it doesn’t look hopeful.

    The focused productivity apps of iOS are creating critical mass. If Windows RT doesn’t emerge fully formed and Intel can’t get power consumption under control, they may lose their chance.

  2. What a crock… Talking about “Google Android and Apple iOS are the big winners” in the tablet arena. This is just typical Apple hater equivocation. As of right now android has squat in the tablet sector it is a hackers toy, nothing more.
    As a matter of fact one could easily say that in the tablet (iPad) sector there is the iPad and a smattering of also-rans any of which are individually below the “rounding error”

    1. exactly why I picked up a samesung galaxy player (cheap)

      To hack/root and generally mess with. Save my iPhone for real world stuff.

      I’ll prob eventually pickup a cheap ms tablet someday to do the same, not for daily use and never put any data I want kept safe…

    2. Exactly. Journalists always think they need to throw in all the alternatives despite the fact that they may have less than 1% market share or are tanking like the Titanic (ie. Blackberry).

      1. Rookie Stacey King who scored 1 point off a free throw, in a game where Michael Jordan scored 69 was quoted as saying: “I will always remember this as the night that Jordan and I combined for 70 points.”

  3. I would hardly classify Android and iPhone together as a “duopoly” as that implies that the two entities are working together the same way the Microsoft and intel were a duopoly in the PC world (one couldn’t succeed without the other). Android and iOS are competitors and not partners in any sense of the word.

    1. I would agree to a point, however there are two points to keep in mind. First android is not an OS, it is a platform on which (literally) hundreds of fragmented distro’s are based. He talks about it like it was a single OS, it isn’t. And, secondly he also grossly overstates androids influence in the tablet market, which lets face it IS the heir apparent (it is tablets that are causing the decrease in PC sales not phones.) And in that market android has little, take away proprietary (closed) distr.’s (like the fire and the nook, which can’t even access the android market) and they have literally nothing in market share. Look at the Nook or the fire individually (because they are separate and aren’t mainstream) and they also have nothing market wise (and post christmas sales of both the nook tablet & kindle fire have plummeted, so they are NOT causing the current downward pressure on the PC market)
      The real conclusion is that the battle was won before any of these pinheaded apple hating “tech journalists” realized that there even was a battle going on.

      1. Android tablets are edging closer and closer to the price points and quality levels necessary to make them a compelling product. They aren’t there yet – iPad is clearly wiping the the floor with them right now. But if you’ve been paying attention to Android tablets, seen how far they’ve come this year, extrapolate what direction they are headed to, it should be clear that Android tablets will be a credible product in 2013, possibly even later this year.

        1. kayan wrote ” it should be clear that Android tablets will be a credible product in 2013, possibly even later this year.”

          I completely disagree with that, they are at least two years behind in real usability and have been since the beginning. (they don’t seem to be catching up at all) It is reasonable to assume it will take them at least two years to catch up (if they ever can) and by then the “tablet OS war” will be over (if it isn’t already.)
          You know, now that I think about it, there isn’t a “tablet category” at all. there is an iPad category and there is a smattering of half baked rip off’s of the iPad running a fragmented “open source” (quoted because it really isn’t open source at all it is a google product that they make for OEM’s which they occasionally release the source to the general public (and typically months even years out of date) .
          No sane enterprise customer is going to base a brand new deployment on such a device. Windows 8 might stand a chance of getting some small toehold in the iPad market but Android is dead on arrival as far as business goes.

        2. This is completely false. There’s only one purpose for a tablet: to run software. Android hardware might be becoming less terrible, even of it is terribly overpriced, but it is not significantly better than the iPad and never will win there.

          Hardware features only matter to the extent that they drive software. Android is a failure on tablet software and will never catch up. The talented developers are all on iOS. No top tier developer develops on Android first, none ever will. The money is all on iOS. iPad dominates here and will in 2013 and 2015 and 2017 and beyond.

          Android tablets are a sad joke, will never compete, and are a waste of time to write about. There is no tablet market and the few android tablets sitting in warehouses and forgotten and gathering dust on shelves of unlucky customers will be forgotten faster than 8 track tapes.

          The complete faceplate of the super cheap Kindle Fire should be a wake up call to Android tablet peddlers. Give up, no one wants Android tablets at any price.

          Another thing to consider, carriers are the only hope for Android tablets at retail, and very few people want to be tied to long term 2 year contracts for tablet computers. That’s bad news for android tablet makers who need that subsidy to appear as cheap as the iPad.

      2. duopoly |d(y)oōˈäpəlē| noun ( pl. -lies)
        a situation in which two suppliers dominate the market for a commodity or service.

        No mention of cooperation in the dictionary definition; so iOS and Android are justifiably called a duopoly.

        1. You’re right and I admit my error. Rather than look it up I was recalling what the world called MS & Intel, which were cooperating to create a two-company (OS + CPU) monopoly.

          I yield to the dictionary. 🙂

  4. Apple may rule over everyone in the consumer environment but they might start to loose in the business segment if they don’t start including more productivity tools as standard with their phones. A lot of the business people don’ t want to search for apps they need, even if they are good and free. They just want everything ready to go from day one.

    1. I’ve thought the same thing, one way would be for Apple to ofer a productivity suite , contains the best of those apps, you could then DL one package

  5. Fosdick? I wonder if he’s related to fearless Fosdick of Dick Tracy fame who was a character from the comic books also. Like Howard he was also given to stupid mind farts.

  6. “BlackBerry OS and especially Symbian OS appear destined for lesser roles in the future.”

    This, without a doubt, is the understatement of the year.

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