The numbers do not lie – the Android operating system is by far the leader on smartphone devices. How much of a lead does it have? It stands at 84 percent of the total market, with Apple’s IOS hardly in the rear view mirror at 12 percent. It is the choice of consumers around the world because of its low cost and user-friendly features.
Where to Go From Here?
The question is how Android can become any more dominant with such a commanding presence. Apple is crawling to make up ground but is not likely to show any meaningful progress until the next decade. As for Windows and Blackberry, they are barely on the radar screen. It seems to be a situation where the only place for Android to go is down, since the sky has already been reached and the upward limit is now zero.
Reasons For Android’s Success
Low cost and user-friendliness have already been mentioned, but a huge factor is the fact that the majority of smartphone sales are taking place in the under $200 price level, leaving virtually everyone out of contention, especially the iPhone. The low cost of Android combined with its installation on low cost hardware make it a perfect match for consumers. Instead of having to pay scads of money every time a new technology emerges, they can be both technologically relevant and fashionable simply by purchasing another low cost Android device.
There is no future view of the cost of the operating system (OS) increasing, so for manufacturers who are currently in the market or those who want to test out a new entry, Android is the number one choice. Consumers who do not want to learn to operate a smartphone every time there is a change in technology will stay with the Android OS regardless of the brand of smartphone they choose. In short, Android is here to stay, which gives manufacturers and consumers a smartphone security blanket.
Profit and Other Problems
But since consumers know that the Android OS can be had for almost nothing in cost, the expectations of the hardware manufacturers is they will continue to provide low cost hardware to match. Because Android is so popular, the competition for the physical smartphones with Android installed is intense, giving dealers little room for profit. Internet Service Providers can offer the phones in combination with a long term contract that is basically almost all profit for the company. This is another pricing strategy that leaves dealers and vendors in a difficult profit situation.
This market saturation will inevitably lead to a shake out despite Android’s dominance. It remains to be seen whether surviving manufacturers will follow the historical lead of taking advantage of consumers by raising prices, or doing without. It is becoming increasingly evident that the number of extra features the current hardware can create for the consumer is more and more limited. That leaves the question of whether Android is versatile enough to adopt itself to a device with far greater capabilities than the current smartphone product lines.
Disputing the dominance of Android is silly. Admitting it is THE operating system for most future entrants into the smartphone industry is a no-brainer. But consumers are a fickle bunch, so time will tell if the smartphone industry will be able to keep them happy and the smartphone relevant. It is a millennium of rapid technological change, and today’s smartphone can easily become the 8-track player of yesterday.