Reston, VA – December 29, 2010 – Will 2010 be crowned “The Year of Android”?
Earlier this year, it was widely reported that shipments of smartphones running the Android operating system outpaced all other smartphone standards, including the venerable Apple iPhone. According to a November article by JR Raphael, a columnist for Computer World magazine, the 3rd quarter of 2010 saw 44 percent of all smartphone sales go to Android-equipped devices. Sales of the iPhone in the same quarter tallied 26 percent, while RIM’s BlackBerry operating system accounted for 24 percent of sales.
Fourth-quarter sales numbers are not yet available, but what is available is data showing that applications for Android phones are increasing at a geometric rate. The chart on the right, courtesy of AndroLib.com, shows that applications available from the Android Market doubled in the past five months. 2010 started with approximately 25,000 Android applications, a number that increased to 100,000 by around the middle of July. According to AndroLib.com, the number of available Android applications will be 200,000 by the end of 2010.
Obviously, most people don’t need lots of applications for their smartphones, and the quality of many of the available Android applications is unknown. Also true is that there can be dozens of “me too” applications for a simple and popular function. For example, today there are well more than 100 “flashlight” apps in the Android Market. The bottom line is that the number of Android applications is increasing because the number of Android devices is increasing.
There are several reasons for the rapid increase in Android smartphones in 2010, including the fact that there is a large variety of devices equipped with Android that are available in a range of prices. The competing operating systems have many fewer choices, particularly Apple, which currently sells just two versions of the iPhone. In contrast, Android smartphones are available in a kaleidoscope of versions with screen sizes from 3- to 4.3-inches, with or without physical keyboards and with removable memory cards. Other significant features available on some Android phones (that are not available on either of the two iPhone models) include WiFi hotspots and 4G connectivity. If you want 4G connectivity and a physical keyboard, the Android operating system is your only currently available choice.
Only time will tell if Android’s increasing dominance will continue in 2011. The electronics industry is highly competitive, so the coming year may see spectacular announcements from manufacturers that use smartphone operating systems other than Android. However, it looks like 2010 will go down as “The Year of Android.”