Currently, Google’s Android is growing its consumer market, but business appears to be the next target.
Arguably, Android is the current big thing as opposed to the next one, but it has the potential to get a lot bigger.
The open source platform was purchased by Google in 2005 and includes an operating system (OS) and key applications. The platform is on Samsung, Motorola, LG, HTC and ViewSonic phones and tablets.
In the last quarter of 2010, sales of Android smartphones soared 1,580 per cent year-on-year to 7.9 million units from 470,000 units a year earlier, according to Western European mobile phone market figures from research group IDC.
James Coulson, European marketing manager at consumer electronics company ViewSonic, says, ‘Android is designed to offer an interactive experience. It’s an OS that’s been developed to accommodate new technologies, so it’s scalable.’
While Apple’s iOS continues to dominate the mobile phone market, Android is catching up. IDC predicts that it will reach a 37 per cent compound annual growth rate between 2010 and 2015 in Western Europe, eventually overtaking Apple’s offering.
‘Google likes to provide a forum for people to innovate, whereas the Apple environment at the moment is very controlled and binary,’ Coulson says, explaining the characteristics that he believes differentiate the two systems.
He adds that people have been waiting for a system that works in a consistent way across different mobile phones, so users can easily switch from one to another. Android OS delivers by this yardstick.
There’s a bright future ahead for the platform too, says Coulson. ‘Android is definitely aimed at the consumer market. But new versions of Android are likely to enable encryption on attached or remote storage, which shows Google is serious about the commercial enterprise sector.’