We are in a post-PC world, and there is a war on to be the platform that will dominate it.
The real network effect in smartphones is with developers, not the end users. When it comes down to it, consumers are largely drawn to phones with the most and best apps.
Here’s the state of the platform wars:
- It’s still a two-horse race: Android and iOS account for more than 80 per cent of smartphones shipped last quarter. While Android still has the edge in market share, iOS has blown open a huge lead with developers. Android’s fragmentation and monetization problems haven’t gotten any closer to being solved, but it does have promising growth in developing markets.
- Amazon has lost some momentum: Sales of the Kindle Fire have been lukewarm after blowing out of the gates at the end of last year. Sales in the subsequent two quarters are about half what they sold in that quarter. While Amazon has demonstrated they can deliver revenue to developers, big questions remain about their ability to build out and manage a software platform and design the hardware to deliver it.
- Windows Phone is a wait-and-see proposition: Developers are cautiously optimistic about Microsoft’s big push into mobile. One-third of developers expressed interest in the upcoming Windows 8 tablets. We won’t have a good picture where Microsoft’s mobile initiatives stands till the end of the year, but the company is putting the full weight of its resources behind the effort.
- HTML5 is not an immediate cure-all: It has the promise to replace native apps long-term, but it is burdened by short-term technical difficulties.
In full, the report:
- Explains why iOS is currently winning the long-term battle
- Details the scope and impact of Android’s monetization and fragmentation problems
- analyses the prospects and recent performance of other prominent solutions, including Amazon, Microsoft, and HTML5