Android and iOS account for almost 90 per cent of the global smartphone market. They control a similar share of the U.S. smartphone market, the world’s largest by revenue.
For now there’s no certainty about which company, if any, will be able to mount a serious challenge to Google’s and Apple’s dominance.
Here’s an overview of the race to be the third mobile platform:
- The argument in favour of a third platform is straightforward and compelling: A new, robust competitor will prevent the dominant platforms from growing complacent or stifling innovation. Apple and Google are pretty happy with the status quo. Consumers are probably not consciously pining for a third mobile platform. Developers would happily get behind a third platform if it widened their revenue streams.
- Microsoft has a head start: It launched Windows Phone in 2010, and tablet-friendly Windows 8 this year. It is experienced in building developer communities. However, Windows Phone has so far only managed a paltry 3 per cent platform market share.
- Amazon has the most potential to upend the market: A smartphone would be a natural extension of Amazon’s distribution empire, and its Kindle Fire tablet play. Amazon has 106 million unique visitors accessing its sites, many of them with credit cards on file.
- Samsung is a dark horse: Its dependency on Android may become a liability and push the South Korean manufacturer into the platform business. Samsung’s strength is its hardware sales prowess — Samsung shipped over 56 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2012.
In full, the report:
- Examines the rationales for a third platform
- Details why Microsoft is the consensus favourite to become the third platform
- Evaluates how Amazon is a scrappy upstart that could potentially lead ahead
- analyses the questions and opportunity surround Samsung’s potential foray into the market