Rory Cellan-Jones has blogged about Google’s Android catching up with Apple in the year 2011, and the projection that it’s going to surpass the iOS app store's number of downloads – which stands at 18 billion now – in the next few years.
Android is already controlling around half of the smartphone market. There are mixed feelings from developers about the economics of the Android market, but there’s one aspect that’s noticeable amidst the confusion: App developers are willing to take risks because of the sheer size and growth pace of the Android market. It is the openness of the Android technology that stands out.
Android and Openness
I’d expressed my thoughts about openness earlier, with a feeling that a lack of it is generally detrimental to the world. However, I’ve learnt there's a positive about it too. Apple’s marketplace is much better organized and allows only approved apps, unlike what appears to many the Android "mess".
Observers believe it is the openness of the Android platform that has lead to its recent successes in terms of acceptance, although critics think this comes at the cost of quality.
Most Android users head to the app stores looking for free stuff, giving the instant impression that the revenue model of developers is questionable. This is not exactly true, given the fact that in-app advertising and huge sponsorship by major brands fetches money. Also, Android has the potential to reach mass populations, which is slightly different from Apple’s traditional those-who-are-willing-to-pay-for-Apple way of doing things.
Android's growth chart. Image courtesy: Google
A closely fought contest to excel in innovation will ensure the finest quality in the years to come. Neither an acrimonious patent war nor a wild rush to saturate the markets is going to help define the best future smartphones.
Do you believe Anrdoid is the future of smartphones? Do you think openness will make the difference in the contest between Android and Apple? You’re welcome to comment!