How Apple, Google and Samsung could lose the smartphone market

Linux-based platforms are gunning for iOS and Android, and Chinese companies want to price the iPhone and the Galaxy S line out of the market.

By , Computerworld |  Mobile & Wireless, android phones, Apple

But the Android platform is either catching up to, or has already surpassed, iOS in both innovation, as well as the quantity and quality of available apps. When you combine software improvements on Android with a vastly greater variety of available handsets, many former iPhone users are defecting to the other side, or thinking about it.

While users are growing ever fonder of the Android platform and its apps, hardware makers that create Android-powered phones are growing less fond. The issue is direct competition from Google itself.

Google has twice launched phone initiatives where it decided to sell Google-branded phones. The first initiative was in early 2010 when Google launched the Nexus One, followed by the Nexus S. They were manufactured by HTC, but the fact that Google was involved in their design and sold them directly gave the phones a huge advantage over any phone HTC might sell -- or any phone HTC's competitors might sell.

Google later came out with the Galaxy Nexus (made by Samsung) and later still the Nexus 4.

Google also bought Motorola last year, both for the patents and also presumably to assert some control over the direction of Android mobile devices.

The first serious assertion of that control may be the development of a device called the Google X phone, which is being developed at Motorola and which is expected to be unveiled at Google's May developer's conference, Google I/O.

Nobody knows what the Google X phone (and tablet) will be like, but hints, rumors and speculation agree that it will be very different from existing Android phones.

All this strong competition from Google makes handset makers wonder whether Google is friend or foe, and whether they might be better off with another software platform.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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