Android is most preferred OS
After a year of tussling for the top spot among smartphones, Android emerged as the new king of mobile operating systems (OS), says Nielsen’s survey of more than 14,000 mobile subscribers.
Research firm Nielsen reported that Apple remains to be the leading handset maker in the United States, with its standalone iPhone claiming the position as the world’s number one mobile phone. However Android, Google’s mobile operating system, is now the top operating system in the country.
According to Nielsen, Android accounts for 39 percent of the US’ consumer smartphone market followed by Apple’s iOS with 28 percent and Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) tailing the two contenders at a ghastly 20 percent.
Also according to Canalys, of the 237.7 million smartphones shipped globally in 2011, 48.8 percent of them were shipped with Google’s free Android OS.
Other mobile operating platforms like Windows Mobile and Windows Phone shared 9 percent, webOS and Palm OS barely hang on the market with two percent and Nokia’s dubbed-as-dying Symbian OS last.
Latest available data shows that it is a huge surge for Android this year compared to the previous year when Nielsen tracked its market share at 19 percent, as against 28 percent for iOS and Blackberry’s 30 percent.
Meanwhile, among members of the “Open Handset Alliance”, Samsung is now third among the makers of Android devices in the United States. Its availability in several smartphone brands aside from Samsung, like HTC and Motorola, may have also contributed to the surge in Android’s figures.
Global surge in smartphone subscription
But regardless of who’s on top, the unparalleled growth in demand and adoption of smartphones will most likely boost the mobile OS market further, as well as similar markets like mobile VoIP service and smartphone apps.
Recent available data from the International Telecommunication Union reveals that there were at least 6 billion mobile users worldwide in 2011. Mobile subscriptions in 2009 and 2010 were only 4.7 billion and 5.4 billion respectively. The latest numbers represent at least 87 percent of the world’s current population.
Portio Research, on the other hand, predicts that mobile users worldwide will hit 6.5 billion by the end of 2012, 6.9 billion by the end of 2013 and an astonishing 8 billion by 2016.
Of the 6 billion mobile devices in the world, 1 billion of them are smartphones; up from 708 million smartphones in use last year. Telecommunications experts forecast this figure to hit 1.1 billion by the end of 2012 and 3.3 billion in 2018.
Proliferation of smartphone apps
Alongside the smartphone and OS’ penetration in the worldwide market is the current explosion of the smartphone app market. According to IDC, at least 300,000 smartphone applications were downloaded 10.9 billion times and are expected to reach 76.9 billion in 2014, worth US $35 billion in revenue.
Apple leads the world’s app store with at least 300,000 applications followed by Ovi (Nokia) with 130,000, Android with 25,000 and Blackberry with 18,000 mobile apps.
Although currently pegged at 25,000 smartphone applications in their portfolio, Google might be considered a tough challenger in the future. In a survey of 2,000 mobile app developers, a majority of 60% said that Android has a better long-term outlook than Apple’s iOS.
Another data from the Business Week shows proof of Google Android’s emergence in the mobile app market as it currently spurs more smartphone app developer jobs than Apple’s iOS.