Is This The Beginning Of The End For Android?

In one of my blogs last month, I commented on Android’s ongoing vulnerabilities due to its very ‘open nature’. This has resulted in several security concerns as discussed in that blog.

It would appear I was not the only one with these concerns, as the outlook for Android has suddenly become a whole lot bleaker, and that can be seen from all the key indicators.

Firstly, as we all know, there are multiple ‘flavours’ of Android. Fine, this is a natural progression and to be expected, but what is extremely worrying to me is that, as shown below, the majority of development has been on ‘Gingerbread’ (nearly 64%) and the second most used version is its predecessor ‘Froyo’ with 23%.

So what’s happened with the later versions Honeycomb followed by Ice Cream Sandwich? To date there has been virtually no take up of Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich release 4.0.3 is not whetting many appetites with only a mere 2.4% of the total!

Secondly, and perhaps as result of the first, the number of developers focussed on Android are declining. As the graph shows, interest in the Android platform has been gradually declining since mid 2011.

Clearly developers go where the market leads them, and the fact that they are able to get the best financial return in the Apple environment is more than adequately demonstrated by the remarkable $1 Billion valuation of Instagram as discussed in a previous blog.

The thirdly, and perhaps even of more importance, is that iPad is dominating the tablet market.

Android has failed dismally in this market with a total of 12 million tablets in play as at the end of February. Apple sells this amount every quarter! Even more significant is the fact that there are no other players out there! Windows has yet to address this extremely important and growing sector.

The growth of tablets is set to be huge, with new opportunities emerging in the enterprise, vehicle, home etc. With well 585,000 apps already available, there is no doubt which platform I would spend time and effort on!

Then fourthly we have the Google’s takeover of Motorola which without doubt will not have charmed the handset producers who have opted to use Android! Fearing Google will look to replicate Apple, Google’s handset partners have some hard calls to make!

With Symbian a dead duck, iOS closed to them, Microsoft gambling on Nokia, what are their options? In short, not a lot! So therefore we are likely to see them using Android as a base and building function on that, as Amazon has done with Kindle Fire, causing further fragmentation of Android systems.

Then finally, the fifth issue confronting Google is the marketing drive of the major carriers in the US, who already sell more iPhones than all other smart phones combined. Now they are now looking to promote Windows Phones.

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo says they will be putting their weight behind Windows Phone, and AT&T is allocating a large budget to market Windows Phones.

So I predict a further fragmentation of the Android market, which may be good thing! Perhaps we’ll see new and innovative ideas coming out of the handset vendors who will now need to not only try keep pace with Apple but add innovation of their own.

Can Apple sustain the momentum? Whilst there have been concerns about Apples ability to sustain its phenomenal growth, it is clearly way out in front. It topped a market value of over $600 billion this month, and looks set to continue introducing new innovative technology with the iPhone 5 due later this year. The competition is also fearful, and rightly so I believe, should Apple decide to launch a 7” iPad!

And as for Android? Last year it was the new kid on the block, looking to conquer the world. Now it has become fragmented, is no longer looking as an attractive proposition for the developer, its smart phone partners or the worlds carriers. The big question would be with its acquisition of Motorola; will it be able to create a serious alternative to Apple?

So what’s the conclusion? Well, if your business supports iOS, Android, Blackberry and HTML5, you can focus on your business needs and not the technology.

David Akka is Managing Director at Magic Software Enterprises UK. David is a successful executive manager with a proven track record as a general manager with a strong background in sales, marketing, business development and operations. Past experience in technology and service delivery include both UK and European responsibilities.

  • Paul_717359

    Are you joking? You don’t seem to have a clue about mobile o/s’s.

    Why has there not been much uptake of honeycomb, classic! And every new android device is shipping with ICS
    Last year it was the new kid on the block but now it has become fragmented, er I think you will find it was the new kid on the block 3 years ago, and it was more fragmented last year than it is this year.
    Apple is clearly way out in front, you may want to take another look at the numbers