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Apple Is Still On Top – But For How Long?

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Laura Director, Marketing
November 12, 2010

Although Apple still holds the #1 OS share in the US, there’s been a lot of big news in the smartphone space recently that might shake that up. WindowsPhone 7 has officially been released and Android’s worldwide OS share has leaped to 25% (according to Gartner), making it the second most popular (after Symbian). How do they stack up to Apple? We’ve outlined some Pros and Cons for the players in the space…who do you think will reign?

Android

Pros

  • They’ve just reached the #2 spot in OS market share worldwide .
  • The open source platform/device proliferation allows them to reach a broader user base.

Cons

  • Fragmentation is the biggest problem, there are many different devices and developers are having issues figuring out what features and screen resolution they need to design their application.
  • User Experience is not unified. Carriers and handset manufacturers are allowed to skin and customize the OS as they see fit, this is again going to cause consumer confusion in the marketplace.
  • The Open App Market also causes consumer confusion as you are now confronted with multiple stores to buy similar applications.

Windows Phone 7

Pros

  • They’ve designed their interface to be different from the top two players (Android & Apple).
  • Rather than going with the typical app symbol theme, they are using tiles that can be bucketed to meet the users needs.
  • There is potential for them to grab some market share with being the newest player.
  • xBox Live opportunities.

Cons

  • The go-to-market strategy for WP7 is critical. Their current SDK, while impressive, is still not on par with iOS.
  • Device reach, WP7 needs to nail it for consumers in terms of pricing and device penetration. They have only announced a GSM version of WP7 this year.

Blackberry

Pros

  • They have a loyal and defined niche – the business market.

Cons

  • Blackberry has huge issues with backwards compatibility. BB v6 is on par with new smartphone operating systems, but BB v3 and v4 is what the bulk of consumers use.
  • They still need to work on their overall user experience to compete with WP7, iOS, and Android.

Nokia

Pros

  • The Symbian OS has a huge worldwide presence.

Cons

  • Their complicated interface/features have proven difficult for the average user.
  • Although they have the largest share overall (worldwide), unless they work on ease of use, they will quickly fall out of this battle.

HP/Palm

Pros

  • They were acquired by HP, we are waiting to see how Palm can leverage this.
  • The new webOS2.0 will be available in the US through Verizon in the coming months and will run on the new Palm Pre 2 device.

Cons

  • They will need to move fast on innovating to keep up with the other players.

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