Apple may appear to be on top of the mobile world thanks to the iPhone
and iPad. But according to analysts at Gartner, Apple iOS market share
will peak at 17.1% in 2011 and drop to 14.9% by 2014.
At the same time, Android, which had just under 4% of
the mobile OS market in 2009, will rise significantly this year to become the
leading mobile operating system in North America. By 2014, Gartner
believes Android will be just about neck and neck globally with Nokia's
Symbian OS. Combined, Android and Symbian will have control of
approximately 60% of the mobile OS market in 2014, leaving Apple and iOS
in the dust.
When Apple released the iPad earlier this year, there was a lot of discussion and debate about the fate of tablet devices. Was there a need for them? Did consumers really want them? Where in the computing food chain might they fit in?
Months later, Apple has sold millions iPads, confirming at a minimum that there is a market for tablet devices. But it's still not clear what impact they'll have on computing over the long-term.
Everyone's talking mobile apps. GE is solidly committed to creating them, both for their B2B and consumer businesses. We sat down recently with the the team responsible for creating them: Andy Markowitz, director of global digital strategy; Dayan Anandappa, director of digital media technologies, and James Blomberg, director of new media & emerging technologies to learn more about the company's approach to app development and deployment, and to see some of their work.
Sales are a criterion when new apps are considered for development at GE, but utility matters just as much, as does speed-to-market. As far as GE is concerned, the time to develop apps for customers is now, before the wow factor wears off and while the company can still impress customers with an app's added value. Ease-of-use is also key. One app, geared to engineers in the field, is avilable on the iPhone, but also on the iPad. Why? "Because engineers wear gloves."
When Apple made it clear that apps created with Adobe's Flash Packager
for iPhone would not be permitted in the App Store, Steve Jobs had an
explanation: "We know from painful experience that letting a third
party layer of software come between the platform and the developer
ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and
progress of the platform."
Many, myself included, found Jobs' explanation to be somewhat
disingenuous. Tools that facilitate cross-platform development aren't necessarily responsible for bad code and poor software; bad development
practices and poorly-skilled developers almost always are.
In April, Apple CEO Steve Jobs explained in detail why consumers aren't
going to see Flash support on the iPhone and iPad. Long story short:
Adobe Flash "is no longer necessary." Although Apple's lack of support for Flash is often cited as an
iPhone/iPad drawback, Flash certainly isn't going to win a whole lot of
popularity contests either. But the question remains: is there a place
for Flash in the mobile market?
We may soon have an answer.
Can Microsoft still compete in the mobile arena? Windows Phone 7 might
be the company's last chance, as it's unlikely that Microsoft will ever
be able to catch up to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android if it
doesn't make a big splash now.
But if one report is accurate, Microsoft thinks it has what it takes to compete: a really big bank account.
By almost every reasonable measurement, Google's Android OS is giving Apple a reason to check the rear-view mirror. But for many developers, developing for Android is still somewhat unattractive because the common wisdom is that successful Android apps are likely to generate far less revenue than successful iPhone/iPad apps.
One of the possible reasons: paid Android apps are sold through Google Checkout, which Android critics argue offers a far less pleasant experience than the App Store purchasing experience offers iPhone and iPad owners.
Given all of drama over the recent tiff between Apple and Adobe, the
news that regulators in the United States are looking closely at Apple
shouldn't come as a surprise. Apple's behavior, legal or not, was bound
to attract the attention of antitrust regulators sooner or later.
While many Apple critics will welcome the news, I think Apple
supporters and detractors alike have good reason to send the same
message to the regulators: thanks, but no thanks.
Apple's iPhone may be known as The Jesus Phone, but Google's diversified approach to selling smartphones appears to be paying off. According to AdMob's March Mobile Metrics Report, Google's Android operating system is quickly picking up market share in the smartphone market.
Ocado has launched another mobile app, this time a voice search app for Android phones, and the online grocer seems to be having some success with mobile commerce.
Having launched an iPhone shopping app last year, this move broadens Ocado's mobile presence, making the app available on 20 different handsets.