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Summary:

Fanbois and girls alike constantly debate the future mobile operating landscape. Is there room enough for all of the current platforms or will there be just a few? From a consumer standpoint, there’s room for plenty of competitors — after all, choice is good, right? But […]

android-logo1Fanbois and girls alike constantly debate the future mobile operating landscape. Is there room enough for all of the current platforms or will there be just a few? From a consumer standpoint, there’s room for plenty of competitors — after all, choice is good, right? But more choices can play havoc with the finances of the companies that produce handsets. With a fixed budget of resources — in a tight economy, no less — handset makers need to judiciously manage their resources and devote them strategically.

Acer is reportedly doing just that, says Digitimes, and they’re adding to the growing trend of phone makers who are joining the Android army.

The company’s focus will shift from Windows Mobile to Google’s operating system, with at least half of their 2010 phones running Android. Palm and Motorola have already enlisted at the expense of Windows Mobile, but neither was a particular big player when compared to other WinMo licensees. What I find fascinating about all this is that we’re not hearing phone makers switch to Android from any other platform besides Windows Mobile. That insinuates Android is seen as the future by several handset makers, because they don’t feel that Microsoft’s mobile OS can compete with Apple’s or RIM’s. It leaves them little choice and could set up two or three big mobile platforms owning the market majority.

But Windows Mobile clearly isn’t headed for the morgue just yet. LG is on-board as a recent licensee and plans over 50 handsets running WinMo. Version 6.5 of the operating system hits handsets next week and I’m already taking an early look at it. I can’t say more until next week, so stay tuned. And next year, Windows Mobile 7 offers Microsoft another chance to reinvent itself as a leader in this space. In fact, some analysts are already expecting that to happen — yesterday, iSuppli forecast that by 2012, WinMo will regain the second place worldwide smartphone market share it lost last year. iSuppli bases this on Microsoft as the only player to offer a “complete set of services that can assist clients in their customization and software integration efforts.

Back in the day, that might have been a strong selling point, but from where I stand, that’s not enough. If it were, would handset makers be jumping on the Android train one by one? Again, we can intelligently debate which OS is best for us, but at the end of the day, you can’t argue there’s a growing trend happening right before our eyes.

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  1. “What I find fascinating about all this is that we’re not hearing phone makers switch to Android from any other platform besides Windows Mobile.”

    That statement makes almost no sense. Apple makes their hardware and software so they are not switching. Same thing for Palm, and Blackberry. That leaves series 60 which pretty much Nokia makes – so which platform would you like for Phone Manufactures to switch from? Nobody else would switch to Android but WM vendors.

    1. On the surface, I understand your point. But what’s to stop Palm from licensing webOS to help with their revenue stream? Or Nokia doing the same with S60 or Maemo 5? And although they don’t often offer voice capabilities, I’m watching far more MIDs taking the Android plunge when they could (and sometimes do) take on WinMo for their platform.

      You’re absolutely right in that Windows Mobile is far more susceptible to losing licensees to Android than anyone else. Maybe that makes the future even more bleak for WinMo as they stand to lose the most if the trend continues, no?

    2. “But what’s to stop Palm from licensing webOS to help with their revenue stream?”
      Palm is focused on replicating the iPhone experience by delivering everything and having as much control as possible. So this wouldn’t make much sense at this point.

      “Or Nokia doing the same with S60″
      S60 is way too old to compete these days.

      “or Maemo 5?”
      Maemo is still a work in progress. But if any platform enters this game the next 12 month i think it would be Maemo.

      “I’m watching far more MIDs taking the Android plunge when they could (and sometimes do) take on WinMo for their platform.”
      So far i can’t see why MIDs are useful anyway. If you got an iPhone or Android phone what do you need a MID for?

  2. Vivek – The Technicist Friday, October 2, 2009

    Windows Mobile 7 says “Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.”

    It’s Windows Mobile, it has its place. Yes, as more mainstream consumers get into the smartphone category (thank you, RIM and Apple), Windows Mobile loses its viability as a business platform, hence the shift to Android. Plus, with WinMo kinda stagnating around 6.1 and 6.5 right now, Android is the flavor of the month. Wait for WM7, wait for Pink, MSFT isn’t going to let the mobile device market go, and the Zune HD is evidence of that.

  3. Android is still very unmature. WM still has a huge advantage for office/business applications, especially the ability to sync emails and attachments with PC without having to access the cloud. Android is very dependent on the cloud, and as soon as one is travelling offsea / roaming the cloud is very expensive to access.

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