According to comScore, in November, for the first time, Android overtook Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) in the installed smartphone user base, at 26 percent versus 25 percent. Both may be a fair way behind leader RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) at 33.5 percent, but if CES is a barometer of what might be happening in the months to come, it appears that Android will dominate the next generation of phones, almost without any contest.
This year’s CES show, which finished this weekend, was nothing short of an Android tsunami, with dozens of tablets and smartphones running different versions of the OS flooding the exhibition floor. But even so, there were a few notable devices that were not: RIM’s PlayBook, and a handful of Windows-based tablets, were also to be seen.
Yet when it came to Verizon revealing its long-anticipated line of devices for its 4G LTE service, it was all about Android: all four smartphones and both tablets that Verizon showed off were running on the Google-backed OS.
Where were the other operating systems?
– Nokia: “Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is placing significant effort and investment in the research and development of LTE, and will take a leading position in the commercialization of LTE. Nokia is a leading contributor to the LTE standard, having contributed over 50% of the LTE essential IP, with over 300 essential patent declarations.” But when asked about devices: “We do not comment on our device roadmap.” Perhaps we will see more from Nokia at the more-Euro centric 3GSM show.
– RIM: “We will be launching our first 4G device with Sprint.” [The PlayBook, coming this summer to Sprint's WiMax network.] But the company has yet to say when it will be releasing LTE-ready handsets or other devices.
– Microsoft: A spokesperson for HTC, one of Microsoft’s biggest ODM partners, says that the question of making a Windows Phone-based device that could run on an LTE network is really a question for Micorosoft. Meanwhile, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has not yet responded to our questions about when we might see its OS being used in LTE-friendly devices.
– Apple: No response but some believe we may see 4G in the next generation of the device.
We know it’s still early days for LTE, but a comprehensive no-show from all the other major OS platforms almost looks like a game won before it’s even started.