Acer Joins Android Army, Demotes Windows Mobile

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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