In the mobile ecosystem, there are two major players and others. The two major ones are Android from Google, and Apple iOS. The like of Symbian is a dying breed while Windows Mobile could get a new life. Blackberry environment is nice, but the ecosystem has not attracted many developers in the developing world. Part of the problem is that this platform is assumed to be very exotic thereby affecting how many people will actually use it.
While iOS continues to be a closed system, Android has evolved as a managed platform. Google decides winners by releasing the OS to the right people, it determines, and that helps them to stay ahead of the pack. But irrespective of whether it is free or not, these two OS have distinct models.
For someone in the developed world, iOS could be hugely enticing because iPhone and iPad are very popular, but in Africa, it could be another ballgame. iOS is matured and driven by one of the world’s best brands. Android is truly open as many vendors can make their devices there.Unlike iOS where if Apple fails, all fails, the Android offers lesser risk as Motorola can fail in the design, HTC will still win. In that case, Android gives you a way to manage risk exposure to platforms, better.
The biggest problem with iOS is that the risk rests on Apple. What if they make a huge mistake and those Apple gizmos fail to sell. What happens? Does it mean that all your apps become wasted? Yes, it is possible that if Apple fails to execute in the hardware, it can hurt. Android has none of that as anyone can make a tablet or phone on it. It has reduced the barrier of entry in China that enables companies to buy chipsets and begin manufacturing of tablets and phones. That is a big win why many developing countries are aligning for Android – the ease of making even cheaper devices is there.
In our assessment, using the Nigerian and African markets, Android will win this game and it will not be close. We will basically adopt more Android devices and that will open more environment for growth of the apps.
Notice one thing – Apple’s age is going to be over. The model of Microsoft Windows is what Google has adopted and that is the model for the future. You build the system and let anyone come and build on it. That enabled HP, Dell, Lenovo, IBM, etc to come and compete for business under Windows. If Windows had decided to build upon their OS, they would not have lead in the desktop age.
The challenge for Android, though, is what happens in Microsoft. If Microsoft puts Skype in the Windows Mobile and adds Office, it can be very disruptive. And if they make it free so that anyone with Windows Mobile tablet gets Office as default, they will own this space as they did for desktop. Microsoft could be the surprise game changer, depending on how they follow this game. If companies find a cheaper way of getting Office and Exchange to staff without paying huge licensing fees on desktops, the a new war has been declared in the ecosystem.
So Tekedia’s summaries are as follows
– iOS could be seeing its best days. If Apple fails to execute on hardware, iOS suffers. Work on it, hope Apple continues to innovate on design
– Multivendor model favors Android because if HP fails, Motorola will get it right. And if both fail, HTC, and thousands of Chinese Android device makers are there
– Microsoft Windows Mobile could disrupt if somehow they decide to put Office and exchange in their tablets in ways that will reduce cost for CIOs across the world. If that happens, we will all do for Windows Mobile what we are doing for the desktop version. Adopt it without having a choice. Do not count Windows Mobile out of this game!