Thursday, October 08, 2009

Who Does Number 2 Work For?

When I was looking for market share numbers to populate my previous post comparing smartphones I found that market data even a month old was waaaaaaaaay different than current data representing a month later. Android marched from 6%, to 9%, to 12% almost within the same quarter. This is all with only two phones on the US market - the flagship G1 and the more mainstream myTouch.

Now let's look ahead to Q4. There are seven new handsets due to be hosted by four different carriers. That's a HUGE growth in carrier coverage in just one quarter. I'm sure this was a completely premeditated blitz but it places Android handsets on a path to possibly eclipse the iPhone in a few years. It's too bad that WebOS is getting blistered in the process - it was a nice UI on some very nice hardware. In the end, however, those with a more robust development environment will win.

Don't get me wrong - the iPhone has a great development environment and well-documented native SDK. I even like Objective-C. Still, the Android development kit is built on lots of familiar Java components (and semantics) that everyone knows and loves, aside from kludges to save clock cycles (such as the guideline of refraining from abstract classes or inheritance). The mix of easy resource management, internationalization, event notifications and asset management with lots of static sugar makes life easier on Android developers. It makes me better understand Nokia's acquisition of Qt, since Qt also offers a great platform with the same benefits, if not more.

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