It's clear that smartphones are going to pull market share away from dumbphones, and that Google's Android operating system is going to appear on many more handsets in the months ahead. But a new report is predicting 900% growth in Android smartphones—and it's kinda believable.
The thinking is expressed by Strategy Analytics, a research firm, in a new report about smartphone operating systems. The market is ripe, in Strategy's eyes for a bunch of new smartphones all running Android instead of a Windows Mobile variant or Symbian. Among the figures, Strategy also expects the iPhone's OS, a version of its desktop OS, to be the second fastest growing smartphone OS, with 79% growth this year—predicated, no doubt, on the upcoming iPhone hardware refresh and potential sales of the handset in more countries.
Firms like Strategy are paid to conduct this sort of research, and at best it's informed speculation supported by some marketplace research. So what makes the report credible? For starters, there are strong rumors that T-mobile's G1 handset is due for an update that ditches its rather dated styling, and turns it into a very slick sliding-QWERTY cellphone (pictured). The update would also likely improve the internals of the phone to give it more power, and it's safe to speculate that there will be a boost to the built-in camera, all as a response to the upcoming iPhone refresh expected this June.
Then there's word directly from the horse's mouth: T-mobile leaked a document showing its handset roadmap for this year. It showed the G2, also called the HTC Magic or Sapphire, is due in the Summer, and the G1 v2 mentioned above is due in the Fall at roughly the same time as Samsung's Houdini. With that many top-shelf handsets on the way, it's undeniable that Android will establish more of a presence in the cellphone market.
And don't forget that the driving power behind Android is Google, a company with enough money and industry clout to get its product into the devices and into the public's hands if it wants to.
The most unexpected influence on growing Android cellphone sales will be the iPhone. Apple's busy making its smartphone one of the most desired devices on sale, and the hotly-predicted iPhone version 3, due in June, is likely to extend the iPhone's dominance further. And as consumers get used to the idea of a super-smart, full-featured touchscreen cellphone that's easy to use—and doesn't come with the bad-press baggage a Windows device does—they'll start shopping for phones like the iPhone too. Which is where Android will fit right in.