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The Google EFFECT - Google is counted as one of the most reputed and respected companies of this era. The fact that Google is behind the Android OS platform gives it a great sense of credibility and viability in the eyes of the consumers, potential partners, and application developers. Furthermore Android's team has all the possible resources from Google such as financial, intellectual to make it a major player in the mobile industry.
Device Options As oppose to the Apple iPhone where one doesn't have any options for mobile device vendor other than Apple, the Android OS is an open-source and any Mobile manufacturer who wishes to use Android can do so on their mobile device. This feature provides the consumers a large number of options from which to choose from and also decreasing the time to use the new and latest hardware and technological advancement in micro electronics.
Competitive Pricing - The Android platform is very cost effective to develop as it is an open source platform and the licensing arrangements are hassle free for the hardware manufacturer. Thus, handsets using the Android platform are priced very suitably.
Google applications and services integration - As the Android platform includes a number of the Google services and applications as its core functionality only to reinforce its capability and effectiveness. Google services such as GMAIL, Calendar, Listen, Reader, GPS, Maps and many others integrate effortlessly with the Android platform thus making it trouble-free for users to synchronize their data from one platform to the other. Moreover it also a competitive edge on its rivals in the internet search and you tube as Google is the leader in these fields
Open Source - The Android platform is built from a Linux using the JAVA programming. One can search on google to find all the essential information and source code one needs to manufacture an Android compatible device. Moreover, Android is an integral part of the Open Handset Alliance which is a cartel working together to develop Android as a free mobile platform system.
Multimedia Support - As oppose to Apple iPhone which has the extremely popular iTunes application and marketplace, Android doesn't have a fundamental or organized source of neither multimedia data nor an integrated multimedia player. Although there have been constant improvements in the field of apps on the Android platform, but still at this time there is no place to go that comes remotely close to what Apple is offering on this front.
Reliance on device manufacturers to upgrade -Unlike, Apple controls when and how iPhone costumers will get new hardware and software upgrades and upgrades core functionality. On the other hand even when google releases a newer android version the costumers still have to wait till the device manufacturers of their respective devices comprehensively test and adapt to the new code to make sure that it works fine on their hardware configuration. Google is working on this issue according to their announcements, as they plan to integrate more of their core features of their services into the Android Operating System itself.
Less Mature - Android is not as established or as refined as the iPhones' OS at this point, But constant improvement is seen with every new release of the android, still a lot more is required to reach the same level of sophistication as the Apple IPhone.
Lack of Enterprise Support - Blackberry and Microsoft still have most of their support from Enterprise usage. Although Android has made some inroads in this market, but Android still has very small market share here. It needs to continue developing Google Applications and better its integration abilities with Microsoft Exchange to gain market share.
The Android Operating System has an amazing opportunity to get into the Tablet market right now. Google cannot afford to play a waiting game watch Apple take over the tablet market and eat up major chunk of the market share as it had done before with the release of iphone. An Android based tablet is a fantastic opportunity if executed properly. There have been quite a few inconsequential releases of Android tablets over the last year, but none of them are what someone would consider a noteworthy product. Either Google itself or a big name such as HP, Sony, Dell, ASUS, ACER need to release an amazing Android tablet in order to get a huge market share. Not to forget Samsung galaxy tab with android is good but still more sophistication is required to beat apple's I pad
Developer Friendly - Unlike the recent actions of Apple which has alienated the developer community by distancing with them. Moreover the development tools of Iphone are difficult to use and the application approval process seems to be terribly subjective at times. This makes iPhone application development very tedious and non rewarding for developers On the other hand developing for Android is very open and hassle free for the developer as Android development tools use Java and even C/C++. This allows developers to write applications for Android using languages they already know and widely used. Furthermore Android Software development kit also provides an emulator so that application developers can test their applications without relying on the physical hardware. Google needs to take this opportunity and help developers for their efforts through better advertising revenue and app sales into financial gains for the developer.
Developing Countries - Google has an opportunity to develop cheaper devices using Android platform in developing countries of Asia and Africa. The licensing for android is exceptionally manufacturer friendly and the start up cost is considerably less when compared to other mobile operating systems. The integration with so many of Google's other free services it would be a sure success in these markets.
Smart phone market on the rise - The smart phone market is still very young and there is huge scope of growth to take place over the next several years to a decade. "The market for smart phone apps will benefit from growth of nearly 50% in 2011, according to new research. The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker estimates that the worldwide smart phone market is expected to increase 49.2% in 2011, growing more than four times faster than the overall mobile phone market"( Kay Ewbank, 2011, http://www.i-programmer.info/news/83-mobliephone/2203-smartphone-survey.html) Â Â . The integration of cloud computing applications and services to support the Android OS is the key to a maintained growth rate and increased market share potential for the Android operating system.
Embedded electronic devices - The Android OS is perfectly poised to be 'the' major player in the embedded electronic devices market as a leader in embedded devices operating system. With upsurge of new devices becoming embedded with smart technologies and connectivity to the mobile networks and the internet, the Android OS is in position to be the leader in this segment.
Apple dominance - The biggest threat to google android is the Iphone and its ever growing popularity with the consumers as it has more smoother and sophisticated interface. Moreover Apples bigger market share gives them an influence over developers who like a revenue model that works for them. The ever growing Apple market share allows them to charge users for access to premium content. Apple's recent policy changes shows its influence over developers and makes their huge market share very difficult to walk away from, even when they adopt very unfriendly developer policies.
Increased Competition - Obviously, companies like RIM Blackberry and Microsoft are not going to let go of their market share. In particular,Â the Blackberry platform which has very huge support in the enterprise market. Moreover Nokia is also not giving up their hopes on the symbian platform and might cause an upset to androids hopes of capturing the market if they develop a new and sophisticated smart phone interface which provides their customers the ease of access for which Nokia is known for.
Platform Fragmentation - This is a huge threat to the Android platform. Although I have listed the more options of hardware devices as strength above, the risk of fragmentation is real as well. This is why Google is committed to developing ways to reduce this problem. Google does not want different custom version of Android to emerge from their basic platform, which is something we saw with Linux. This was one of the primary reasons for linux not making to the big leagues when comparing the market shares. As Google itself controls the Android Market so they have considerable influence over device manufacturers to meet their compatibility requirements.
Google android is an open source Operating system for mobile phone and embedded electronic devices so at this time there are no direct financial implications for Google at the moment as still most of the apps on its marketplace are free. But as android becomes more popular Google can charge android users for different apps available on its market place. Although what Google wants to do is to make sure that there is an open source mobile OS large enough in the market for its advertising business. Google is not about selling Android devices. Google is all about search and advertising. Google is doing a pretty good job of it if we see the numbers. Last year alone Android accounted for over $130 million from marketing revenues on android out of its total $850million from mobile advertising, which is good for $5.90 average revenue per user.
Furthermore Google is expecting to reap up $1.3 Billion from it's advertisement revenues from android in 2012 at $ 9.85 average revenue per user with about 133 million android users by then. Moreover Google is expecting to reach over 300,000 Android activations per day very soon, which will also help them to reach the goals set by Google CEO Eric Schmidt for android to become a $10 billion business with 1 billion users of the platform, at $10 Average Returns Per Unit.
Future looks to be bright - Android Os
Though Android is a young Mobile Os and is still improving with its newer releases so it can be said that it is in a stage of Growth, this statement can be supported by a Gartner Survey which expects Android to reach about 30 % of total market share by 2014. As Android all ready Commands about 29 % of smart phone market according to the latest data released by Neilsen and have already surpassed RIM's market share so it is on the right track to dominate the overall mobile market in the near future. Moreover overall smart phone market is also on the rise as it is expected by The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker estimates that the worldwide smart phone market is expected to increase 49.2% in 2011, growing about four times quicker than the overall mobile phone market. Furthermore According to Google's CEO Eric Schmidt they are combining their Platforms for mobile phones (gingerbread) and tablets (honeycomb) together and make it in to one OS for both kinds of devices.
In conclusion I feel that Android is perfectly poised for capturing a huge market share and should help google's advertising revenues a lot in the near future, as it has all the necessary features required to be one of the best Operating System in its category.