January 12, 2010
Last week, Google boldly released the Google-branded NexusOne phone (manufactured by HTC), the closest device to date to compete with the iPhone in terms of features and flexibility. By now, critics and users have discussed the phone on its merits and by how its release changes the smartphone landscape. For those looking to enter the mobile application marketplace, this adds some serious momentum to Android OS’s expansion into the smartphone market.
This year will no doubt yield aggressive innovation as we start to see the power shift in the mobile market from the carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile to carriers and manufacturers like Apple, Google, Motorola, and HTC.
The iPhone’s 2007 release (in Internet time that’s around a decade) paved the way for consumers choose a handset first before a carrier. Though the AT&T exclusivity (for US users) still meant limited choice, the iPhone’s appeal shifted focus away from picking a carrier first, then a handset. In 2009, the Motorola Droid created similar demand, and remains tethered to Verizon.
Google has taken the lead and gone one step further, making the NexusOne available either subsidized (with a 2-year T-Mobile contract) or unlocked for any network (with the expectation of adding other networks in the future). The path to handset-dominance and carrier-agnosticism is just around the corner.
What does this mean for companies and brands looking to get into the app market? With Android’s increased brand recognition, the OS edging out other iPhone competitors, focusing the market on both Android and iPhone platforms. The Android Market’s 20,000 apps, along with the iPhone’s 90,000+ apps far overshadow both BlackBerry’s and Palm’s 4,000 and 1,000 apps, respectively (source: BlackBerry App World and BillShrink).
For companies and developers looking to build apps, focus on Android and iPhone.
Editors Note: This article was written by Tim Courtney a longtime TECH cocktail Chicago supporter. He has organized SocialDevCamp Chicago, Chicago Tech After Hours (ChiTAH), and was an original co-founder of Silicon Prairie Social. A variation of this post originally appeared on the KeyLimeTie blog. Follow him on Twitter: @timcourtney
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