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Riding the wave of new handset introductions and wide carrier distribution in the second quarter (Q2), the Android smartphone operating system (OS) continued its upward climb in the U.S. consumer mobile phone market, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. For the first time since the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2007, RIM fell to second position, as Android took the lead among operating systems in handsets sold to U.S. consumers. NPD’s latest wireless market research reveals that Android accounted for 33 percent of all smartphones purchased in Q2, ahead of RIM (28 percent) and Apple (22 percent).
Not all that surprising given that three of the four national American carriers are pushing Android hard with no iPhones to sell. Also unsurprising is that three of the five phones listed in the press release are Verizon exclusives, and one is Sprint's flagship phone.

I wonder if this will add pressure on Apple to expand carrier options for the iPhone. Also of interest will be how long before we start to see major App releases coming to Android first.
 

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Also not surprising when you see that virtually every handset maker (Nokia, Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, SE, Hauwei and perhaps others) has Android offerings in its portfolio, and if they don't, you can bet they're planning on it.

Apple makes a great product (despite just whacking a HW exec over 'antennagate'), but many people, myself included won't buy into their walled garden strategy.

Also consider why (when smartphone HW is based on standard chipsets) any handset vendor would create their own software when Android offers free licensing.

I'm sure MS will get a vendor to try the upcoming WM7, but I don't see the latter making a significant dent when (i) there are already a number of platforms (iOS, Android, BB, Symbian, others) and (ii) it's hard even for MS to compete with a free, well-established alternative.
 

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Microsoft does have three hardware partners lined up, but given the way Ballmer is playing down Windows Phone 7 recently, I don't think there are very high expectations. Personally, I could even see it getting scrapped before launch and Microsoft either promising another vaporware or departing that space.

It looks to be a perfect scenario for Android. RIM is a little bruised right now with all the negative press on their international woes (ironically because their encryption is TOO good) and their dated OS. Apples cockiness finally bit them in the ass with the bad press on the antenna. Windows Phone 7 is boring beyond belief.
 

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I don't think Apple has anything to worry about,just look at their latest stock earnings.I mean,look at the long line-ups for the iphone 4,when was the last time you seen that for an android phone? People will stick with their own favorite brand phone,iphone is miles ahead of the rest,they all just keep trying to copy it,and it isn't working.
 

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when was the last time you seen that for an android phone
No lineups, but the Droid X has been sold out for Verizon for several weeks.

people will stick with their own favorite brand phone,iphone is miles ahead of the rest,they all just keep trying to copy it,and it isn't working.
People will definitely have their favourites, but the second part is inaccurate. In many ways the iPhone was behind the Android phones until the iPhone 4 and most recent OS.

Apple has done a tremendous job managing the user experience and many people like/want that. But many others want a more open option. Android gives them that. That is equal parts good and bad though since the iTunes/iPhone integration makes it easier for most people to use an iPhone.

In the end it will be a battle between the iPhone, RIM, and the Android phones. Where it all end up is anyone's guess.
 

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I think that's a fair analysis... Android and iPhone are neck-and-neck, RIM is trying to hold onto their legacy lead, and nobody else is even in the game.
 

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RIM has the most to lose IMHO.

On the plus side they have a firm hold on the "enterprise" business because it is seen as a business tool whereas the iPhone is more of toy. RIM also has a big headstart when it comes to Exchange integration, etc.

If the CIOs every get convinced that the Blackberry can be replaced, RIM is in big, big trouble.
 

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I spent some time with the Samsung Galaxy S yesterday at a Bell store. The only thing stopping me from buying it are reported software bugs with email. Otherwise, it's an excellent device and I'm hopefully a software update release will cure any issues.
 

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Here's the thing: I think Android is mostly selling just because it's there.

What I mean is that Apple has hard core Apple/iPhone fans and they want the device because it's an iPhone. RIM has the history of being first out of the gate and are enduring on that legacy and the corporate market. And that sort of leaves Android for the rest.

So say you don't like Apple for whatever reason. Maybe you think the cost of the phone and the plans are too high. Or maybe you're in the US and not in a good AT&T service area. Whatever, Apple's out. And you don't want a Blackberry because web browsing/maps/etc is more important to you and the BB OS is old and dated. But what does that leave you with: a whole range of options of nice looking phones that look slick with new models coming out regularly and just happen to run Android.

My conclusion is that Android is now number 1 not because people go out to the store actually wanting Android. But rather because they want a smartphone with a good web experience, integration with their mail and social apps, easy texting, and one that is not Apple or BB. Hence they walk out with Android. I don't even think the apps marketplace is that important as long as key social apps (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, email) is easy to use.

Conclusion from this: if Windows Phone 7 can offer a compelling user experience that is different from the rest and actually something people specifically want - then it might be bad news for Android in 2011.
 

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Given that there have been WinMo phones available for a while and they went over like a lead balloon I'd be surprised if WinPhone 7 could make a big impact.
 

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^ I don't agree. Windows Phone 7 is going to bear no resemblance at all to Windows Mobile. The user experience and the underlying code base will share nothing at all.

And the lack of success of even WM6.5 is no surprise. It was a reglossing of some of the key screens. But as soon as you drill into it you're back to code and stylus based screens that go back 15 years to the beginning of Windows CE which from day one was designed to be a slimmed down version of a desktop operating system and not a mobile operating system. Kudos to MS for ditching it all and starting again from scratch.

WP7 has some unique ideas with the new "hub" based strategies and interfaces and is aggregating your data from various sources differently and presenting it differently. And in ways these fresh ideas makes IOS and Android look a little dated. So back to my point: if this new user experience becomes something that people actually want to go out and get, then that can mean trouble for Android.

IMO the three best things Microsoft can do to make Windows Phone 7 a success and a serious threat to Android are: 1) ditch the word "Microsoft"; 2) ditch the word "Windows" ; 3) ditch the word "Phone".
 

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The code base may be completely new, but it will still have some of the smell of WinMo on it. That will be hard to shake.
 

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I disagree, I think we have seen the sun set on Microsoft as a smartphone O/S and Android will be the O/S of the future for a multitude of reasons.
 

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If there's one thing the past 5 years have shown is that there is no certainty when it comes to smartphones. There were a lot of people who doubted the iPhone would be successful at all, and there were also opinions that Android would fail due to being too fragmented (the current mess with firmware releases is a great example of this).

That said, in regards to Windows Phone 7 I see a repeat of the Palm scenario. They waited far too long to create a new OS, and when it finally was released, the hardware was substandard. Unless Microsoft offers something unique with the new hardware, I really don't see it becoming more popular than their current platform.
 

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Conclusion from this: if Windows Phone 7 can offer a compelling user experience that is different from the rest and actually something people specifically want - then it might be bad news for Android in 2011.
But they can't. There's no differentiator at all. They can't even differentiate themselves in the Apple v. Adobe battle, since they've announced that WP7 can't handle Flash 'for performance reasons'. Hell, they won't even run their own Silverlight! Then add the other issues that their competitors have already solved, like cut-and-paste, and one is left wondering what the point really is.
 

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If anything can be learned from the recent trends in the smartphone marketplace, it is that the customer doesn't really give a damn about Flash and Silverlight, and that cut/paste isn't really a deal-breaker either (at least in version 1). Android gets share not because people actually know or appreciate the OS, but they like the phones offered, and if they are in the US on Verizon, they are "protected" from Apple (or you can say they don't have a choice - depending which side in the smartphone war you sympathize with) :).
 

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With Microsoft's hardware partners I could see some very impressive devices coming out with Windows Phone 7. I don't think many people will care about Windows Mobile because non-enterprise users have likely never used Windows Mobile anyway. If Microsoft can come up with some really slick apps or some neat integration with it's other products (Windows 7, Media Room, or Xbox Live for example) they may be able to revive their mobile phone business.

If not, it could flop spectacularly. But Microsoft has way too deep pockets for me to count them out.
 

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But Microsoft has way too deep pockets for me to count them out.
That's a fair comment. The division of Microsoft responsible for WP7 has a history of pouring billions into ventures for years, even though they may never produce a return. (read: XBox, Zune)

And your comment on the hardware partners is fair too. Good hardware. I'm just worried the software will retard it.

But...aren't we OT here? it's an Android thread!
 

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Yes, and I didn't intend to lead us OT. I brought WP7 into the conversation with my point that people are getting Android just because it happens to be the OS on the latest cool phone and not because people go running to the store specifically to get an Android Phone. And that is why MS thinks they can still put a horse in this race as they're betting that WP7 with the new tiles and hubs interface is fresh and different and will be a compelling user experience that makes people go to the store specifically for it.

And a big part of this problem for Android is the heavy fragmentation between different UIs (HTC Sense, Moto Blur, Samsung whatever it's called). Same problem as Linux on the desktop.
 
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