Device operating systems

OS Watch: Android Earns Its Reputation

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s solid third-quarter earnings yesterday beat Wall Street expectations, and the Android maker is hoping that's enough to convince the judgmental analysts that its mobile model is paying off.

During a conference call with investors, Google CEO Eric Schmidt defended Google's open source strategy with Android. Yes, it's giving away the operating system for free, he said, but its operator and handset partners make money by selling the phones and Google, in turn, makes money from having its services on that platform. He believes mobile search will surpass PC search, opening up a huge revenue stream. Display ads, too, are already adding US$2.5 billion a year to Google's ad business.

It's hard to argue with Schmidt's logic as the OS gains impressive traction in the mobile market. Android is already the most popular OS, according to Nielsen. It has watched its share of the mobile phone market grow each month and analysts expect its tablet share to do the same.

Google posted a 32 percent increase in net income from the same quarter last year. And the company added that people accessing Google services through mobile devices are adding $1 billion a year to its revenue.

  • Microsoft makes a comeback: Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s first wave of nine Windows Phone 7 devices was unleashed on the market and into the hands of reviewers this week. The consensus is that Microsoft has made the right moves but will still face an uphill battle against Google's army of cheap Androids. (See Windows 7 Portfolio Unveiled.)

    Analyst house IDC called the user experience "compelling" and said the operating system could appeal to both consumers and enterprises. It's also been dubbed "modern, dynamic, and alive," "polished and thoughtful," "best OS released by Microsoft so far," and "two thumbs up!" (OK, we made up that one.)

    But no review has concluded without asking whether WP7 is enough for Microsoft. The question is: Can the company regain market stature as an onslaught of cheap Android phones continues to hit the market? It's devoting all its marketing prowess to proving that it can, but with an expensive price tag, few apps, and an unproven track record, it will be a tough case to make.

  • Frag Watch: One thing you can't accuse Microsoft of is perpetuating fragmentation the way Google has done with Android. WP7 will have the same OS version and user interface regardless of which hardware maker manufactures the device or which wireless operator carries it. That makes things easier for developers and clearly distinguishes a WP7 device, although it could be seen as limiting choice for consumers. We're just never happy, are we?

  • N900 meets MeeGo: Last week Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) said that MeeGo wouldn't ship on a mobile device until 2011, but it appears that may just be a diversion. In a developer blogpost, Nokia's Harri Hakulinen suggested that the OS would be ready for the N900 as soon as mid-November at the MeeGo conference in Dublin. (See CTIA 2010: OS Watch Hits CTIA and NoGo for MeeGo.)

    Hakulinen also wrote that the future versions of the OS will support dual-booting on the N900 for both MeeGo and Maemo, the current OS on board. The point of the blog post was to let developers know the new OS has 3G audio call functionality, but there's been no official launch date named. At least Nokia knows you can't break a promise if you never make one in the first place.

  • Operators advance OS plans: We first heard about the European operators' plans for developing their own OS from French newspaper Le Figaro. Now the paper is reporting that plans are moving along and the operators are lawyering up to get negotiations going. The coalition has also attracted new member Telecom Italia (TIM) . (See OS Watch: Operators Want Their Own OS.)

    The group is working out how to tackle the OS -- create a new one, go the app route, work with the WAC, etc. -- and how to make their "coopetitive" arrangement function.

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

  • FredStein 12/5/2012 | 4:21:09 PM
    re: OS Watch: Android Earns Its Reputation

    I too was impressed by the new phones. It made rethink. Maybe MSFT can make it, despite years of blunders. The Android market may not be so formidable. Yes, developers and device makers have swarmed onto it. But Android developers are going nuts with fragmentation in OS, HW, and AppStores.


    MSFT needs to more open and more responsive that Apple - and take a smaller % of the sale. MSFT can easily beat Android in 'ease of doing business with'. Question is: Will they do all this?

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