Device operating systems

OS Watch: Samsung Outsmarts Apple

Earnings reports and new product launches provide lots of fodder for this week's operating system digest.

  • Samsung to outsell Apple: Without the iPhone 4S to count in its third-quarter numbers, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) could fall behind Samsung Corp. in smartphone sales. The Korean company is expected to announce the sale of well over 20 million units when it reports next week, The Wall Street Journal suggests, making it the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. Apple sold 17.1 million iPhones in the recent quarter, and one-time leader Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) sold only 16.8 million smartphones. (See Nokia Has No Window for Microsoft Tablets Yet, Apple Preps for a Holiday iPhone Revival and Apple Posts $6.62B Q4 Profit.)

  • Apple, Android dominate tablets: It shouldn't come as a surprise, but Apple's iOS and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android currently are the tablet market, which saw the shipment of 17 million units in the third quarter, up 280 percent from 4.4 million this time last year, says Strategy Analytics Inc. The two OSs make up 94 percent of the market, with Apple still holding on to 67 percent market share, and Android reaching 26.9 percent market share, rising from only 2.3 percent last year, the analyst firm reports.

    Table 1: Global Tablet OS Market Share in Q3 2011
    Q3 �10 Q3 �11
    Apple iOS 95.50% 66.60%
    Android 2.30% 26.90%
    Microsoft 0.00% 2.40%
    QNX 0.00% 1.20%
    Others 2.30% 2.90%
    Total 100.00% 100.00%
    Source: Strategy Analytics

  • Tough 2012 for Android? Despite Android's growth in tablets and smartphones, some are predicting challenges ahead for Google's open-source OS. The Unwired View blog notes that Android growth has been stalled at 550,000 activations per day since the second quarter, and that Samsung's delayed Nexus Prime launch -- and its lack of a carrier partner when it was announced on Wednesday -- suggest something is amiss with key Android partner Verizon Wireless . The third pillar to its conspiracy theory is, of course, Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility LLC , which could pit its vendor partners against each other. (See Scoop! It's the Ice Cream Sandwich.)

  • Prime v. RAZR: Part of the reason Google de-emphasized Verizon with the Nexus Prime could be that the carrier was busy promoting the new Motorola RAZR, its latest Long Term Evolution (LTE) Android phone, announced hours before the Nexus Prime. The two Android-based devices both pack impressive, and differentiated, hardware specs. But, it may come down to software, and the Nexus Prime wins here. It's running Android's latest Ice Cream Sandwich OS, while the RAZR still has the previous version, Gingerbread. This decision by Google does, however, add some credibility to its argument that it won't favor Motorola over its competitors. (See Photos: Moto Gets Skinny With 4G RAZR.)

  • RIM: What's in a name? BlackBerry could be facing a different kind of patent lawsuit -- one tied to the name of its new OS, BBX. A New Mexico company, Basis International, claims to have the trademark on BBX and has threatened to sue if RIM doesn't ditch the moniker, Reuters reports. RIM says it doesn't believe there'll be cause for confusion. (See RIM Jams Android-Friendly Features Into BBX.)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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