Research firm Canalys released its fourth-quarter results today, revealing that Google's Android just became the world's leading platform for smartphones, with 32.9 million phones shipped, edging out Nokia's Symbian platform, the longtime leader. "One day somebody will write a book called 'The rise and rise of Android,' says Engadget, "and this moment will be highlighted in bold." Like we told you, Larry, focus on what you're good at. Google doesn't have the lead in the bag, however. The emergence of the Verizon iPhone means that Verizon will move away from Droid, but fewer exclusive deals also means AT&T could start selling more smartphones from Android vendors like HTC, Motorola, and Samsung.
Apple has the fanboys, better apps, and a sleeker look, so why is it lagging behind? Outspoken Neatgear CEO Patrick Lo blames Steve Jobs's ego. Where Android is free for manufacturers to use, Apple's platform for iPhones and iPads is walled off. Although Jobs's intuitive understanding of what consumers want has given Apple an early lead, allowing Apple to hold content for "ransom," Lo says it could easily go the way of Betamax, whose closed-off system lost to VHS.
"Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away, then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to open up the platform," said Lo.
"Ultimately a closed system just can't go that far ... If they continue to close it and let Android continue to creep up then it's pretty difficult as I see it."
Jobs, who is currently out on medical leave, seems unlikely to allow such a fundamental change to happen. But Google has the benefit of a new leadership committed to growth. So while Steve's away, Larry should play.
Google’s Android becomes the world’s leading smart phone platform [Canalys]
Closed Apple headed for trouble as Jobs's ego bites: Netgear CEO [Sydney Morning Herald]