By Steve Green on Fri, 02/11/2011
It seems that the mobile device wars are really beginning to heat up and all of the players are beginning to make allies and take sides.
Google has a new friend in RIM who has decided to support Android apps for their upcoming Playbook tablet. Today Nokia announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft for Windows Phone 7 development and rumors are swirling about Apple developing cheaper devices for mass appeal. I have my doubts about that last one though.
When Steve Jobs described the PC and its bloated OS options as an old truck a few months back, he may have not been far off in his description. The future of computing is in the mobile spectrum. Smaller portable devices with lightweight yet powerful operating systems appears to be the way of the future and all of the big players are scrambling to position themselves as a dominant player for the future.
Microsoft has clearly carved out a significant space on the battlefield for its new mobile OS with Nokia behind them. The new partnership will open up foreign market share for expanding Microsoft's dominance and likewise will help Nokia to make inroads in the U.S. for their advanced Smartphone technology. Both companies stand to profit handsomely from the newly forged partnership within a few years when they've had time to hammer out the kinks.
Most likely, Apple will have its iPhone on all four major carriers in the next 12 months and will keep a solid following of dedicated users. Their innovation with mobile products will no doubt keep them at the forefront for some time to come.
Google's Android OS has been the real successful dark horse of the last 12 to 18 months. Once the Android OS matured to version 2.0 and now a very stable 2.2, they have seem enormous growth and acceptance within the mobile community. My first experience with Android was with a very frustrating version 1.5 which left me with a poor first impression. My next phone was the EVO 4G which has been a spectacular device and the OS has been wonderful to use on a daily basis.
Then there's Microsoft. A year ago I would have told you that they had little chance of regaining ground with any mobile operating system they could produce, and many probably would have agreed. Today, I would tell you that Microsoft will be in the top three mobile operating systems in the next 12 to 18 months. Somehow they did it, they managed to turn around their company's mobile strategy in a very short time and have produced a very competent OS.
Looking back and looking forward, it gives me a very familiar feeling of the history of the computing world. The top players in the industry of the past are poised to be the top players of the future; Microsoft, Apple and a strong flavor of UNIX/Linux.