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Smartphone to Notebooks Continuum: OS Wars and the Battle for Dominance
There is a continuum from smartphones to notebooks, with a variety of sizes and operating systems. The market will continue to be in a state of flux for several years before showing any signs of stable continuum.
- Widespread adoption of cloud-based apps as well as VDI will make the OS and form factor comparatively less important
- Apple will continue to have the “cool” factor in its favor, especially for those using non-office apps
- While most vendors have not been able to match Apple’s cost/price advantage (which continues to exist despite its cool factor). However, this will change as Nokia (along with new vendors from low cost economies) begin to manufacture mobile devices in large numbers at low prices
- Android developers have had the flexibility of implementing their own versions of Android (in order to distinguish themselves) although this is like to become less of a factor in the future but that itself becomes a problem of consistency and uniformity
- Apple’s advantage in terms of no. of apps will soon diminish due to several factors:
- Of the hundreds of 1000s of apps, only a few hundred bring in majority of revenues. Most Apple ISVs are part-time developers or unprofitable and will disappear from the market
- The vast number of Windows-based apps developers will quickly adapt their apps to Windows mobile, diminishing Apple’s apps advantage and give businesses more relevant business-related apps
- While currently, the focus is on horizontal apps, vendors will find it increasingly important to develop vertical apps to expand the user base and obtain higher margins
- Businesses will need to support multiple devices/mobile operating systems – making remote mobile device management an expanding market. Telcos, hosting companies and channel partners will play an important role in enabling that support
- Additionally, synching up different devices will also become more important and VDI will help in achieving that objective
It is too early to project future shares of various device forms and mobile operating systems as the market will continue to be in a state of flux in the next few years. We cannot write off Microsoft Mobile or Nokia. They will helped due to their vast size and resources, deep commitment and large number of users/developers.
On the other hand, Android developers/devices are a varied lot, with each having a low share of the market. WebOS (Palm, now owned by HP) has some promise but it is unlikely to regain its glory days of late 90s. RIM is the most at risk due to the proliferation of new devices and mobile operating systems
Although smartphones have the potential of increasing their employee productivity, it will happen only for those employees who are smart enough themselves.