On The Future of iOS and Android

Posted on: August 12, 2013
Posted in Mobile, Strategy

We’ve entered the age of iOS and Android penetrating beyond mobile, and there’s a lot happening with respect to how the entire ecosystem is developing. Mobile advancements / investments are now driving the progression of all converged hardware / software. Hardware innovation is also accelerating because of this tailwind. Here are some thoughts on what’s next for the dominant platforms as they stratify in mobile and non-mobile platforms.

  1. This recent IDC report shows Android pulling away in mobile share worldwide, but in the US Asymco shows it’s a different story, with Android potentially having peaked and in decline. What will happen when the low cost iPhone 5C comes out? It could really shake things up globally.
  2. There’s more to the platform wars than mobile – Android is starting to take off in non-mobile markets in a massive way – Internet of Things, Television (Chromecast), etc. To date Linux has been the dominant OS but Android is now taking some embedded designs which would have run Linux1. The effective decoupling of Android from carriers for non-mobile markets + the richness of tools and the existing developer ecosystem will likely cement Android as the definitive open source OS of the next decade. This will have pluses for Google but also unintended consequences.
  3. For non-mobile (plugged in) devices Android + ARM is “good enough” and will win much of the market globally in terms of embedded OS’s (outside of closed / proprietary). Intel will not be able to penetrate unless the device needs a lot of horsepower (e.g. gaming platforms or STB). Why? The entire BOM of Chromecast is $20 and Intel simply can’t price low enough to compete while preserving margin. Meanwhile, Apple will continue to print profits with vertically integrated non-mobile devices (e.g. iTV, iWatch)
  4. For mobile devices (battery-operated) it’s a totally different story – mobile computing is not about being good enough overall, it’s about being good enough per watt of power consumption. Integrated HW/SW from Apple will likely retain a performance edge—they will be constantly optimizing multi-core chips for performance per watt and tweaking software like they have on iOS72. Who knows if Apple will be 6 months ahead or 18 months ahead at any given time, but it’s a good bet they will be in this range. Low power needs will drive convergence in design.
  5. Samsung is rumored to be switching to an architectural ARM license because their SoC chips need to compete with Apple’s A6/A7 and Qualcomm Krait (both custom designed cores). Outside of Apple and Samsung (who could be 100% vertically integrated soon), Qualcomm will use custom cores to keep pushing performance per watt up so that it wins the remainder of high end OEM sockets. Mediatek will own the mid and low end. This leaves limited room for Broadcom and nVidia. And none for Intel.
  6. Fragmentation continues to crop up on Android in weird ways for devs but now is going to the next level—affecting the ecosystem. Tomorrow Apple is no longer just about integrated hardware / software, it’s about an entire integrated ecosystem. The software is built in advance while hardware is designed and spec’ed, developers have your APIs and it all just works together in tandem. To some extent Google can do this with products it controls and distributes like Glass and Chromecast (via OTA updates), but fragmentation will start to hurt Android more and more in smartphone web services which it doesn’t develop.
  7. New APIs exposed in iOS7 (iBeacon, AirDrop) for local networking will be huge—these are US-centric use cases in the beginning (some Europe and Japan) and will cement Apple at the high end of the market in the US. When iOS7 launches all APIs are backwards compatible 2 years (iPhone 4S and up). This means basically 95% of Apple users will be able to share files with each other (AirDrop) and make payments using Bluetooth / iBeacon, whereas Android will reach round 2 of its fragmentation battle—at the service layer. Only 30% of people upgrade (or are able to upgrade) to the latest Android flavor 1 year later. Devs won’t build networking / payment services in Android apps for BTE and local WiFi sharing because only a minority of Android phones will support for the next 18 months. There are some aftermarket apps in Google Play but compatibility is a nightmare. Again, just to reiterate—yes Android 4.3 adds low power Bluetooth support, but since only about 30% of devices will be running this in a year it effectively slows adoption by 12-24 months behind iOS.
  8. NFC is dead—that’s not the interesting part though, it’s how Apple was able to replicate NFC functionality with Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi (they’re also using GPS like Bump did for authentication) and how they standardized all of this into iBeacon in iOS7. While supporting it all backward compatibly to iPhone 4S. A two year old phone upgraded with iOS7 will just work…  Bluetooth has arrived – it’s been around forever, but up to now it’s been crappy. Bluetooth LE (also called Bluetooth Smart) changes everything. Connections, pairing, device management etc will finally work 100% of the time, and Bluetooth will be a completely bulletproof, consumer ready, industry leading technology. There will truly be a radio in everything  around us and it’s going to enable incredible experiences in mobile. Apple’s iWatch will work so well with your iPhone out of the gate when it’s launched you will be blown away.
  9. It’s not even funny how bad fragmentation will hurt Android and Google in location based sharing and payments apps, short range sharing, and the type of things developers build on top of iBeacon (e.g. payments). Fragmentation doesn’t matter as much when you are the only one person affected, people deal with it. But when your Android phone won’t communicate with others or at POS terminals (tablets / iPads) it will be tough to rationalize. Bluetooth LE in Android is happening now, but fragmentation is a deal killer for devs, and this ensures that state of the art apps around local discovery / wireless will rarely support Android3. It’s already happening—Tile has raised about $3M from 50K backers and there will be no Android support (these are tagging devices running Bluetooth LE that help you find lost keys etc).
  10. The next couple years will be one of the more exciting times for local commerce. Sharing and networking services + native bulletproof APIs will finally enable an ecosystem and new use cases and commerce at the point of sale—e.g. Bluetooth powered folios that you pay with using your phone at the table, or loyalty coupons sent to your iPhone (via iBeacon) when you walk into a store. Square pioneered some of these use-cases with its Square Wallet product and now iOS7 standardizes the entire ecosystem. This will really help drive online to offline commerce and attribution tracking. Android will lag here 12-24 months. This means local commerce on Android vs iOS will mirror e-commerce (Android tablet / phone buyers don’t buy as much as iOS). If this plays out at the high end, smartphone sales will remain Apple’s in the US. Worldwide it will be tougher to tell how these use cases develop.

Overall it’s clear there is a stratification happening at the low and high ends of the market, as well as in different geographies. And because embedded platforms are now influenced almost solely by mobile technologies, everything is changing. This is more evidence that mobile platforms will not likely follow the patterns of computing platforms past.


  1. Everything from all of your home wireless routers to the Nest thermostat to the Makerbot 3D printer to the Canary automated home security device run embedded Linux. In the future these designs are up for grabs for Android. 

  2. There are a bunch of new power saving features in iOS7 which required converged hardware/software/service layer development – e.g. in multitasking, new background fetch which shuts down apps and only wakes them during an active networking thread. 

  3. For some reason fragmentation always elicits the “too many screen sizes” example—but issues such as those can be overcome with responsive design. The real trouble comes in different ways – e.g. a friend I know has been seeing a lifecycle bug crash the keyboards on ALL Samsung phones. It’s not an Android version issue, it crashes the app across revs; it’s something non-standard Samsung is doing to Android itself. These are the types of problems that slow down developers and cause them to reevaluate Android support next time. 

  • http://www.semilshah.com/ Semil Shah

    I cannot believe there aren’t any comments here. Holy hell this is your best post to date. Our entire team read this, as well.

    • http://WWW.JAMALDARFUR.ORG/ jamal

      i guess so !!!

    • http://stevecheney.com/ steve cheney

      Awesome. Thank you. This is not a well understood area and I’m glad it’s resonated.

    • Maneesh

      agree with Semil on this post. @stevedcheney:disqus is there no email subscription option for your blog?

      • http://www.semilshah.com/ Semil Shah

        Maneesh, you can use my public IFTTT recipe to have the rss from Steve’s blog sent to your email as text: http://www.ifttt.com/semilshah

      • http://stevecheney.com/ steve cheney

        I added an email subscribe option on the about page below. You can follow all my updates on Twitter as well.

        http://stevecheney.com/about/

        thanks for reading.

        • Maneesh

          BOOM. just signed up. thanks Steve.

          btw, we created http://mightytext.net – have you tried our product yet?

    • Vera Comment

      sending this to everyone i know.
      well done.

  • holtmann

    The post has many good aspects.
    Just one little correction. All iOS 7 APIs are not 2 years backwards compatible For example AirDrop is only available on devices introduced since September 2012 or later (you can check Apple’s website for this). Actually the iPhone 4, iPhone 4s and iPad 2 that Apple still sells today in large numbers do not support it. The reason is simple: Lack of hardware. You need a multichannel wifi chip for it.
    So the adoption or wireless sharing will be faster than on Android, but will not take off as fast as you indicate in your article.

    Bluetooth LE however is in fact available on the iPhone 4s or later. But its not supported on the iPad 2. The iPad 3 (new iPad) or later support it.

    • http://stevecheney.com/ steve cheney

      Thanks so much for reading as well as pointing this out. You are right, that is a small correction from above – AirDrop works back to iPhone 5 (and other Sept 2012 devices) so it’s 1 year back. All iBeacon and Bluetooth services (because Apple supported 4.0 in chipsets back then understanding the future) go 2 years back.

      So, to give a better sense of the timeline:

      Apple has either 1 or 2 full years of hardware support going backward. And even in 1 year *from now* Android will only support these protocols on 30% of devices. So there will be effectively a 3ish year spread on reverse-looking adoption. Crazy.

      • Will

        I think you are a bit harsh on Android. Apple has it’s own share of fragmentation issues (iOS 7 on iPhone 4s is different than iOS on iPhone5). Developers need to take this into account when… developing. So it does not matter when and if a feature is supported, it’s a developer’s job to test for its existence before using anything.
        Just to clarify, I’m not saying Android’s fragmentation isn’t a problem. I’m just saying it’s not such a huge problem as it’s presented and iOS is basically in the same boat.

        • Dobei Kwan

          Fragmentation can be in one sense measured by how much work it takes for app developers to test their software on various (target) mobile devices. I don’t think iOS is fragmented yet as not much effort is needed when considering the various combo of iOS devices/versions. This also has to do with Apple’s adherence to releasing hardware with fixed aspect ratio/resolution, which has nothing to do with hardware/kernel but UI design (and hence the immense hurdle Apple has to overcome to come up with its own rendition of a phablet – a 5.5″ display with 2048×1536 resolution running an app designed for iPad simply isn’t right, for example)

          Fragmentation is more true for Android – you do have to take into consideration different hardware from Samsung/LG/HTC/Sony in your app development. (Although in the case here in Hong Kong all you need is to cater for Android devices from Samsung – which are truly ubiquitous.)

          • Will

            Actually, when discussing fragmentation I was referring to the APIs the app has access to. Such as Bluetooth LE. Even if the app is made for iOS7 only you still have to check for it (4s vs 5). Just the same with Android 4.3 vs the rest.

          • Dobei Kwan

            Then we’re referring to the same kind of fragmentation and given what you’re saying about is true then there goes the “fragment”. Thanks for you input.

          • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

            If everyting is all wonderful on Android, why is the BBC’s Android development team 3x the size of the iOS team? http://daringfireball.net/linked/2013/07/30/bbc-android

          • Will

            That is the most used case study ever in these situations! There are so many reasons of why that is, besides “fragmentation”. For instance, streaming video is much harder on Android and the development tools aren’t nearly as good as xcode! Or maybe they just hired shitty developers for Android because they didn’t want to invest in the app. Regardless, finding isolated case studies that showcase developer “fragmentation issues” without being specific about what the problem is doesn’t make your case.

            Did you read the response posts of your article?

            http://www.ocellus.com/application-development/developer-says-android-is-no-harder-to-develop-for-than-ios/

            http://www.businessinsider.com/no-it-isnt-harder-to-make-android-apps-2013-8

          • http://calebwoodbridge.blogspot.com Caleb Woodbridge

            The problems with the BBC iPlayer app on Android are mainly due to politics around DRM rather than Android being technically more demanding.

            The BBC made a bad decision to base their iPlayer app around Adobe Flash because of DRM FUD, and have stuck with trying to make that work.

            Some small devs have made 3rd party iPlayer apps that have worked better on more devices, but those apps got squashed by the BBC.

        • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

          Android fragmentation is a huge problem; if anything, it’s way worse than what’s being portrayed in the main stream media: http://opensignal.com/reports/fragmentation-2013/.

          iOS 7 will run on the iPhone 4, 4S, and the 5; the 5th generation iPod touch and every iPad since the iPad 2. (And of course it’ll run on the iPhone 5S and the 5C, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.)

          That’s hundreds of millions of devices. Yes, although there are minor differences in hardware capability among these devices, the core OS will be the same across all of them. That’s not at all how the Android eco-system works.

          Within a month of iOS 7 being released, there will be more iOS users using it than any single version of Android—that’s incredibe when you think about it.

          • Will

            No offence but you have no idea what you are talking about. iOS 7 may be the OS name on iPhone 4, iPhone 5 etc. but there are differences. Mainly in the available APIs that the developer has access to (Bluetooth LE for instance). You STILL have to test for the availability of every feature you use, just like on Android. So the fact that “all” iOS devices have an OS with the same name is irrelevant.

            I know that report you linked to… if anything, it showcases the flexibility and power of Android to support such an array of devices. It certainly does NOT mean developers have to buy 11000 devices to test their app on. If it works on an 2.2 Android device, it will work on the rest (unless you specifically target 4.* devices because certain APIs are not available, not unlike the (very few) iPod compatible iOS apps).

          • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

            No offence but you have no idea what you are talking about.

            It’s never good when a response starts with don’t be offended as I proceed to make an ad hominem attack on you. But whatever.

            iOS 7 may be the OS name on iPhone 4, iPhone 5 etc. but there are differences. Mainly in the available APIs that the developer has access to (Bluetooth LE for instance). You STILL have to test for the availability of every feature you use, just like on Android.

            Not exactly true. iOS 7 isn’t just branding; it’s an operating system. Typically on iOS, a developer can have the OS tell them whether or not a feature is available. The developer doesn’t have to write special code. And we’re only talking about a handful of features anyway. The important point is that there’s a core amount of iOS 7 that runs on the vast majority of devices out there; that’s never been the case for Android. Ever.

            I know that report you linked to… if anything, it showcases the flexibility and power of Android to support such an array of devices.

            Wouldn’t say it shows any kind of power or flexibility; just that because Android is free, anyone can make a device that uses it, which of course is turning out to be of a curse than a blessing.

            It certainly does NOT mean developers have to buy 11000 devices to test their app on. If it works on an 2.2 Android device, it will work on the rest (unless you specifically target 4.* devices because certain APIs are not available, not unlike the (very few) iPod compatible iOS apps).

            They don’t have to test on 11,000 devices; however, even testing on 20 or 30 devices is a hardship most small developers can’t deal with. And there are always users asking you to support their obscure Android device that a developer just can’t address.

            The problem for Android is that 2.x has the most users; targeting 4.x means not being available to the majority of the user base. 4.x is far superior to 2.x, but unless you’re okay with not being able to sell to the largest part of the installed based, you’re stuck.

            Finally, of the over 800,000 iOS apps, only a tiny fraction of the apps for the iPhone don’t support the iPod touch, usually for GPS reasons. Every important, mainstream app for the iPhone works on the iPod touch. So that’s not an issue.

          • Will

            “The developer doesn’t have to write special code.”

            well, for instance, this is how you check for Bluetooth LE on Android,

            if(!getPackageManager().hasSystemFeature(PackageManager.FEATURE_BLUETOOTH_LE)) …

            And similarly for iOS, you check the app’s CBCentralManagerState for CBCentralManagerStatePoweredOn

            How is it more difficult on Android?

            “And we’re only talking about a handful of features anyway”

            Can you give a list of features for Android that are different between a Samsung 2.* and HTC 2.*?

            “The important point is that there’s a core amount of iOS 7 that runs on the vast majority of devices out there; that’s never been the case for Android”

            Um… an Android smartphone is called Android for a reason. At the core, it is Android and it will run Android apps. Unless you can give me an example of an OEM device that REQUIRES developers to identify the device specifically to run their code. That’s right, the device does not matter, the APIs do.

            “They don’t have to test on 11,000 devices; however, even testing on 20 or 30 devices is a hardship most small developers can’t deal with”

            If that is true, why even bother with 30 devices anyway since it will most certainly be a minority… my point is you don’t need that many devices, a 2.* and 4.* would suffice.

            This whole fragmentation issue is overblown. Do you need to buy 20-30 PCs to test your Windows app? After all, Windows is quite fragmented as well and nobody gives a s**t.

          • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

            If everything is great on Android, why did this developer abandon Android because it consumed 20% of the manhours on his team while Android only brought in 5% of the revenue? http://www.slashgear.com/game-dev-ditches-android-over-fragmentation-12217878/

          • Will

            Because his game was s**t?

          • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

            That’s not it, but thanks for playing. ;-)

            If you read the article, you’ll see that, due to Android fragmentation, he had to allocate more resources to keep up with the increasing number of Android devices. He got to a point where it no longer made sense.

          • Will

            I did. I saw the screenshot. The game was shit and it didn’t make money. Android users are not used to pay for shitty games.

          • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

            Actualy, Android users don’t pay for much in the way of apps. Developers have made over $10 billion in App Store sales from Apple. Android—not so much.

          • Will

            And that’s a bad thing for the consumer because… ??? If iOS users wanna pay for shitty games, go for it. At least Google Play will have one less shitty game.

          • Donald Michael Kraig

            Because when developers don’t get paid they don’t develop. A lack of products is bad for consumers. I find it odd that you don’t know this as you seem to be a mind reader able to tell that a game is sh*t by looking a one screenshot!

          • Will

            Ok, you’re taking this is out of context. I don’t know this particular developer and to be fair his opinion on Android does not matter. Simply because it does not reflect the general impression.

            It is true that when developers don’t get paid they don’t develop. But I do know Android’s store is growing faster than iOS. So obviously, most developers do not share his opinions.

          • Space Gorilla

            Dude, this is the developer that makes Battleheart, which is a great game, tons of fun. At least on the iPad it is.

        • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

          According to this report, they’ve documented 11,868 different Android configurations (screeen sizes, OS versions, chipsets). I’m sure that doesn’t affect developer’s ability to develop apps at all. ;-)

          http://opensignal.com/reports/fragmentation-2013/

          • TheRealCBONE

            Doesn’t seem to be hurting them or their app. At no time do they mention that they have any big problem with serving that diverse group and actually offer tips so that other developers can do the same.

            No one ever quotes the Advantages part of the report or points out that OpenSignal looks good and works great on all those devices.

          • pllopis

            Actually, if you had ever developed an Android app, you’d know that 99% of the time you don’t have to take into account any of that ;) The issue with Android fragmentation results in a trade-off between development cost and how many OS versions are supported, but unless you are doing rare things, the cost is very very small. There are numerous developers who have repeated this, so you don’t have to trust me. That one you quoted, well, it looks like the problem was not really fragmentation, but that Android only was 5% of his revenue. That’s a different problem.

        • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

          If everything is great on Android, why does it seem that growth of Android has peaked in the US and may be starting to decline? http://www.asymco.com/2013/08/08/android-net-user-decline/

          • Will

            “The difference is surely within a margin of error”. Also, considering the rest of the world like a normal person, Android reached an all time high of 80%

  • Nitin Jadhav

    Very insightful.. I am feeling delighted after reading this.

  • philayres

    Great post! I can absolutely see your point that Apple will continue to push the ‘performance per watt’ boundaries, since they have so much control over the hardware. Although I think that equally the chip vendors supplying to the Android ecosystem will stay close enough that it won’t make much difference. Why? If Apple relies on the extra performance of new phones too highly, it will force obsolescence of earlier devices too quickly for consumers to accept. Previous iOS updates push you into buying a new device in 3 years. They can’t go faster than that, as wallets won’t allow, even if carrier contracts start to, and the mid-range iPhones will start to hold some major app development back (why focus only on top end phones since your potential custom base is smaller).

    More importantly though is fragmentation in the Android ecosystem. I don’t see it being a real issue. The PC thrived for years in a hugely fragmented market, with hardware and software all over the map. It wasn’t this fragmentation that killed developer adoption of Windows as the place to try and make money. I don’t see why it should be the same for Android (yet). For developers, the quality of the tools can make more of a difference than the single device you are targeting. If the tools make different screen sizes and hardware easy to handle, you’re not going to worry. This seems to be good Apple FUD, but nothing I’ve heard real developers of Android really concerned with.

    I know I’m going to have to re-read your post, as there is some really great analysis in there I haven’t fully consumed.

    Phil

    • http://redth.info/ Redth

      I agree with Phil. Android fragmentation is less of an issue than everyone seems to be making it out to be. Seems like everyone’s missing the fact that Google is sneaking more and more into their Google Play Services layer which automatically updates on devices as old as Froyo (2.2). The new location api’s and such are all available on Froyo. Google’s effectively taking as much out of the core OS as possible and modularizing it (Google Play Services, Gmail, Keyboard, Drive, etc. etc.) so they can be more agile about updating it.

      We’re also seeing a trend from many manufacturers of customizing less. Moto-X is more stock (granted they’re owned by Google of course), HTC and Samsung both released ‘vanilla’ versions for their flagship devices. Android itself is much better now than it was in 2.x days, and I think manufacturers will keep differentiating by adding their own apps and less so by reskinning the entire OS. The exceptions here are obviously Amazon (but I’d say they’re not really android anymore anyway), and Samsung, who seems hellbent on going more the direction of Amazon.

      Of course, hardware has been a bit of a problem. I’m not sure how many devices that are pre 4.3 are shipping with Bluetooth LE hardware capabilities.

      Ultimately I’m not sure the low cost iPhone will change all that much. Apple’s essentially already been doing this by offering the older models at a cheaper price when new models arrive. It’s really just marketing spin to some extent. I think it will help them remain in a dominant position where they currently sit, but Android’s going to keep chipping away at the mid to low end market, sine ultimately Apple is more margin driven than most other manufacturers.

      • philayres

        Redth, thanks for adding the real facts to back up my pontifications. Good point about Samsung too. Their own desire to own an OS does seem to put a chunk of the ecosystem at risk IMO.

      • Oluseyi

        Google Play Services is an interesting response to the out of control ecosystem! I presume the Google Play Services app delivers the new client-side interfaces via the Play Store, turning the OS as a whole into a simple container rather than a collection of interfaces/functionality?

        Like I said: interesting. Should address the fragmentation concerns, which requires Steve to reassess the future.

        • http://redth.info/ Redth

          @Oluseyi:disqus yea the new bits come down over the play store, and that’s supported back to v2.2 (Froyo) as I said. That’s why when you hear about such and such phones not being updated past some version, it’s not quite like comparing it to Apple not updating hardware to a new iOS version. With Apple, the version of iOS is what directly means a device getting new features or not. With Google, it’s a bit of both the version of Android, but also what features Google can release through either their own apps or through the Google Play Services library that is updated as well.

          I think @stevedcheney:disqus should take another look with all the facts.

          • Canucker

            Can we now define Android as those devices that link/use Google Play? That would make better sense than “activations”, no?

    • Walt French

      Great discussion. But regards Windows fragmentation, Windows was never tasked with the peer-to-peer coordination discussed here. A company—remember, PCs were much more a corporate tool in their 90′s–00′s heyday—carefully spec’d and tested them before putting them on dozens or thousands of desks.

      • philayres

        Walt, I think you’ve got a point. That said, PC hardware is hugely diverse, and it remains the responsibility of the hardware vendor to ensure the base OS and their customizations work well. And that common applications work well (which covers most of the usage, I know).

        I did some corporate dev years ago and we really didn’t test on a range of PCs. The Microsoft development tools were refined enough back at Windows 2000 to just make things work. Other infrastructure, not so much, but that’s a different story.

        It feels like we are in the same place with Android, when you read some of the iOS v Android blogs from real developers. Both net out about the same development time for the same app, apparently (will try and find my links to back up that claim).

        Google is incredibly good at engaging developers across all their products. In such a developer driven environment I wouldn’t bet against them.

        • Walt French

          I agree but note that the thesis of the article was that it’d take a while before Android handsets in the wild achieved critical mass for some of the features; the supposed “ready out of the box” NFC support isn’t.

        • Oluseyi

          There are two crucial differences between Windows [95 to 7] and Android. The first is that Microsoft almost never deprecated old APIs in Win32, and in fact went out of its way to ensure backward compatibility so applications that ran on 95 would keep running, unaltered, right through 7. You might get an inordinate number of UAC prompts in Vista, and your application almost certainly would be violating the security best practices, but it’d basically still run. Android deprecates some APIs in every release.

          The second difference is the inverse, in a sense: Android aggressively adds new APIs and capabilities in each release, such that devices that lag the current version become unsupportable targets for certain types of functionality. The failure of carriers and OEMs to enable timely software updates is the bottleneck here, a factor that there is no analogue for in the PC space: the decision to upgrade a PC to a newer version of Windows is entirely up to the device owner.

          In other words, the principal perceived flaw with Android is not a technical flaw with Android at all, but rather an ecosystem problem that Google is no longer able to address. The cat’s out of the bag.

          • Oluseyi

            I’ve just learned about what Google is doing with Google Play Services. It may have conclusively addressed the fragmentation issue, in a manner superior to Apple’s (“upgrade your OS”). We’ll have to see what the next several months prove.

          • philayres

            Maybe it will become a selling point for manufacturers that they release with the newest OS. Since phones get upgraded more often than PCs, both hardware and OS, I’ll be interested to see if developers actually complain about the fragmentation, or just the Apple PR folks.

            I personally moved from iPhone after my device was forced into retirement by an unusable iOS upgrade. I dislike that kind of forced obsolescence for hardware that was fine and functioning well the day before. Guess I’m bitter until Android does the same to me.

          • Oluseyi

            Manufacturers in the Android space *do* release with relatively recent OS versions. That’s not the issue. The issue is subsequent support for the devices, in the form of updates: because the carrier and Google own the customer (billing with the carrier, services with Google), the manufacturer has little incentive to continue to put effort into a device it will see no further revenue from.

            I’m increasingly convinced, however, that Google has addressed the OS fragmentation problems I enumerated with its Play Services strategy: an auto-updating *app* on any Android device running 2.2 FroYo or later that provides APIs other applications can use. It’s brilliant, really—and I suspect it’s lifted from work around Chrome, but that’s a whole other discussion.

    • TheRealCBONE

      You hardly hear any complaining from serious android developers about fragmentation. They do complain, but not about that. I don’t know what difference the screen sizes make when they are all standard resolutions.

      Android devs would be much better served if they had a devout fanbase waxing poetic about the wares available. There are a couple android fansites and such, but the apple faithful make the pope look like a lapsed catholic. In my experience, Apple owners can’t wait to talk to each other and anyone who will listen about apps and other things. Android users tend to not even know about most of the things they can do. There’s maybe 10 people in my building with iPhones and they have them out constantly playing music and such. Everybody else has Android phones, almost all Samsung and most don’t do much with them beyond Facebook and casual games (This is during work so YMMV). Android also doesn’t have the “I bet I can get that to work on an iPhone/iPad!” legions working for free.

      • mknopp

        You basically just supported my primary belief on why Android is doing so well in mobile phones. Android is the new feature phone.

        I cannot count how many people I know who went to their mobile provider to buy a new phone and walked out with an Android phone. Not because they cared about Android versus iOS, but because it was what the sales associate pushed and it was cheap.

        What do these people do with their brand new Android smartphone? Basically the same exact things that they did with their old feature phone. They might download Facebook or Twitter, but for the most part they use it just like they did their older phone because a phone is exactly what they wanted, not a mobile computer.

        This also explains why Android does so poorly in virtually every usage statistic, despite having a commanding lead in market share.

        People with iPhones use them like smartphones. A lot of people with Android phones couldn’t tell you the difference between Android and iOS and don’t care to know. All they want is a phone that can take pictures, text/message, make calls, and maybe let them use Facebook. Other then that, they don’t care.

        • freerange

          You are right in your observation that to a very large part of the market Android is the new feature phone. I live in China and this is exactly what I see here. I’m sure this is compounded in the markets in the developing world, especially with an older demographic. The youth market however is a different story and that is where Apple needs to win over the hearts and minds of the consumer to also support future growth.

      • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

        Serious developers are talking about it, especially those with users who are wondering where the Android version of an app is when there’s already an iOS version.

        I think the BBC would quality as a serious developer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/internet/posts/Video-on-Android-Devices-Update.

        • TheRealCBONE

          Insistence on gimpy Flash is to blame for that more than inherent Android fragmentation issues. Just read the comments at the link you posted.

  • http://w2ogroup.com/blog LionelGeek

    One of the best posts I’ve seen on the topic. Thanks for cranking on this one.

  • http://www.sohrob.com Sohrob Tahmasebi

    Nice post. I do not envy Android developers. They have their work cut out for them.

    • http://stevecheney.com/ steve cheney

      Thanks so much for reading. Agreed.

      • http://redth.info/ Redth

        I develop for android. It’s really not that bad unless you’re doing some crazy low level things. Honestly, the fragmentation is WAY overblown.

      • TheWenger

        It’s really not bad at all. Everyone should make apps that fit different screen sizes. For some reason, Apple made it popular for developers to hard code pixel values and only write for a handful of screen sizes and resolutions.

        • markrogo

          And that decision makes it very challenging for Apple to build a larger screen phone with a slightly “off” resolution. That causes Apple to cede a significant portion of the market for no really good reason.

        • David V.

          I’m not sure what you mean by “hard code pixel values”, but certainly iOS apps don’t typically assume a fixed app window size, because it’s not in fact fixed: In various modes (ongoing call, GPS navigation, etc.), the OS claims a bit of display real-estate, and the app has to adapt.
          Still, it’s much less variation than the Android landscape, and since the “width” remains constant, most UI layouts are unaffected. Ultimately, in terms of display fragmentation, that’s really the issue: Designing a great UX through careful UI layout is an art as it is for mostly-known display sizes; I’ve seen very few instances of such UX on variadic displays. For example, most web sites with great UX actually constrain the UI area to a fixed width, and desktop apps typically keep complex dialogs or toolbar to fixed size too. That’s sort of okay when the display is “large” (desktop, laptop), but probably not acceptable when it’s fairly tiny.

  • Paul Hein

    But what do you think about the Trend in Europe with Android and IOs? In Germany Android has a marketshare of 79.5%
    and even in China the Android marketshare is over 90%, an enourmos but not so healthy number for china.
    Also i think it lacks a little bit with Windows Phone. It runs behind, but at the Moment, thanks to Nokia, they have the best Smartphone cameras.

    But i must agree, the adoption of Standards in Android is too slow and this is sad. I hope some things will change. And for everybody not running the latest Android verison, there are other things like Cyanogenmod, Paranoid Android, AOKP,etc… with even more software features, then Nexus ones. Only the Hardware support lacks sometimes behind, and mobile Payment solutions are maybe a point, Apple can be the winner.

    I don’t think NFC is dead. It is a great way, to automate Tasks, pair Speakers, or activate custom Profiles. Some things a power user would want to do. For them it is great. Google Reader was also a thing for Power Users, but only, because Google shut it down, I wouldn’t say it is dead. RSS lives on, in Feedly, and other Services.

    • Mother Hydra

      android is completely different to the point of being almost another OS in China mainly due to not having googly services.

    • Stephan Kippe

      That’s because except for cars, houses and washing machines German consumers are always going for the cheapest solution, usability and quality be damned (the Aldi principle). During the Windows era no big international PC maker was able to make significant inroads with German consumers, PCs were built on the cheap by small local manufacturers that usually disappeared after a few years or discount brands like Medion.

  • derek_mashable

    I for one almost 100% disagree with this post.

    In around 2015-2016 time frame most top of the line smart phones will be ~$50-$100 (this may include other “internet” devices as well) I cannot see how Apple will mint profits at the current level even after selling say 500M units per year.

    HW + SW integration for most (non-apple) devices will be good enough. Good enough is the key – Good enough but cheap AKA commoditization. Design can be commoditized as well. It is very difficult to be in the Hardware business – no matter how you frame – vertically integrated or not. Profit margins will be extremely slim 5 years down the line. The early days of low power chip revolution is coming to and end – now margins will shrink for all players. I see Iphone 5c is a classic “The Innovator’s Dilemma” move.

    Android OS is going to be as fragmented as the WWW and may do fine; there will for sure be growing pains. if for reasons that you state in the article it fails I believe Windows may take over.

    • SubstrateUndertow

      It is very likely that in the near future, as in natural eco-systems, things will evolve around tightly orchestrated groupings of locally independent smart devices that are very choosy/stingy about their global-cloud interactions, for decentralized autonomy and security reasons.

      That may play to Apple’s home turf ?

      We are not even closet to the end of history on rapid device evolution! Apple has a lot of headroom to run from the cheap commoditized device crowd.

    • aardman

      And yet despite how slim profit margins got on Windows PC’s as manufacturers raced to the bottom, Mac margins remained quite healthy. Why the same thing will not happen in smart phones is still an open question.

    • Space Gorilla

      Good enough and cheap does tend to serve a large chunk of any market, but that’s the worst segment to operate in, lots of competition and low margins. Apple doesn’t operate in that segment, they operate in what I call the ‘Best Customer Segment’. They create products that deliver a specific experience and go after the segment of the market that values that experience. That’s why Apple does so well in the PC market, small market share but huge profit share and lots of happy customers who keep coming back. I see no reason why the mobile market will be much different from this, except that market is so huge that a smallish portion of that market could easily mean Apple has over a billion users in its ecosystem.

      I’ll give you an example of what I mean by market segments. Part of what I do is consulting/designing websites, in the low five figures budget-wise. There are many hundreds of companies in my market that develop websites for less than five thousand dollars. Am I in competition with those companies? Of course not. I deliver a different experience to my customers than the sub $5,000 developers, and my customers value what I do for them. I am happy to let the sub $5,000 market fight for every cent of profit, since I do not operate in that segment of the market.

      Apple will always ignore some part of any market they operate in, that’s just good business. I could argue it’s an anchor around Android’s neck that as a platform it now has been tasked with the job of serving the entire market.

    • ArtimusMacimus

      I’m going to have to bust your bubble Derek. Most Android phones are already $50 – $100. That’s exactly the problem for Android developers. There is already no room to make money.

      If you believe IDC’s numbers/guesses (I don’t but that’s another topic) then this last quarter android had 79% but since only 20 -25% of that, could be realistically considered a Smartphone, then for all the bluster about market share Android really has only recently even caught up to the iPhone in market share. And that is only in phones; tablets is a whole other world of hurt for Android developers.

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  • Alfiejr

    well yes, there is a frequent product cycle lag with Android products about a year plus/minus behind Apple for important hardware driven factors such as this post notes. no question battery life is a primary consideration for many. as to the others, well let’s wait and see.

    but then, there is also a lag with Apple’s ecosystem services about two years plus/minus behind Google for most useful web/cloud services. but since many of those work on Apple products too the impact of this is secondary.

    overall these two tend to balance out in first world markets like the US depending on user priorities.

    but what this post omits, despite its title, is how committed Google is to Android long term. as others now increasingly note, Google does all the Android development work, but Samsung is making all the Android profits. that makes little strategic sense for any business. Google may increasingly turn its focus to Chrome (and web services of course), possibly including more hardware, while the OEM’s continue to fork Android into custom systems as Amazon did and Samsung is clearly beginning to. at that point future development of the Android OS would splinter – just like Linux has. of course at its most fundamental level, Android IS a Linux splinter anyway.

    • Michael Scrip

      – “Google does all the Android development work, but Samsung is making all the Android profits.” –

      Google gives away the Android software and only charges for Google services.

      Samsung (and other OEMs) sells hardware.

      Google must have known that the hardware vendors would make most of the money.

      On a $600 Dell computer… how much of that is the Windows license? Not a lot, right?

      Google obviously has other ways to make money…

      • markrogo

        On a $600 Dell computer, almost all the gross margin is the Windows license. On a $500 (pre-subsidy) Galaxy S4, all the margin goes to Samsung. Google waits to make some scraps on the come.

  • http://www.andysnotebook.com andydavies

    I use both iOS and Android on a daily basis and in many ways Apple aren’t ahead though.

    The crappy iOS keyboard (compared to swype) and the complete lack of integration between apps are glaring holes in the iOS ecosystem

    • The Gnome

      Bitter much?

      • http://www.andysnotebook.com andydavies

        Nope, no bitter at all, just a bit frustrated with the lack of progress that iOS has made in places.

        • http://w2ogroup.com/blog LionelGeek

          I agree with you Andy. We’ll see what the final version of iOS 7 brings, but I’ve used both iOS and Android pretty regularly. IMO, no question that Android’s made the bigger strides in usability and innovation, especially since Jelly Bean.

    • Space Gorilla

      I don’t use the keyboard, I dictate everything, it’s great, and so much faster than typing. I am continually amazed at how accurate it is. Why would anyone type when they can just talk?

  • mcsnake

    Excellent post. Apple has a habit of peeking ahead on Technology. That’s why it never chose to support NFC. Same as when it stopped using floppy disks in the iMac.

  • Jivester

    I dunno about this post, where is the evidence that android is not optimized for chips? Please back up your assertions….

    Also, I run an almost two year old phone with Android 4.3…If this is as important to people as you predict it will be, then Android users can buy a Nexus or a MotoX …its that simple.

    • http://policydiary.com/ John S. Wilson

      Except those are unlocked and very expensive. Rarely do they receive subsidized pricing.

      • Jivester

        If by very expensive you mean $100 more than a fully subsidized phone then I suspect you are correct, but if you buy a prepaid phone it is WAY cheaper than the locked in subsidized contract. But you are also free to buy a $200 subsidized MotoX…just saying…I do get your point, they aren’t as readily available.

        • http://policydiary.com/ John S. Wilson

          I agree with you 100% in that I buy unlocked and use prepaid. As you mentioned, it saves the most money and affords me the most flexibility — and that’s very valuable for me. However for many others price (particularly in the short term what’s required upfront) drives a lot of decisions. It’s why the iPhone 4 is seeing a resurgence. That model is free on contract (in the US at least). I would imagine many ppl who don’t consider themselves that tech savvy but respect the Apple brand are purchasing these over competing Androids. A $300 price point wouldn’t fly for this customer.

          • Jivester

            I can’t argue with those points…

  • splamco

    Main takeaway: Sure Apple is eating Android’s dust in every meaningful metric known to mankind but Android is a fragmented mess and Apple has the mojo to be more awesome and dominant than ever. Isn’t the definition of fragmentation that not all current devices get updates? When Apple does this systematically, it isn’t fragmentation of course, it’s just another steaming pile of awesome.

    • Walt French

      Not sure your perspective/involvement with the issues. But just because Apple has a very controlled, generally very managed approach to rollouts, vs Google’s famous “everything is beta” tack that produces embarrassments such as the Q, why do you even think the two companies are even envisioning the same goals, for one to be ahead of the other?

      This post was pretty developer-specific and you provide no challenge to the very specific points other than to claim Android is winning. Try something more informative; the cheer leading doesn’t count.

    • SubstrateUndertow

      Conflating metrics from two distinct market is the ongoing problem with this whole topic !

    • tz

      “Sure Apple is eating Android’s dust in every meaningful metric known to mankind” . . . . is profit not a meaningful metric?

    • aardman

      No, that’s not the definition of fragmentation. That’s probably the biggest cause of fragmentation, but not the only cause. Another significant cause is the variation in hardware across all Android phones.

  • Jake_in_Seoul

    Interesting post. From my part, living as I do in South Korea I would add the following:r
    1. Why should we ever trust “global shipping” and “marketshare” figures from IDC, Strategy Analytics, when the Android numbers can never be checked against legitimate sales figures (since no phone maker but Apple provides them) except in Japan and the U.S. via the telecom data? Odd, isn’t it, that in the countries providing cross-checking, the iphone is doing well? And when does IDC ever provide any margin of error disclosures for their statistical modeling?

    2. There’s not only a problem with fragmentation with Android in China, more a problem of completely forked local systems, to the point that calling most Chinese systems “Android” is a misnomer. They’ve become something else and it is inappropriate in my opinion to lump them together google-esque Android.

    3. The definition of a smartphone itself is quite blurry, especially if there are no data plans being used or used minimally.

    In sum, we really don’t know how many phones are out there actually both capable of running smart phone apps and with sufficient data plans to make the capability meaningful.

    • jameskatt

      Sure you add them to Android. They still run Android apps – some of them. They contribute to Android fragmentation – bless the Chinese.

    • ArtimusMacimus

      Quite right Jake. What’s the total percentage of high end Androids? 20 – 25% at best, so that even if Android has 75 – 80%; the real addressable market for developers is only roughly the same % share as iOS.

      This is why there is greater support for the App Store. Simply because Android has only recently even caught up to iOS in terms of real Smartphone market share. And that is only in phones; tablets is a whole other world of hurt for Android developers.

    • Nathillien

      1. Yes. Why not just stick to the sources which favour Apple all the way.

      2. Whatever serves your purpose.

      3. How about defining just iPhone as a smartphone . Then you would have 100% market share everywhere to make you happy.

      Anyway, why do you care about numbers so much?

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  • TeeJay2000

    Was passing through and glad I did. Great read and I especially liked the reference to potential uses of advanced Bluetooth. I sense that this is ‘not the beginning of the end, not even the end of the beginning…’

    Thanks

  • http://www.chriskurdziel.com/ Chris Kurdziel

    Great post, Steve.

    Agree with your thoughts on the whole here, especially regarding Bluetooth LE and device interoperability within a user’s own device ecosystem (iPhone/iTV/iPad/iWatch).

    What’s really interesting is that while Apple is making the right bets at the ecosystem level, I’m seeing more and more iPhone early adopters switching to Android because they’re tired of the fact that iOS doesn’t give them feature X or Y. It’d be interesting to quantify how representative that population is in the grand scheme – my sense is that it’s a very small portion of the marketplace that Apple would be content ignoring for now.

    • aardman

      And yet iPhone’s share in the US is rising which seems to confirm your hunch that your anecdotal evidence is not representative of the population trend.

    • Space Gorilla

      I see the opposite around me, but I see mostly business folks (which I’m sure skews my experience), all using iPhones now. It’s interesting, above the age of 50 or so, they cling to their Blackberry, but below that age it is nine iPhones and one Samsung. Recent data suggests Apple does even better with people buying their second smartphone. And iOS is doing very well in enterprise, which is probably why I see so many iPhones, and also some iPads popping up now as well in business meetings.

  • http://wogan.me Wogan

    This is a fantastic summary! That’s all I have to say, really :)

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  • kenbarlo

    Great post! Really like the thought and thoroughness that went into this.

  • http://www.charliecrystle.com/ Charlie Crystle

    screens will go away. nice post. would love to see a follow up focused just on the future.

  • Lee L Kennedy

    Really interesting post, really shows how Android’s fragmentation is hurting Google.

    I’m no expert, but it seems like all the hardware companies/service providers are the problems in the fragmentation issue. If they realize their alterations cause such big problems, maybe they’ll step back and ship pure Android and we’d get the seamless experience that Apple is renowned for?

    • TheRealCBONE

      Pure Android is overrated. Going from Touchwiz (with a better launcher) to pure Android is an annoying step backwards features and useability wise. The top-tier manufacturers just need to learn when to say when with their garbage launchers. Apple has had a big advantage in shipping singular devices to all carriers and forcing the carriers to let them ship their own updates.

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  • neffhudson

    Amazing post, Steve. Thanks for sharing your perspectives. As a payments geek, my palms get itchy just thinking about how Bluetooth and WiFi could change Point of Sale Retail. And if anyone knows retail, it’s Apple.

    • darkcrayon

      Bluetooth, WIFI, and fingerprint scanner.. hmm

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  • Jeramy Eggers

    http://paulstamatiou.com/android-is-better

    So you use twitter right? Seems like you like twitter. Well this developer/designer of twitter has a complerely different perspective. Explain to me why his points are less valid than yours considering he is a developer who is involved in one of the largest apps downloaded on both platforms.

    • Stephan Kippe

      Explain to me? Nice sentiment… How about reading both and coming up with your own conclusion? Nobody owes you am explanation.

    • orthorim

      I think both are right.

      Android is now “good enough” as-is and high end Android phones – which are a minority of total Android activations – are very much competitive with iOS.

      However, Android as a platform continues to be a mess. What that really means is kind of hard to explain but the above article makes some very good points on it. If the device you’re holding in your hands does what you want, you’re maybe not concerned about platform fragmentation. If you want to implement features or sell apps, you will care a whole lot. The non-fragmented platform will get new apps and new features first. Which then results in a better experience on a device level.

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  • Yvonne M. Bryant

    This post was informative and I agree with low price iPhone5″s and IOS
    next we should work toward low price providers service monthly.

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  • http://gregbattle.com/ gbattle

    +1 Steve. Your best summation to date.

    I think you could also speak to the structural differences between Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Apple’s stranglehold on quality/control stifles innovation. More and more developers will launch and iterate on Android first, then launch on Apple as the iteration cycles are just too long to bear. Apple will become a laggard when it comes to the best apps. And any apps that defy Apple’s precious guidelines (I’m looking at you 11.1! Grrrr!), won’t end up in the App Store at all.

    • orthorim

      The way I see it Android remains a much smaller platform than iOS. Activation numbers are irrelevant – who cares if all those dumbphones are getting replaced with dumb Android phones (dumbphone + facebook and email).

      iOS is competing not with “Android” but competing with a small group of high end Android phones such as the N4, SGS3/4, HTC One and so on. Compare those activation numbers. Android is nowhere near parity, this is more like 70% iOS.

      As the low end catches up with high end, Apple introduces cheaper versions; in other words once it’s possible to build a high end device for $300, Apple does that, too.

      PS: BTW I completely agree that Apple’s stranglehold on the app store and APIs stifles innovation.

  • jefflass

    Once giganto Samsung switches over totally to its own proprietary Tizen OS for all of its personal electronics, won’t Android practically disappear from the marketplace?

    • Oletros

      And why Samsung would do something like this?

      • orthorim

        One – They’d love to in order to control the whole widget. Don’t think Samsung is ambitious enough to _also_ want to be Google? Think again.
        Two – No way they’ll pull this off so Android is safe.

        • Oletros

          They are ambitious, but I think they know how well Bada and WP have done for them.

          Without Google services (Maps, GMail, Play Store, etc) I don’t think they will do so well. Perhaps people think on Galaxy brand but they want Maps, GMail, Youtube, etc. and with Tizen, Bada or WP they don’t have anything of that

      • http://icrizzo.net/ Christopher

        Greed or to have something they can call their own!

        • Oletros

          Tizen is not their own, their won OS is Bada

    • http://icrizzo.net/ Christopher

      I don’t think so, I think android the OS is more popular than samsung the brand!

  • Lele Canfora

    The entire point of the article is that Apple will blow the world away because of their Bluetooth LE and mobile proximity payments…which could be available on EVERY Bluetooth 4 device, practically all the expensive Android phones that came since this Jan and will come thereafter. The problem is that they WON’T, at least not be widespread until the majority of the people are ready to use it, basically when it’ll be available for the majority of phone…which run Android.

    • darkcrayon

      Right, no one would consider offering, say, a payment service to the user community most likely to use it to pay for things ;) In fact they might have planned to release on iOS first anyway which would work in your scenario.

      • Lele Canfora

        Mobile payment’s diffusion is influenced by network effect, yes probably it might start on iOS (higher willingness to pay, usually richer owners, etc) but as long as it’s exclusive on iOS it will never really break through, which is what one expects from a payment system. Do you expect Apple to allow this same standard on other devices?

        • ArtimusMacimus

          Yes. Think iTunes. They’ll start on iOS first, then port to WindowsPhone next, and then launch on Android in a year or two.

          This will all be accomplished via the Apple user ID, which your credit card number, making credit transactions seamless through iBank (or some such).

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  • richard451

    “When iOS7 launches all APIs are backwards compatible 2 years (iPhone 4S and up)” This line is incorrect. For example; AirDrop only works with the iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5th gen, iPad Mini and iPad 4. Hardly 95% of iOS users, or in other words; fragmentation.

    • darkcrayon

      “Fragmentation” yes, but you can’t blame Apple for not upgrading the wifi hardware in old phones. And the larger point was made with Bluetooth LE which the 4S and up do support. In a month, the only new iPhones sold will presumably support both of these technologies.

  • http://estatelister.com Siddhesh

    I have different views. To know the strides made by Android over the past year, you should, rather you must visit India. In India, no one buys an iPhone, Android has gotten so dominant here, I doubt Apple would break through the Indian market in coming years now. Android / Samsung owns this market.

    By that same analogy, I think Android will push for dominance across all markets – numbers don’t lie – Android has 55+% marketshare in US. This is because Apple has just not innovated enough around the ecosystem and has not actually pushed the price point barrier hard enough. Bottomline, numbers don’t lie. Again these are personal opinions/observations. Respect the breadth of the analysis, but lacks depth.

    PS; I am an Apple user – use the imac, but have moved to Nexus4 and am delighted with the experience.

  • SockRolid

    Brilliant piece. Thanks! Bookmarked for future reference.

  • Seriously

    I’ll admit, I was intrigued and you made some very salient points up until you mentioned NFC. From everything I’ve read, that works between 2 iOS devices so it’s completely platform dependent. This isn’t the Blu-ray of connectivity killing off HD-DVD, this is just Apple thumbing their nose at Samsung and Google beating them to the punch and eschewing open standards (you might remember when Steve Jobs said no to Flash on the “open standards” argument?). Here’s more data to support the NFC != Dead theory http://www.digitalscreenmedia.org/steve-gurley/view/27964

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  • brittlewis12

    Fantastic post, very thought provoking.

    Your insights on BLE & iBeacons really put the rumored iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner technology in a whole new context for me; what I was writing off as a frivolous checkbox could actually become instrumental to this next wave of hyper-locality, the beginning of which we are just now seeing in mobile. Not only for payments, once the technology has matured, but for activating passbook deals, acknowledging iBeacons, and much much more.

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  • swgc

    Great post Steve with some original angles on familiar topics – thanks. I’m not sure I agree with you about NFC…for two reasons, first its zero-local-power requirement, so that tagged things can provide an access point for many years. I also think that the ability to seamlessly access content about things by tapping is an ultra-localised process (e.g. two small bottles on a shelf differentiating themselves to the user and each presenting their own profile/visible proposition e.g. Get a free sample!) that is well suited to contactless transactions.

  • bertdanner

    Steve, you have clarified a very important dynamic that I have not seen addressed elsewhere with a scholarly and objective analysis. You are to be commended on so thoughtfully and thoroughly explaining a little known aspect of the evolution of mobile near-field communications. Thanks, and I look forward to reading more of your excellent work in the future. All the best, Bert

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  • Guest

    Personally from a developer’s point of view. I both develop Android and IOS. I think Android will excel in the long run considering Java is more powerful and friendly compare to Objective C… If a good hardware will be produced for Android then GAME OVER. Not unless Apple will reengineer the Objective C to be like it more like C++ which the foundation of C# and Java…

  • sabudrey

    Personally from a developer’s point of view. I develop both Android and IOS. I think Android will excel in the long run considering a lot of developers will Java which is more powerful and friendly compare to Objective C… If a good hardware will be produced for Android then GAME OVER. Not unless Apple will reengineer their Objective C architecture to be like more on C++ which the foundation of Java and C# rather than continuing their Smalltalk legacy…

    • Oluseyi

      Programming language is irrelevant. C# is even easier and friendlier than Java; where’s Windows Phone in this conversation? Android already has some great hardware, but as it’s a multi-vendor environment no one phone will see the kind of dominance that addresses ecosystem-wide problems. The Galaxy S III came closest.

      • Guest

        What do you mean irrelevant. Who will create those fancy stuff apps which the market are craving for? Its true C# is a nice language in fact I use WCF for my web services. The reason why Windows Phone is not in this conversation is again Windows cannot produce a good hardware that could compete with Apple. Not to mention the portability of C# unless you will use those crappy Xamarin products.

      • Barongkot Dangcagan Bukidnon

        What do you mean irrelevant. The large portion why this conversation occur is because of those stuff inside their Phone. Its true C# is a friendly language which is copied from Java. The reason why Windows Phone is not part of this conversation is again because of their hardware capability. The portability of C# is pain in the ass not unless you will use that crappy Mono or Xamarin products.

        • Oluseyi

          Windows Phone isn’t a non-factor because of hardware, it’s a non-factor because of horrifically botched execution on Microsoft’s (and Nokia’s, and BlackBerry’s) part. The hardware of a modern Windows Phone such as the recent Nokia Lumias is very nice, every bit on part with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5. The market, unfortunately, tends to only support two major options where switching costs are high—Wii and Xbox 360, with PS3 bringing up the rear; Android and iOS, with BB/WP/MeeGo/Symbian/Tizen/Bada fighting for the scraps.

          You prove my point: programming language is demonstrably irrelevant because Apple’s language of choice, Objective-C, is relatively archaic. I’m not talking about it’s lack of garbage collection, which is actually somewhat undesirable in a potentially highly performance-sensitive device such as today’s smartphones; I’m talking about its syntax, build process, tool chain. Header files are an artifact of single-pass compilation. Forward declaration (@class) is an anachronism. It finally got object and sequence/container literals, it still relies on an absurd degree of typecasting, and passing an object as id discards all compile-time type information.

          And yet Apple is #2 in marketshare and #1 in profitshare. Because the truth is that if your products and services are compelling enough to attract a critical mass of users, overcoming any potential switching costs, then you will get developers because they want to access that market.

          Microsoft squandered all of its natural advantages—better developer tools, better services—due to a lack of leadership. C# has got nothing to do with it.

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  • Pramod Dikshith

    Phenomenal post. I really think you hit the nail on the head by mentioning the impact of a fragmented and an integrated system. Yes, it can hurt Apple with Market Share globally but with support from Developers and New services in the form of apps I think they will hold on to the US market for quite sometime.

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  • Jay Beckwith

    Having read all the posts I feel that most contributors are still looking backwards. The real future that consumers will want to be able to access in the most efficient way is IoE and that means Bluetooth Smart. This is especially true when the BLE nodes no longer require batteries. This is what will kill NFC. Both Apple and Google have made plays to address IoE but neither seems compelling. I also think that IoE will be extremely disruptive to the whole “fragmentation” issue as the whole issue of connectivity moves from the device to the environment.

  • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

    This is a great and insightful article; I see why it has touched a nerve among the Android-is-winning crowd.

    I agree that:

    * fragmentation will continue to hurt Android more over time
    * Apple has essentially killed NFC by using Bluetooth, which one of the few checklist items Android users could point to
    * a low-cost iPhone 5C will change things dramatically for price-sensitive consumers, especially in countries where even a subsidized iPhone 5 is a non-starter.

    I’ll add that Apple will release a bunch of new products by the end of this year and in 2014 which will likely change the narrative that Apple can no longer innovate or this is Mac vs. Windows all over again. It’s not; that should be quite clear already.

    I can’t emphasize enough that when iOS 7 is released, in less than a month, more devices will be using it than the most popular Android release, 2.x.

    95% of the over 600 million iOS devices are running iOS 6; it’ll be something similar for iOS 7 6-9 months from now.

    As coach Belichick says, “it is what it is”.

    • Tatil_S

      I doubt a low cost iPhone 5C, will change things *dramatically* for price sensitive consumers, as I don’t think it will be all that low-priced. If Apple really wanted to hit a low price point, it could have sold iP4 at below $400 without subsidies. I just don’t see 5C costing much less than iP4. Considering its innards are rumored to be more like 4S, if not 5, why should it start selling 5C way below iP4 prices?

      • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

        It remains to be seen what the price is going to be, but think about it: If the price of the 5C isn’t going to be all that different from the 4S, what’s the point of making it in the first place?

        Apple knows for the 5C to be a real option for price sensitive customers, it has be significantly less expensive than an unsubsidized iPhone 4 or 4S.

        • Tatil_S

          Colors? Lightning port? Standardizing every iPhone screen on sale to 4”? Visual differentiation between high and low end? China 3G support?

          BOM of a typical phone (variable cost) is fairly easy to calculate, regardless of how well all those pieces are integrated together (fixed cost). Unless 5C is designed on purpose to be not-so-smart similar to how Shuffle and Nano is designed to be less than an iPod Touch without making them feel sub-standard, the costs cannot go down all that much.

          • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

            This is a pretty good sumary about the iPhone 5C—”The iPhone 5C Isn’t For The US; It’s The iPhone For The Rest Of The World”: http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/20/the-iphone-5c-isnt-for-the-us-its-the-iphone-for-the-rest-of-the-world/

          • Nitin Singh

            Then in that case 5C is doomed for low sales as customers in other parts of the world already have better choices (smarter fully featured and really capable Android phones) at the same low cost price as 5C. Only ‘the oblivious’ will buy 5C.. And in this age of information, customers are not so retarded that they will fall for 5C just because its an Apple phone.

    • Anders CT

      Well, being a developer in Europe, that’s certainly not the view from here. They way we see it, our userbase in roughly fragmented into four categories: Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread and iOS. iOS is rapidly becoming the smallest fragment, and by far the fragment that takes most work to support, as the three other parts are essentially closely related subsets of one another.

      So fragmentation definately affects the cost of iOS development, and in fact more so than Android development. And technologies like iBeacon will probably not get a lot of traction, because of the low market penetration of iPhones. Conversely NFC roll-out has been very rapid in retail, becuase NFC is what people have on their phones. And without NFC the iPhone 5C will have a tough time here even as a budget device.

      I realise that in the US things are probably different, because consumers actually buy a significant amount of iPhones.

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  • Andrew

    NFC is dead? Wow, you should tell Isis as they’re rolling out nationally in the US, the other hundreds of NFC projects around the world and lastly the 500m NFC device owners.

    There’s over 1m POS terminals that cater for NFC payment today in the US and every day new smartphones roll out on the market which include NFC further creating a massive install base of users, greater than Apple could ever achieve.

    People forget that Apple has 10-15% smartphone share worldwide so let’s not get too caught up in the reality distortion field that is created by the many Apple fans out there.

    If you’re debating about NFC being dead then you’re already too late because it’s here.

    • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

      Every year going back 10 years has been the year that NFC was going to take off.

      It’s less about installed base of iOS devices, although there are over 600 million iOS devices out there. What Apple is great at is taking geeky technology and turning it into features that regular people can actually use. And create APIs that developers can turn into compelling products.

      It doesn’t matter if NFC is installed on lots of non-iOS devices; if there’s not a critical mass of users and an eco-system of apps, providers, vendors, etc. to keep it going, nothing changes. And Apple wins.

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  • mike

    interesting. but in my opinion will be opposite. apple is fancy, trendy. is cool to have one and show off but apple is very poor compare to android. apple users are at the mercy of apple company. which charge them with everything. developing for apple is very easy cos they have just few devices. android is universal you can use almost any device to operate. android support is much bigger than apple. apple dominated usa but europe still choosing android. seams to europe is more resistant to steve jobs tyranny. next thing is prize, i dont think apple will lover price of their devices on another hand there are thousands products using android os. maybe im not neutral (prefer to develop android apps then ios) but i dont see any black clouds over android os.

    • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis
    • http://www.laugh-eat.com/ mdelvecchio

      youre living a lie — normal everday people dont get iOS devices because they are “trendy”. they get them because they are easy to use and work well, both of which hold value.

      steve jobs is dead.

      as an android user you are at the exact same mercy of your device maker — they choose which version of android to use and which to update, which limit your featureset. the majority of android users are on outdated versions/

      • Adi

        I totally agree with you. I’ve seen many android uses complaining about not receiving updates. Only a geek can actually hack into his android phone and update it. Rest of non-geek users are stuck with that OS.

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  • dang1

    Most see choices, while some see fragmentation. I prefer an Android to that suits me, rather than a too tiny of a screen iPhone

  • Andrew

    Albert, what source are you using to state there are 600m iOS devices in the world? I believe you have fallen under the spell of the “Apple reality distortion field”.

    To my knowledge the NFC install base (350-400m) is already larger than the entire iOS install base (180-200m) so whilst it would be fantastic for Apple to include NFC they only account for 15-20% of smartphones globally vs the other 80% belonging to handset makers pushing NFC so I have no doubt this will surprise you.

    Regarding services, totally agree. Isis is being rolled out in the US nationally after a successful pilot earlier this year. With the install base of NFC devices growing rapidly every day expect other payment and non payment using NFC to increase.

    • Space Gorilla

      Well, it’s fairly easy to figure out the iOS device numbers if you can add. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that a three year old iOS device is still in use, so iPhone plus iPad sales for 2011, 2012, and conservative projections to the end of 2013 are about 550 million. And that doesn’t include the iPod Touch, there’s a lot of those, I just didn’t bother to dig up sales numbers. If you go back to add in 2010 sales you’re well over 600 million. And it’s likely that the last three months of 2013 is going to be huge iOS device sales, much higher than conservative estimates. So yeah, there’s no reality where the entire iOS install base is 180 to 200 million. Someone has been feeding you bad data. 2012 sales alone were 183 million, and 2013 sales alone will be well over 200 million.

      • Andrew

        Oh. You were adding in iPad. Probably better to just talk iPhone only rather than including tablets, etc as the majority of NFC services will be smartphone orientated. Re Apple having a huge last qtr, they probably will but Samsung is selling 3-1 against Apple and Samsung global market share is almost double Apple. Phones in use from 2010 seems like a stretch as well. Just because Apple isn’t including NFC doesn’t mean the death of the tech. The majority of the world handset makers are including it so Apple can choose whatever they wish but the majority of phones on the planet will not be Apple (80%).

        • Space Gorilla

          Well, you did say “entire iOS install base”. I also included only 2011 and newer sales. Even just iPhones from 2011 to now is easily 350 million. There’s no way you are even close to correct, no matter how you try to slice the numbers and backpeddle on your statement that the iOS install base is 180 to 200 million. You should simply thank me for the correction and move on.

          • Andrew

            NFC install base is larger than iPhone install base, that should paint a pretty straight forward picture of how Apple fit into the entire jigsaw puzzle ie they will have a minor share vs. all other handset makers including NFC which will support services like Isis, etc.

            It probably won’t make much sense for you until it happens so there’s no point other than let’s revisit this in 6 months and determine if you have the same opinion.

            In the meantime people will continue to switch from Apple because it is now viewed as a device that is behind others in market (S4, One X, Lumia, Note II, etc).

            It will also be hilarious to watch people using Isis and similar services with ease then iPhone users wondering why they can’t do it…..

          • Space Gorilla

            Once again you’re sharing incorrect data. Users are not switching away from the iPhone. Apple continues to sell more and more, every year. Apple also does very well with people buying their second smartphone, better than any other vendor, Samsung is in second place. Actual sales data (as well as customer retention and satisfaction) tells a different story than the one you’re trying to tell, or maybe it is better to characterize it as the story you wish were true (cognitive dissonance).

            Perhaps the mistake you’re making is assuming that because other vendors are increasing sales, this must mean a decrease in iPhone sales. That is simply not true. The mobile market is growing so fast and is so large that most ‘competition’ right now is with non-consumption. The market is also segmented. In the segment where Apple operates it doesn’t actually have that much competition.

            It still confuses me why so many people twist facts and data in order to present an ‘Apple is doomed’ story. The anti-Apple argument is essentially “No matter how much Apple succeeds, Apple is not succeeding.” It’s quite odd.

          • Andrew

            By you trying to argue that Apple is the largest selling smartphone maker is really concerning for the fact that it seems you actually believe it.

            Look at any sales data from any reputable source and Apple is nowhere near Samsung, look at the global shares, if you look at last 12 months you will see Samsung is surging ahead of Apple.

            Look at these figure from Gartner (you’ll probably dismiss as not a reputable source), http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/08/14/smartphones-outsell-feature-phones-for-first-time-while-apples-iphone-loses-market-share—gartner

            I’m looking forward to how you use the reality distortion field technique on these stats.

            Also, I never once indicated in my comments that Apple was doomed nor would I (even though their market cap is about 50% down in the last 12 months), I was just trying to paint a picture of reality vs. the distortion field that Apple fans try to create which in most cases is flavored with delusions of grandeur.

            You’re looking at the world within a bubble, the majority of smartphone users out there aren’t iPhone, like i’ve said previously, the majority (80%) are non iPhone users so try and balance your view by thinking that iPhone users are the be-all and end-all.

          • Space Gorilla

            I never suggested Apple was the “largest selling smartphone maker”. What I said was that iOS device sales continue to increase. That is a fact, it cannot be disputed (if you can add).

            The reality is that Apple is doing very well, and there’s no data to suggest that won’t continue. Android is also doing very well. I really shouldn’t have to explain how both Apple and Android can win in the mobile market.

            Don’t buy a membership in the Church of Market Share, that only leads to poor analysis and flawed logic. One of the articles of faith in the Church of Market Share is that all customers are equally valuable. But of course that is pure nonsense, ask anyone who operates a business.

          • Andrew

            Once again, I never actually indicated Apple wasn’t doing well so not sure why you’re hung up on that. I guess its a defensive reflex but it’s good to see you’ve now adjusted to acknowledge other players other than Apple can “win”, whatever “win” means.

            The point you failed to understand was never about Android vs. Apple as NFC exist on devices other than Android, the point I was making that you seem to have missed is that Apple is not going to kill NFC if they don’t include it in the next model due for release on September 10. Hopefully your “logic’ now understands this.

            Regarding market share membership, I’m only interested in devices using NFC and agree with you that customer value differs but you still need a significant install base which NFC has that grows by the hundreds of thousands every single day.

          • Space Gorilla

            You did actually indicate that Apple was doing poorly when you suggested an iOS install base of 180 to 200 million, which is ridiculous and incorrect.

            I have not adjusted my view, at all. If you read other comments I’ve made you’ll see I’ve always said both Apple and Android can do very well at the same time. That is a simple, obvious truth. You must be quite young, you’re focused on ‘winning’ an argument. Try to focus on objective truth instead.

            Who said Apple was going to kill NFC? It is going to die on its own as other solutions become more popular. You’re making another incorrect assumption that 100 percent (or some very large percentage) of users with NFC Android devices will actually use that feature. Engagement data tells us very clearly this cannot be the case. In order to popularize a technology your users have to *use* it.

            Gartner’s estimate is that only two percent of mobile payments in 2013 will be done via NFC. The reality is that NFC just isn’t taking off with consumers.

            But I digress, this entire discussion started with a simple correction of your 180 million to 200 million iOS install base number. I think we can agree you were way off there. Nuff said.

          • http://backtype.com/alwillis Albert Willis

            In the meantime people will continue to switch from Apple because it is now viewed as a device that is behind others in market (S4, One X, Lumia, Note II, etc).

            Actually, users are switching to Apple, not away from Apple—Study finds 20% of Apple iPhone users switched away from Android in past year

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  • Mark Thomson

    Very interesting points. Thanks :)

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  • mdelvecchio

    I’m pretty sure the plural of OS is spelled OSes, not OS’s. it’s not possessive.

    • http://stevecheney.com/ steve cheney

      Thanks. It looks weird both ways but I hate grammar issues, will look into it.

      • mdelvecchio

        no problem. i recently read The Oatmeal’s article on apostrophes so it’s fresh in my mind.

        http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apostrophe

        • http://stevecheney.com/ steve cheney

          haha nice

  • Donald Michael Kraig

    Your post assumes that Google will continue developing Android. Considering they make nothing directly from it and have clearly slowed development, it appears they are beginning to shift to supporting the Chrome OS over Android. No, Android won’t disappear overnight, but without profits from it Google has no reason to develop it when they do make direct profits from Chrome.

  • npcomplete

    Why are you differentiating between Android and “Linux”?

    Android is a Linux distribution. It is another distribution just like other distributions used in embedded devices in your footnote [1]

    “Everything from all of your home wireless routers to the Nest thermostat to the Makerbot 3D printer to the Canary automated home security device run embedded Linux. In the future these designs are up for grabs for Android.”

    Differentiating Android from Linux collectively makes no sense, if you do not differentiate between the different embedded Linux distributions, since Android itself is another embedded Linux distribution.

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  • SockRolid

    re: “Meanwhile, Apple will continue to print profits with vertically integrated non-mobile devices (e.g. iTV, iWatch)”

    Not sure why iWatch is considered non-mobile. Is that because it will (supposedly) be an iPhone peripheral instead of a standalone connected device?

    • Adi

      Samsung released its smart watch and it works only with samsung galaxy phones. Every company target is to support their own devices. smartwatches released by mobiles companies doesn’t want to support other company products.

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  • Andrew

    Don’t get so defensive there Space Gorilla (how fitting you have a name like that). The 200m number I used was referring to active iphone users not including ipad so I don’t think I’m far off there. If you have data that suggests otherwise please share.

    Regarding your comments regarding NFC, you fail to acknowledge or understand what is going on around you. NFC isn’t a case of coming, it’s already here. You think a multi billion dollar deployment like Isis is just for fun? Next year there will be min 500m users with NFC and expect services that support NFC to increase exponentially (we are starting to see Developers use NFC with apps). You think Mastercard, Visa, banks, handset makers, POS terminal makers, telcos etc have spent billions globally just for fun on NFC?

    Your comment about users having to use it is extremely stupid even for a baboon and I’m sure you know that, it makes me think that you were a hater back when the web first started because nobody used it but everyone had a computer.

    Take a deep breath my buffoon friend, haters gonna hate on NFC until it’s everywhere. That’s the only way an animal like you will change your mind and even then you’ll say you saw it all along.

    Should be feeding time for you now so enjoy your meal.

    • Patsplacepp

      @disqus_PAhk7KUydJ:disqus @spacegorilla:disqus

      “ISIS, a partnership between American Express and the largest telecom operators in the US (AT&T, Verizon, and T-mobile), is only available in some parts of Austin, TX, and Salt Lake City, UT;

      Samsung Wallet, a partnership between Samsung and Visa, was announced at the World Mobile Congress but did not ship on the company’s latest flagship;

      Mastercard’s own Masterpass service does not provide any payment capability via NFC, while their own credit cards spotting the PayPass logo already do.

      So the challenge is that many actors are trying to position themselves in the field, but, in the process are landing on each other’s feet.”

      And this is why even if NFC is Everywhere, its not going to be for Everyone and we are just talking about the US. Multi-billion dollar rollout or not, this is a blip for majors. If it works great if it doesn’t strip with a chip is still an ok fall back.

      As for who’s winning because thats what this all comes down to right? This was a great article about the numbers by Harry McCracken ~ http://techland.time.com/2013/04/16/ios-vs-android/

      My ultimate hope is that regardless the operating, either my wife (android phone) or myself (iPhone) can pay for the next movie we go to. (come on Android!)

    • Patsplacepp

      by the way great back and forth without name calling. Sent the discussion thread to a few friends to show the “Normal” way of arguing your points. Cheers @disqus_PAhk7KUydJ:disqus @spacegorilla:disqus

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  • SplitPeaSoup

    Go Jackets!

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  • Alexander SB

    Holy smokes…I just coughed out my evening cereal at such goodness and shared it far and wide.

  • sudodroid

    Spot on. Well done! Can’t agree more.

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  • AED

    A common misconception among people who don’t really understand what Linux is – one that I’m seeing pop up more and more now that people are trying to paint Android in a negative light – i.e., as competition to not just iOS, but also the noble and open source Linux.

    Repeat after me: Android is just as much ‘Linux’ as Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, or anything else that uses the Linux kernel. Technically, a better term would be ‘Linux distribution’, since Linux in and of itself is just a kernel. Wikipedia defines ‘Linux distribution’ quite well:

    A Linux distribution (often called distro for short) is a member of the family of Unix-like operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel. Such distributions are operating systems including a large collection of software applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, media players, and database applications. These operating systems consist of the Linux kernel and, usually, a set of libraries and utilities from the GNU Project, with graphics support from the X Window System. Distributions optimized for size may not contain X and tend to use more compact alternatives to the GNU utilities, such as BusyBox, uClibc, or dietlibc.

    Android is a Linux distribution, and is an addition to the Linux ecosystem – not a challenger. Painting it as such is just a sign of ignorance.

  • Rudolph Pienaar

    “To date Linux has been the dominant OS but Android is now taking some embedded designs which would have run Linux”

    Sorry, Steve, but to me a statement like this belies a certain fundamental ignorance on the concept of “Linux” vis-a-vis “Android”. From a certain perspective, “Android” is as much “Linux” as “Ubuntu” is “Linux”. Indeed, even more so — in embedded systems, once you strip out X11 and most of the userland and are left with basically the kernel and supporting libraries, the “Android-is-taking-from-Linux” argument becomes even more meaningless.

    In fact, as Android is thrown on more traditional x86 hardware, and on larger screens where some windowing system is needed, it will be harder and harder to argue that Android isn’t Linux, and make more sense to argue that Android is simply “Google-Linux”.

    • Chaios

      Haha all you isheep are getting screwed if you buy an iPhone 5c, same hardware as the iPhone 5, BUT it’s made of plastic, so it is much cheaper to make then the iPhone 5. AND APPLE DISCONTINUED THE IPHONE 5. Why you may ask? Because the iPhone 5c is cheaper to make and is crappier, therefore bigger Profit margins for apple. And the iPhone 5c is the same price as the iPhone 5 is now… Get my point? Apple is a schemeing company that isnt inovating at all and hasn’t ever invented anything, just stole products from different companies. And then sued them for copyright infringement. -the proud owner of and HTC one.

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  • http://alert-up-usa.com/ Patriot Constitutionalist

    thank you for a great decomposition of the issues. hmmm… still up for grabs, looks like.

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  • pllopis

    Awesome post, congrats!
    I think iOS fragmentation is missing in your picture, and it’s as significant as Android’s fragmentation.
    In Android, the issue (burden, really) is shifted to the programmer, who has to trade-off between development cost and supporting more Android versions.
    In iOS, things are smoother but fragmentation can’t be ignored either. Only the latest devices get access to all APIs and OS features. Siri and Airdrop are only a few examples (maybe the most significant), but there are many, like text-to-speech, etc

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  • http://www.twitter.com/ricankng787 Hector Marquez

    Great read. Thanks for taking the time to pull together some information regarding this topic and discussing it!

    I will say this, Android fragmentation is nowhere near as bad to develop for as people claim. I won’t go into specifics but imagine if web developers were deterred due to the endless configurations of OS, screen size, CPUs, and internet connectivity. (Semi-related Note: check out the new strategy Google is using to update their apps across ALL Google Play devices, not just 4.x+)

    All in all, I don’t think you gave Android a fair shake. With that said, I really do think you did a great job regarding the future of iOS.

    I’m very excited to see what comes in the next few months and years to come!

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  • Thomas George

    Hi Steve, Great article. I wanted to know of what the future holds with regards to form factor. I mean, are we going to be holding a device to communicate?; Will the actual democrats of the world (Google and Apple) evolve the use of communication devices? Can we assume – the world will always want to touch and feel a device, more than wanting to just structure an input and output device within our body that will be perpetually connected to an external unit?

    I see the future set where no one would have to lift and hold a communicator to their ears and mouth.

    Thoughts?

    Thomas

  • bscherlund

    Awesome read – thank you

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