Open Source Architecture & the Accompanying Power of Customization Drives the Android Operating System Market, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

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GIA announces the release of a comprehensive global report on Android Operating System Platform markets. Global shipments of Android based Smartphones and Media Tablets are projected to reach 998.3 million units by the year 2018. The continuously growing number of mobile devices running on the Android Platform as a result of widespread adoption triggered by the inherent benefits of open source architecture of the platform and the accompanying power of customization is poised to drive growth in the upcoming years. The large community of Android based application developers worldwide is also expected to support growth in the Android marketplace.

Android Operating System Platform: A Global Strategic Business Report

Follow us on LinkedIn – Acquired and developed by Google as an open source and free OS platform for mobile devices, Android has become the leading OS platform for smartphones in a short span of time. The launch of the Linux-based Android platform in the year 2008 triggered an Android avalanche that changed the world of mobile computing and reshaped mobile communication, displacing the then standard OS in smartphone “Symbian”. A key reason fingered for the runaway success of Android is the platform’s inherent ability to support wider features and high performance at costs significantly lower in comparison to other proprietary OS platforms. The shorter evolutionary period for the Android platform, as characterized by the rapid improvements in performance features and capabilities achieved with each updated release of the platform is another prime reason attributed to the spectacular rise of the Android platform in a short span of time.

The Android platform is built to offer equal capabilities in supporting both third-party applications and the phone’s core applications. This thereby dissolves the barriers traditionally associated with developing new and innovative third party applications. In comparison, for other OS platforms this barrier remains high thereby restricting consumers’ ability to personalize their phone to their interests and limits their access to rich communication applications and services. Android’s open source architecture provides double edged flexibility benefits for both handset manufacturers and end-users.

For the consumers, key advantages include greater ability to personalize the phone, cloud sync & multi-tasking features, faster Android browser for a more satisfying internet browsing experience, ability to support multiple home screens (a feature unavailable in Symbian phones with the exception of phones running on updated Symbian 3 OS like Nokia C7, N8, and E7), widespread availability of a multitude of apps for the Android phone incomparable with any other OS based phone, ability to carry out platform upgrades, and ability to install on-screen keyboards like Swype with continuous finger motion for inputting text, among numerous others.

For handset manufacturers, the open software, open device, and open ecosystem of the Android allow successful design of mobile devices with a variety of form factors and chipset architectures that remain at the forefront of technology. The open architecture of the Android also provides the perfect platform for integration of advanced multimedia features and for building applications and other communication technology features and for delivering the best internet and mobile experience in mobile devices.

Interestingly, the very benefits of an open platform architecture that triggered Android’s impressive ascension to the top, is now evolving into a major weakness as the technology matures. Triggered by the ability to customize the Android platform and fuel infinite innovation, the emergence of a large number of custom and/or modified versions of the Android (known as ROMs) is currently threatening Google’s vision of universal interoperability of the Android. The openness of the Android platform which has helped spur the creation of numerous Android app developers and Android devices manufacturers is now evolving to be the behemoth’s Achilles Heel. The open source Android platform is now at the cusp of fracturing into numerous small Android ecosystems with each expected to fail and die out in the future, ever more so given Google’s loss of control over the platform and the virtual impossibility of the company to pragmatically display decisive leadership in terms of developing technology interfaces that can save the ecosystem.

Negative impact of extreme Android OS fragmentation include bottlenecks for app developers since the numerous OS variants require additional testing and developing costs while simultaneously reducing the developer’s ability to reach multiple clusters of end-users. In other words, the core advantage offered to app developers by the diversity of Android phones until now has been the large target market, which is now splintering as a result of Android OS fragmentation thus increasing hassles associated with interoperability. Thorny application use will also frustrate end-user experience. The scenario is giving Apple an edge in terms of app development with app developers favoring the iOS platform. Although Google’s Android undeniably outsells Apple in terms of number of devices sold, Apple nevertheless has an edge in terms of retaining the loyalty of major app developers.

In the tablet OS space, Apple continues to maintain its leadership despite the recent launch of competing alternatives like Google's Nexus 7 tablet, and Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet and Surface tablets. Of special importance, in terms of the potential threat carried, is Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet which is designed to as run both application for tables and applications for PCs, unlike iPad which can run only tablet apps. Google, on the other hand, has packed quite a punch in Nexus 7 in terms of features, performance and price. Quite unlike Apple’s belief, the 7-inch screen holds undeniable potential in the tablets markets. In fact, given the growing consumer preference for cheaper value added products in a cash strained economy, the future could very well belong to small tablets relinquishing iPad-sized tablets (with 10-inch screens) to the niche, atleast in the consumer market. Although competing alternatives in the tablets space in the future could trigger a fracture in the consumer decision making process, Apple with its early bird advantages currently dominates the market by virtue of the sheer volume of established and reputed optimally developed ecosystem of applications and content and high brand loyalty.

As stated by the new market research report on Android Operating System Platform, Asia-Pacific represents the most prominent regional market with annual sales of Android based Smartphones and Media Tablets waxing at a CAGR of 51.2% over the analysis period.

While Google remains the trademark owner of the Android platform, key Android OEM handset vendors in the marketplace include HTC Corporation, LG Electronics, Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., and Sony Mobile Communications AB, among others.

The research report titled “Android Operating System Platform: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive review of market trends, issues, drivers, company profiles, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The report provides market estimates and projections for Android based Smartphones and Media Tablets (in thousand units) for major geographic markets including the US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Rest of World. The report also analyzes the market by end-use application segments - Smartphones and Media Tablets.

For more details about this comprehensive market research report, please visit –

About Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
Global Industry Analysts, Inc., (GIA) is a leading publisher of off-the-shelf market research. Founded in 1987, the company currently employs over 800 people worldwide. Annually, GIA publishes more than 1300 full-scale research reports and analyzes 40,000+ market and technology trends while monitoring more than 126,000 Companies worldwide. Serving over 9500 clients in 27 countries, GIA is recognized today, as one of the world's largest and reputed market research firms.

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Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
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