It seems from the most recent survey of smartphone operating system markets that they have settled down into a sort of steady state. Shortly after the introduction of the Android operating system, that powers such phones as the Samsung Galaxy S, the rise in the popularity of Android phones was so rapid that it swamped the smartphone market as a kind of marketing tsunami.
Certainly this popularity wave took it to the top of the OS pecking order and within a couple of years it had gained 37% of the market and had swamped, almost out of existence, Symbian, the once market leading OS. However, this acceleration in gaining market share has come to a halt and although it remains the market leader with 37% of the market, it does not seem to be gaining any more ground.
The other two market leaders in smartphone operating systems are Apple’s iOS, which powers the iPhone series, and the RIM operating system, which powers all of the Blackberry smartphones. Their market shares have also remained constant for several months; currently Apple enjoys a 26% market share and that of BlackBerry phones is 22%.
Microsoft Windows 7 Phone powered smartphones account for 10% of the market but it could be that the co-development by Microsoft and Nokia of a brand new operating system called Mango, which is likely to combine the best of the now outmoded Symbian OS and Windows Phone, could start making waves this autumn.
Mango will include a Skype app, and Microsoft is currently in the process of acquiring Skype. This should be a major selling factor for Mango OS phones, though industry experts have warned that if the new OS is to really make headway then Microsoft will need to undertake a comprehensive marketing exercise to convince potential users that Microsoft really can deliver an OS that is as user friendly as Android and Apple.
It is unlikely that that the Apple and Android markets will suffer too much from competition from Mango phones, but Blackberry is a little more vulnerable. Once buoyed up by a niche corporate market, their re-launch into the consumer sector has not quite achieved what they had hoped it might.
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