Aug 20 AT 11:20 AM Dustin Earley 51 Comments

The life of a smartphone manufacturer is not an easy one. In order to be successful, you need a laundry list of elements to fall in place at just the right times. You don’t just need a familiar name or killer hardware anymore. Manufacturers and developers should be able to create an entire ecosystem surrounding their product. This is something Google and Apple have done very well. And something Palm, HP, RIM, Nokia and even Microsoft have failed, or are failing, to do.

webOS is dead

You can argue the semantics of that header all you want, but in the end it’s true. HP has announced that they are abandoning the production of webOS devices. They say they aren’t killing the OS, but since no one else makes webOS devices, well they are killing the OS. Sure, HP can try to license webOS. At this point though, it just doesn’t matter. There is very little developer support and no ecosystem surrounding the platform. And with Android at the throne of licensed mobile OSes, why would someone pay to use an operating system with no ecosystem? There is no webOS email. No gigantic app store. Developer support is weak. And fragmentation? There are currently eight different versions of webOS on different devices.

Best case scenario? Google buys up some webOS developers and milks them for their talent in design. And no one tried to crash the funeral.

Nokia is dead

Fortunately for webOS, the platform seems to be on a swift ride to the sweet beyond. While we don’t know exactly how it will play out, it’s safe to assume it will just fizzle out sooner than later. Nokia on the other hand, is being slowly lowered into the grave, smiling and waving the entire time. The public statements made out of Espoo would lead you to believe that the folks at Nokia are delusional. They are on the path of destruction. They are killing off their software departments, and slowly becoming nothing more than a licensed OS using hardware company. It’s not like that is all bad necessarily, but Microsoft isn’t doing so hot these days.

No matter how you try to spin Microsoft’s success or failure with WP7 so far, Nokia as we knew it is dead.

Best case scenario? Nokia becomes the most popular manufacturer of Windows phones.

RIM is dying

The story of RIM has been painful to watch. While the company still has a strong grip on a lot of developing markets, it may not stay that way for long. As the numbers have shown in recent quarters, RIM is losing market share. And fast. But RIM has such a loyal user-base. They have a decent ecosystem. They’re working on fostering healthy developer support. Is it all just too little too late?

When RIM announced they’d be using QNX in the future, fanboys trumpeted the return of the relevant BlackBerry. If the PlayBook is any indication of how a smartphone release will play out though, you can kiss RIM goodbye. They need to shake the old business stigmas attached to their name, and beef it up in the innovation department. I’d still keep an eye on the company for the time being, but another round of phones that prompt review titles like “old-school design minus old-school lag,” and it’s game over. RIM simply cannot continue to rely on faithful customers to run an entire business.

Best case scenario? RIM gets their ducks in a row and really takes things up a notch, attracting developers and consumers to give the new BlackBerry another chance.

Microsoft is in trouble

Microsoft has never had much luck in the mobile OS department. When it comes to desktop operating systems, Windows is still king. Windows Phone however, hasn’t been that lucky.

For the most part, I believe Windows Phone just hasn’t taken off yet. Microsoft has all the elements of success on their side, they just don’t have the word Android or Apple in their product names. It’s still possible that Microsoft will rally the troops and manage an incredibly successful comeback. They’re just well behind the competition right now. Microsoft is in trouble, but they certainly are not dead.

Best case scenario? Microsoft continues work on Windows Phone, and eventually takes a comfortable spot in the top three largest mobile operating systems.

Apple is doing great

As much as you may not want to read that, it’s true. Apple is doing great. While they may not be gaining as much market share as they used to, Apple is still in a comfortable place. And like it or not, the iPhone has defined the current smartphone model. Apple has incredible developer support, they keep a current stream of innovation being fed into their products and they have a media-centric ecosystem that expands across multiple devices.

For as far as the eye can see (which isn’t far in the ever-changing world of mobile OSes) Apple will be a top competitor in the mobile arena.

Best case scenario? Apple and Google continue to push each other to create quality products, a deeper ecosystem and a mobile landscape where the consumer is the only real winner.

Google is on top of their game

If you’re in the mobile operating system game right now, Google is who you want to be.

Google, along with hardware partners, is leading the pack in innovation, depth of ecosystem and developer support. Google is moving so fast, there is no real slowdown in sight. They take the top spot in mobile OS market share, and the numbers are still rapidly accelerating.

Google has operating systems on phones, PMPs, tablets, laptops, desktops, set-top boxes, TVs, watches and more. They have proved time and time again now that they know what they’re doing. All we have to do as consumers is sit back, and enjoy the wonderful ride.

Best case scenario? Google continues on as the leader in technology they’ve become today.

Wrap up

As I said at the beginning of this 1,000 word article, the life of a smartphone manufacturer is not an easy one. In order to be successful, you need a laundry list of elements to fall in place at just the right times. There’s a reason why we choose to use Android devices here at Android and Me, and the reason is rather simple. Google provides the top overall experience in smartphones today. They’re one of the few companies in the world who have enough talent and skills to push the limits of how we use technology everyday. Fortunately for us, that isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • http://praeivis.lt praeivis

    Are you completly idiots? Google doing well? Soon Android going to get banned in US and EU and only 2 companies who bother get patent backup will continue – Apple and Microsoft. Rest will gone soon within year or so. So next your phoen will be Apple iPhone or Nokia with WM7 :D

    • GRAW

      How do you “ban” a mobile OS?

      • jbrandonf

        Injunctions.

    • Garrett

      That’s some half-cocked information right there. No where has it said Android will be banned in the US and EU. The galaxy series has had many issues in the EU, with the worst being the Tab getting an injunction, that was later revoked with the exception of Germany because the court didn’t have the authority to place the injunction to begin with. Now it’s coming out that the court documents Apple has submitted contain images which have been manipulated in order to make their case.

      What your saying is the equivalent of taking a global warming headline and using it to state that all life on Earth will be extinct in 25 years.

      • Garar

        the one time I’m not logged in to take advantage of my +1′s

    • Jonathan

      Only samsung going to get banned. And because their software is crap Ilike that

      • ben traves

        Why are there so many iFanboys on an ANDROID website, are they really that insecure they have to go hate

    • aj

      Wow you better check yourself before you go calling others idiots. Obviously you dont read or listen to anything. You might have read the heading and thats it.

    • http://sean-the-electrofreak.blogspot.com/ Sean the Electrofreak

      praeivis, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Jasonhunterx

      Do you live under a rock Google not getting banned anywhere apple was found to be lie about information an make up incriminating evidence an in the US the court system is smart they cant pull that over here an they have gotten patents they just bought Motorola who has patents out of there ass also Microsoft is doing horrible they wont even release sales information because its so bad an apple they hold there own…..by suing

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002275344855 luiek20

      lrn 2 egrish fist bfour typin up sich nunsents! Google will protect android! android isnt going anywhere for a LOOOOOOOONG time buddy get used to it.

    • ihatefanboys

      um, i think you must have just crawled out from under a rock, or took a brief respit from jacking your little dick….check the news since monday dude. Google bought motorolla mobility and their 17000+ patents with 7800 pending, they hold all the patents, in fact also this week HTC sued apple over 3 patents and wants apple products banned in the US….. the apple case against samsung where they briefly had the samsung galaxy tab 10.1 banned changed when the german courts lifted the ban because it was proven that apple LIED about both the tab and the galaxy s mimicking apple products so the whole case is about to be thrown out. Because of the motorolla purchase both nokia and wp7 are on the verge of death, and apple is so irrelevant these days that most of IOS 5 looks like android anyways, so who’s winning??

    • Hacknet07

      You are such an idiot. Where did you obtain this information from? Sesame Street?

  • Interpol91

    Great article! Google and Apple are the top dogs and though I may not like Apple, that competition between the two has lead to the great Android phones we love today.

    • Futureboy

      Agreed, and hats off to the Android devs who put in the time to create some quality apps. It must be more challenging to create an app for many different android phones and tablets vs. one iphone and one ipad. I think I can speak for many people when I say “thank you” for your hard work and dedication to the android platform!

  • af

    first

  • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

    i like this article.

    i like that we didnt have too much fanboy-ness with it.

    apple are doing well we cant ignore them however much we hate them.

    i hope that webOS designers do come to google. it would be nice for our beloved OS to actually look nice.

    p.s, praeivis is an idiot of course it wont be banned. google is too big to allow that to happen.

  • GRAW

    Extremely well writen and rounded article. I hope all of those future predictions for those companies come true. Except for Apple’s. Nobody likes Apple.

    • Rosjer

      As Apple holds second place atm in the market of mobile OS devices saying “nobody likes Apple” is a bit far out and so wrong.
      What I have always liked about most Android users is that they are not as cocky as Apple users, and recognize competition for what it is.

  • DroidSamurai

    You know, the TouchPad 16GB was gone in one night after HP discounted it to $99. What this means is that there is indeed a market for an alternative tablet. But that also means whoever makes one must be willing to eat their pride and sell it at a loss to capture market share. Looking back at what HP had been saying about TouchPad, it’s not hard to feel that they thought they had a killer product (otherwise, they wouldn’t buy Palm in the first place.) But in this world, if you are catching up to the market leader, just having a great product is NOT enough (and the TouchPad is a far cry from a great product.)

  • SliestDragon

    Really well written article. You were fair with all the mobile OS’s you mentioned. No bad talking of them, just stating the facts.

    Sad to see some mobile OS’s spiraling down. Even though I don’t care for many of them personally, the less competition there is, the less innovation there is. Yeah, Apple and Google have enough competition to share with everyone else, but I really would like more contenders at the top of this battle, pushing the best out of all the other companies…

    • ooTweetyoo

      I’m in total agreement with your comment. As much as I want to see Apple fail, competition fosters innovation

  • Rosjer

    Really liked this article. As a hugh fan of Android it is important to not forget who our competitors are. Apple is well oiled machinery with alot of money and fans, and as newly showed in media do not stand back to use dirty tricks when threatened.
    This is what i have always loved with google so far, they have played a clean game compared to their competition.

  • vyprnoch

    Its true nokia won’t survive the game but they still have chances. In my country people still use nokia phones and don’t even know my phone(milestone) exists!!! They have a chance to excel in countries like this but winmo7 devices launched in my country were a great fail but believe me people here blindly follow nokia irrespective of what they use in their phones.

    • tariq

      Hi, I was one of those people who swore by nokia but unfotunatley the n96 really sealed the case for them, it seamed they just stopped innovation. When the iphone came out the response from nokia should have been a phone comparable to it but they just kept on making the same old phone with the outdated simbion os. Compared to android they are still in the stone age and the best they can come up with is clamber onto the sinking windows 7 os. If they had gone towards android they would have saved their lives but instead out of the pan and into the fire

  • digity

    WHOA! Lay off the sizzurp, Dustin! Google is not doing well. Patent and legal trouble, buying a HARDWARE company when they don’t know jack but software (and kinda suck at that already), intentionally infringing on Sun/Oracle’s JAVA with a F ‘em attitude, Honeycomb (enough said), failing to produce a REAL no. 2 profitable division/department to search… I can go on, but I think its clear you are a ways off with your claims to Google’s good status.

    • Vance

      ^ Fail
      Talk about drinking the koolaid, digity, are you sure you yourself weren’t delivered in pretty white packaging wrapped in cellophane? You site Google’s patent troubles then mock their acquisition of a Hardware company. Ahem: acquisition of said hardware company significantly reduces concerns of said patent issues – so do your homework before so boldly stating that something completely devoid of fact is somehow “clear” or obvious.
      PS – my iPad touting co-workers drool over my delicious Honeycomb-boasting ASUS Transformer.

      • digity

        Sorry to disappoint you Vance, but I’m a fellow Android guy – I don’t F with the white stuff and I don’t inhale Google’s fumes. In other words I’m sober, clean and never under the influence.

        It is pretty clear and obvious. Acquisition of Motorola MIGHT, IN THEORY, significantly reduce concerns of said patent issues. This is only speculation. Given Google’s poor handling of the JAVA thing and it’s questionable purchase there just can’t be much confidence in Google’s handling of patent issues.

        What about the other valid issues mentioned? No comment?… I’d wait until your hangover is gone before you respond.

        • ihatefanboys

          just so its clear, im sober. its so rediculous for you to even say that Google is in trouble that i have to wonder whether youre just attention starved. Acquiring the patents is not “speculation” , theyre bought. Also acquiring motorolla was a clear plan, google will use the hardware of motorolla to improve all of googles phones and google tv. if they cant use motorolla, they will keep the patents and sell the company. Speaking of “speculation” it was speculated that the “handling” of the JAVA situation was to drive up the cost and that they had no intention of purchasing them at that time, and that sometime in the future they will revisit it. So while it is speculation, its also an educated guess based on how well google is doing, that it will continue to do well in the future. Besides the JAVA thing, do you have any actual proof anywhere that google is in trouble ? maybe you should stop tooting your own horn long enough to let oxygen get to that lil brain of yours.

          • digity

            You’ve read wrong: I said its only speculation that the acquired patents will help. Until there’s evidence it does, its only speculation. In the meantime its trouble because the outcome is uncertain. That’s just logic.

            Like I said before Google is a software company with no experience with hardware. Traditionally that’s not a good situation, especially since Google does not have a profitable division/department besides sear… oh forget it! It doesn’t matter what is said here.

            Go turn on your night light and snuggle up with your Android doll.

  • http://youtube.com/user/jawckamoe Marcus

    Imo I don’t think RIM will die. I honestly think Microsoft will. Too many business people stick with RIM and probably like the phone.

    But good article! Google will remain the top dog

    • Guitargler

      I’d like to see Microsoft give up on mobile OSes and just make great, well-integrated apps. Preferably well-integrated Android apps. The only real draw to WP7 other than its simplicity is the potential for everything to be synced between your PC and your phone. Google doesn’t really have desktop-phone sync, and most people still use Microsoft Office over OpenOffice/LibreOffice/Google Docs, so if Microsoft just made a good app suite for various services, they could remain relevant.

  • BiGMERF

    I just got a 16gb and a 32gb, both for 210.. hey a good deal is a good deal. Period

    • digity

      Very good deal indeed. Especially since Windows 8 will and Android could run on it.

    • R.S

      I was able to snag three Tablets from Wal-Mart. I’m keeping the 32gb and giving away (as gifts) the two 16gb ones.

      So far (other than the square shape) I’m really liking the tablet. Now I wouldn’t have paid full price for it but for the discounted price, it is a great tablet! It’ll be even better if Android OS is eventually able to be used on it. If not, it’ll still be great to just surf the web on (which is pretty much the extend of what tablet owners do on theirs).

    • Vance

      I have a 16GB and a 32GB HP Touchpad… I’m raffling them off at some study clubs I’m hosting for customers of mine next month. The announcement has really boosted attendance, so, yah, totally worth it! :)
      Can you point me to any discussions on how to root and load Android on a Touchpad?

      • Hacknet07

        Root? LMAO

        You will probably need to get the Android OS on the device first before you can “root” anything.

        Second, you don’t seem like the type that can “root” the roots in your back yard, let alone an Android device. Leave it to the geeks.

  • w00x

    If Nokia start making Android devices, I’ll be all over that like a chubby kid on cake! I’m sick and tired of those plastic toys that are getting released.

  • Transient

    the iPad killed WebOS, not Android. HP could care less about smartphones, what they really wanted was a piece of the market that is set to bring down their consumer PC business. And Android is not even close to gaining noticeable marketshare in the tablet market.

    I personally see Windows 8 as being the most viable competitor to the iPad. The iPad for the time being is a secondary machine. Most people can’t just buy a tablet without a PC/Mac, doesn’t matter if it;s iOS or Android. Windows 8 will be the first OS that’ll actually be capable of being a “this and only this” tablet. I’m confident that the old netbook market will be replaced by $350-$500 next generation ATOM/ARM Windows 8 tablets.

    The way I see it in the next two years:

    Tablets: Windows 8 and iPad go head to head for 1/2, Android in a still their but way behind third.

    Smartphones: Android and iPhone simliar with maybe a decent lead by Android. Windows Phone is still their but way behind.

    • http://keridel.blogspot.com keridel

      i am a big android fan of course but think you might be right.

      If windows dont fuck up the win8 ux it will be thebest thing on tablets as it will replace the netbook. I hve a transformer now but will be buying a win8 tab as well.

      Android phones re top draw but my tablet is just a bit too limited imho.

    • ihatefanboys

      the G-Slate is still the best android tab out there. Beats any other tab out there right now

      • http://smartic.us bryanl

        How do you figure?

    • Sorin

      Microsoft’s cash-cows are the Windows OS and the Office suite. I think Microsoft will invest hugely in marketing to promote both so no matter how unsuccessful their OS will be in the mobile space they will keep paying in order to promote it, so Microsoft will always have a share in the OS space, even though it will be sustained by their cash rather than momentum. Little profit and some market share is better than no profit and declining market share.

  • CTown

    Jeez, insensitive aren’t you!

  • teecruz

    I Love that you guys use Lea Michele as the post image.
    I find her way ugly, & that commercial made me want to throw my remote at the TV.
    her voice. -.-

    anyway, pretty funny article!

    • ihatefanboys

      who was in the original commercial anyways ? i always laughed at the commercials because the only recognizable face was russell brand

  • Sorin

    We know the future is the web. Standalone platform-dependent apps are going to become obsolete and be replaced by HTML5 web apps written mainly in Javascript. This means app stores like Apple’s and Android Market become irrelevant and any web app can run on any OS and browser. If Microsoft was smart, they’d create an open source lite OS that is just a browser, same as Chrome OS and heavily promote web apps. Still IE is king so their market share measured in browser usage rather than OS usage would be biggest. As an addition to this lite OS, Microsoft could embed a second component that would allow to run the standalone apps (Windows apps). This second addition you’d have to buy a license in order to use it. So basically one operating system, lite, fast, open source that only runs HTML5 web content, and a module that is not free but runs the regular Windows app.

    • Rhymes and Dimes

      IE is positioning itself for this… native apps are fast, HTML5 apps not so much. IE leads the way with great HW acceleration of HTML5. Look at Windows 8 for a example, most apps will run using web tech.

  • Tran Lang

    Android is really King of mobile landscape.

  • ZRod

    Does anyone know if I should update to 3.0.2 68 on my touchpad? I just want opinions on if it may even have a sliver of a chance to prevent me from hacking Android onto this thing.
    My gut says no but it says nothing about “security” enhancements and its still Linux sooooo… =/