This June is going to be huge for mobile operating systems. Not only is Google hosting I/O, where they should be announcing several exciting things, but Microsoft will be announcing products and services at the Windows Phone Developer Summit, and Apple will be detailing iOS 6 at WWDC. I plan on going over some of the things I think we’ll see at I/O in another post, right now I want to talk about the competition.
Windows Phone could very well be on the verge of taking off. The Lumia 900 is reportedly selling well here in the States. Big name developers are finally gravitating towards Windows Phone. And the platform is about to receive a huge push from carriers like Verizon and AT&T. Knowing this, it’s still hard to tell what to expect from Microsoft at WPDS.
We know that Microsoft is going to try and lure developers at the conference. How? Showing off “Windows Phone 8,” as it’s rumored to be named, and giving away free devices to attendees are good bets. Boasting more carrier support might also be in the set list.
Back in late April, Reuters reported that Verizon was going to put some serious weight behind Windows Phone. Saying that the US’ largest carrier was working closely with Microsoft like they did with Google on the original Droid. For developers, this news is huge. Some of the original developers making apps for Android right before the Droid dropped are still the most popular apps today. If Microsoft were to announce nothing more than Verizon’s plans for just how seriously they’ll be supporting Windows Phone 8 devices, the Windows Phone Developer Summit would still be a success.
Even if Microsoft did announce something huge, like the Lumia 900 coming to more carriers in the US or Verizon as a launch partner for Windows Phone 8 this fall, these kind of events are rarely covered in-depth by anybody other than technology publications. So the general public is rarely immediately affected by the things announced. In other words, don’t expect Android’s market share to take a sky dive this June. I do, however, think the Windows Phone Developer Summit will be the next phase of Microsoft’s rise to relevancy.
As for Apple, no one knows anything. Even going by past years at the Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, we’re still just guessing. In the past, Apple has announced the next iPhone at WWDC. Last year they waited until the fall though, and just spent the conference discussing software changes. There’s good reason to believe that will be the case this year. But unlike Microsoft, the things Apple could announce may be immediately disruptive to Android and Google. Especially since Apple likes to announce a product, and get it out as soon as possible.
The two most popular rumors surrounding iOS 6, expected to be detailed at WWDC, include maps and social networking.
The social networking rumor is new this week, but carries a lot of weight. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple will be updating iCloud to include photo sharing. Allowing for comments, likes, etc. on iCloud will essentially turn Apple’s cloud based storage service into a full-blown social network. With the amount of people already using iCloud, they’d have a ton of users right off the bat. And more would undoubtedly want to join. I could see entire families switching to iOS just so everyone can use the photo sharing feature built right into iCloud. All it would take is one member of the family already using it and everyone else would be sucked right in (I’ve seen it happen with things as small as Facetime. True story.).
It’s hard to imagine the full scale of damage iCloud photo sharing could have on Android. There may be an exodus of people looking to get in on Apple’s exclusive social network, or it may do nothing at all. It’s certainly worth keeping an eye on though.
The other half of the two most popular iOS 6 rumors will be crazy huge for Google. But it might not be all bad.
Apple is expected to announce a new maps app in iOS 6. One that has nothing to do with Google. Yes, seriously. Even though Google Maps is largely regarded as the best thing since sliced bread when it comes to geography, Apple will be ditching the service and releasing their own competing service. The immediate thing this means for Google is that as soon as Apple throws the switch and their maps app hits iOS devices everywhere, Google will lose millions upon millions of users in a flash. The damage there will be instantaneous. But it could go even further.
Let’s say for a moment, that like the Mac Press would have you believe, iOS 6 maps is going to blow your mind. There’s supposed to be some awesome 3D technology implemented in the app, and it’s supposed to be super reliable. If the app is good enough, Apple may actually be able to lure in customers it. If it’s not amazing, then it works to Google’s advantage. Google will be able to lure in customers by boasting the leading name in mapping software, Google Maps. No matter what happens, Apple’s maps app will have an effect on Android. There’s no doubt about it.
Those are just some of the things I expect to see detailed at Microsoft and Apple’s developer conferences this June. Who knows what else could be detailed, and how they can affect Android. What kinds of things do you expect Microsoft and Apple to announce at their developer conferences this June? Any new services or products? Let us know in the comments below.