May 15 AT 5:29 AM Dustin Earley 34 Comments

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.

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

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  • deckoff

    Well, Google has, the G drive, google + and picasa, for a long time now, so I dont see why people will have to leave to get something they already have…..

    • WickedToby741

      But when Apple releases things, they’re revolutionary and groundbreaking. Don’t you know, something doesn’t exist until Apple invents it.

      • Chevy1981

        When you compare the amount, and quality, of the marketing that Apple puts behind their products compared to other tech companies it really does appear that way to a lot of people. Even to people in the know. Google will ANNOUNCE G Drive, Picasa, etc. VS. Apple holding a HUGE keynote, roll out the red carpet, invite press for interviews / sneak peeks, and throws countless clever TV ads year around to help explain and promote iCloud. In comparison, I would argue, that it does APPEAR like they invented it first.

    • DroidSamurai

      The difference? When Google releases some new services, just a portion of the Android users would have immediately access to them. Take G drive, none of my friends using Android phones heard of it, NONE, ZERO. Granted, they didn’t even know they could their MP3 onto Google Play Music (they didn’t even know the name changes of Market). Of course, none of them are using Picasa, nor Google+. The list goes on and on. Oh, yeah, except for a few folks who listened to me and got a Galaxy Nexus, none of them could install Chrome (thus, they couldn’t sync their Chrome tabs across their desktops and phones.)

      Just because Google has something working for a long times mean nothing. Just read what Dustin wrote in this post:

      >> 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.).

      The immediate availability of any new Apple service is a huge deal. It can literally push something to its millions of users in days. Remember there weren’t iCloud. But 1 OS update and almost every iDevice has access to it. You couldn’t even resist not getting it if your OS is updated. Look back to the update process of Android and we can clearly see how it’s going to affect the Android ecosystem in the long term. Google just cannot influence the Android platform in the same manner.

      • Andros69


  • jamal adam

    June is gonna be a one heck of a month. Can’t wait for Google I/O!! Excited to see what they have in store for Android and everything else that is Google.

  • PGrGr

    The only threat is the Maps. Photo sharing on icloud? The problem with this is that it requires every family member to use the same ecosystem. I don’t think google would be the slightest bit worried about it. Using google+, family members can already share photos using a completely platform agnostic service.

    Most people will just continue to use FB anyway.

    • WickedToby741

      Look at how many Instagram users were upset when it spread to Android. Don’t think that crowd will jump all over an iOS photo service? People like to feel exclusive and in-the-loop. Despite the closed and restricted nature of services like this, it makes people feel like they’re in the cool crowd and everyone else is missing out. Don’t fool yourself, the iPhone is as much a status device as it is a communication device.

      • The Reverend T

        “Don’t fool yourself, the iPhone is as much a status device as it is a communication device.”

        Hits the nail on the head.

      • thetruth

        Yeah, because waving your Android phone around yelling out “OPEN” and “CHOICE” yet trying to belittle people who made a different choice (Apple) makes you a real stand up person…

        Get a grip. Shut the fuck up and let people enjoy what it is they want to enjoy.

        • kazahani

          Looks like somebody can’t handle a little social commentary.

          Calm down buddy, it’s just the internet.

  • Alexandros

    WP7 has bing maps and that didn’t lure people into buying WP7 phones.
    iCloud photo sharing not a big deal, in the way you put it. For the same reason Google+ is not doing as well as Facebook. People do not want to be bound to a device, they want to be able to switch from device to device, that be an iPhone an Android or a WP7 phone and still have all they data accessible.

    Anyway, as I see it Google most probable will announce the Glass as an Android accessory and that will make Android the next iPhone, taking into account the hype it will generate.

    • Pat

      I don’t think that its just about being bound to a device, Google+ is on just about every device (with the exception of WP I think) and its not performing as well as Facebook because the average Facebook user looks at Google+ and doesn’t see a huge difference between the two services and probably feels that all my friends are already here and I don’t see any of them here (Google+) so why leave.

      And in terms of the iCloud photo-sharing, people actually WANT the exclusivity of a Apple-only service. For example, all of my friends are using crappy old Blackberries because they are obsessed with BBM because only Blackberries have access to it and the person has to give you his or her PIN which creates miniature little exclusive networks of people inside of BBM. I don’t think being bound to a device is the problem.

  • Jay555

    Apple’s map software will likely be very gimmicky much like Siri and everything else that Apple does but it won’t matter to the average apple user, they’ll think its the most innovative thing they’ve ever seen. So no, it wont matter if its better than Google Maps (which it won’t be), people will flock to it and the iCloud just because its Apple.

  • masterpfa

    Currently with Google+, Facebook etc., for some there may not be the need to change to an Apple alternative. The Apple family no doubt will more than likely adapt others may choose to refuse and especially among the people I keep in touch with there is probably a 33% split between Apple, Android and Blackberry (although in my household it’s 75%, 25%, 25% in favour of Apple).

    Developments in Windows and Apple usually result in upping the bar for Android and the developers, but the biggest threat would be from the carriers as I imagine their efforts over the past few years of offering Android as a viable Smartphone option for the masses has helped with the market share currently held by Android, if this type of effort was repeated for Window phones who knows.

    The proposed (alleged) Verizon hook up for Nokia and or Windows 7/8 would only have bearing in a small sector of the worldwide market, the USA, where even there not everyone is able to make use of this network. But if the same is repeated world wide and by Orange, T-Mobile Europe for example the change in balance could be on the Horizon.

  • WickedToby741

    The photosharing thing is starting to sound like Ping for iCloud. Facebook should watch their back. Apple is slowly building a very strong and very loyal social ecosystem. Between Facetime, iMessage, iCloud, iTunes, and the tightly integrated iOS devices the services connect to, it’s becoming more and more possible to completely run your social life without the need of an independent social network like Facebook. You may argue that it will never work because it’s only restricted to iOS and Mac users, but I’d argue that a lot of people LIKE that aspect of it. Look at the reaction iOS users had to Instagram opening up to Android. It truly is like a cult or a exclusive club, and those who aren’t part of it aren’t “cool.” I think the restricted nature of it is a feature, not a defect.

    • cthonctic

      Honestly, if iOS users want a social network all to themselves, I say they are welcome to it while the rest of us stick to device-independent solutions. Hey, they could even name it “The Golden Cage”. ;)

  • SGB101

    i personally hope windows phone does well, competition is what we all need.

    not sure who will buy one, but i do wish it well.

  • Nathan D.

    All I know is that Google I/O is going to sweet =)mmmm jelly bean

  • Greybeard

    Let me get this straight……75%, 25%, 25%……is that supposed to equal 100%? lol

    • iChoose Google

      That is iMath for you :)

  • mharriz

    A crazy summer ahead.. really don’t care what windows has to offer because until they get essential apps at least the basic ones ..cough Pandora Instagram path..and more they will never be in contention with apple or android.. I’m more pumpeb for Google I/ will come strong too but there maps will never compete with Google.. where talking about Google maps here apple has no chance with that little thing there pushing.. just hope to see a refresh of their UI as when apple comes strong Google goes harder and innovates even faster which is good for us tech lovers

  • Dee

    Google shouldn’t be worried. Google has all the tools they need. They just have to leverage them. Gtalk is installed in every android phone and is really in need of a make over. Imagine if they actually gave it some useful functions that made it attractive to use. How many users would that be? Even if apple dumped gmaps, only the most loyal of fanboys will herald it. The more they try and cut google out, the more i believe google will pay attention to them. And not in a good way.

  • GeauxLSU

    How many people actually factor in the quality of a map app when buying a new phone? I know I would never.

    • professandobey

      Many people do. One of the biggest selling points for the OG Droid was a great built in turn-by-turn navigation service. iOS has yet to offer a good free alternative. This is perhaps the most effective way for iOS to play catch up with Android.

      • abusedtortoise

        its cute that you think iOS will have a free alternative… nothing is free on Apple, they will somehow and someway get something out of it from the users, its Apple, thats what they do, lawyer fees are getting crazy high due to all the endless patent battles.

        • Ezra Pound

          Yeah. I really hate how they make me pay for iMessage and iCloud and Safari and all the apps and services that were included free with my iPhone. Oh wait…

  • Joel

    Look, Windows is growing, but it still has a ways to go before a person walks into a store and walks past the next iPhone 5 or One X/ SGS3 – and as far as Apple is concerned – they normally make smart business/tech decisions, but this time around they have way less space to manuever for something different. NFC, Google +, Jellybean, the list goes on. Google has more than enough ammo for this firefight

    PS. I read an article on MSN yesterday that said that when you ask the question: “What is the best phone ever?” to iPhone’s Siri…it answers by saying it likes the Lumia 900 lol and prefers it in Cyan lol.

  • Dr.Carpy

    I think that Android biggest competition will be from Windows Phone. With the popularity of the Xbox 360, the burgeoning excitement for Windows 8, the obvious tie ins with Microsoft Office. Getting developers won’t be problematic in the sense that it really is now or never for WP platform. It will all come down to what developers will make, but with all the potential from the Xbox 360 crowd and Office, will make for interesting times.

  • Homncruse

    From what I know of Apple’s new mapping software (disclaimer: I deny everything and I’m making this all up), unless they make substantial changes prior to release (which, let’s face it, they probably will), it’s nothing to be worried about. It’s very visually similar to Google Maps, and there’s nothing stopping Google from using the new iOS mapping APIs to re-release their software without the deep OS-level ties (assuming Apple approves it).

  • Glenbot3000

    You’d think a company that’s made its mounds of money through advertising would have a good idea about it…

    Essentially, there’s few products on the entire internet that Google doesn’t have some sort of iteration in one form or another (however this has subdued after the closing of Labs). The problem is, you have to look in order to find these things. Although I like it this way – it makes me feel all smug and knowledgeable – I’d much rather that everyone knew about these great things that Google does. Everyone I show that I can take a picture of this new textbook and find the cheapest price for it is stunned; every time I explain that I’m editing a document on my phone and the same copy is instantly available on my computer people ask me how they can do the same. Google can’t rely on me telling every single person in the world how great some of their products are. It’s time to be a little evil.

  • aenean

    Great article, btw, Dustin.

  • HeLLo

    Always the same shit.People get hyped up over an event and forget about it days later.Same goes for WP people get excited over an announcement of WP and days later it’s back in the trash where it belongs.

  • redraider133

    I don’t think it really means anything to android. I mean I am sure apple and MS will unveil something to try and one up the others but I assume Google is going to do the same thing or try to with their next version of android. Hopefully it makes all the platforms better so more competition= better for us as consumers.