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Google Handhelds Cellphones Operating Systems Technology

Gartner Predicts Android Most Popular Mobile OS By 2014 180

Posted by timothy
from the four-years-out dept.
mikesd81 writes "According to Gartner research firm, Google's Android smartphone operating system will in a single year have leapfrogged competitors like Apple's iPhone, Research in Motion's Blackberry and Microsoft Windows phones in global popularity, and will challenge Nokia to become the world's most popular mobile OS by 2014. Gartner says that the explosive growth of Android will give it 17.7% of world wide sales by the end of 2010. ... Analysts also say there are number of things that could derail Android's growth, including Oracle's lawsuit over Java patents."
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Gartner Predicts Android Most Popular Mobile OS By 2014

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  • by Linsaran (728833) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:09AM (#33552390) Homepage

    I for one welcome our new android overlords

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mestar (121800)

      Gartner can predict, but will Netcraft confirm it?

      • by TheLink (130905)
        How useful are Gartner anyway? What's their track record like for useful accurate predictions. Where useful = nonobvious.
        • You'll recall what they said about OS/2. Strangely, oddly, uncharacteristically, OS/2 isn't on every desktop and machine. How could that be???

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TheLink (130905)
            Can't remember that, because normally when I hear "Gartner", I think "Bullshit". But that's my personal bias, so I was just wondering if my bias is unfounded :).
  • Thank you editors (Score:5, Insightful)

    by klingens (147173) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:10AM (#33552396)

    for putting the most important words of this "news" right at the beginning: "Gartner predicts". From that point onwards, everyone knows one can safely disregard anything that follows unless a good laugh is needed.

    • Re:Thank you editors (Score:5, Informative)

      by FooAtWFU (699187) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:14AM (#33552434) Homepage
      The Wall Street Journal also had analysis; they said that Apple can afford to lose a chunk of market share (in a growing market) and instead should worry about the competition driving the price down. Here's the story [wsj.com] (do the google-the-URL thing to get a good Referer: if it doesn't show the whole thing).
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by binarylarry (1338699)

        I think it's interesting that Google and co are doing to Apple what Microsoft and co did to Apple back in the day. They've created a similar product and used openness/developer friendlyness to displace Apple from dominance. I wonder how long before the iOS products are relegated to 10% marketshare like their desktop offerings are.

        It's a chink in Steve Job's iArmor.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by alen (225700)

        too late for that once apple blinked on the dev kit thing

        iphones and android phones are almost identical right now with 80% or more functionality being the same. unlike the early computer era when everyone seemed to use different CPU's

        android and iphone both use ARM CPU's
        the OS is ^nix in both cases
        almost all of the top apps are available on each platform

        big differences are the form factor with android coming in different form factors.
        iOS is still better for games
        and you need a computer to run iTunes if you

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "iphones and android phones are almost identical right now with 80% or more functionality being the same."

          The problem is that in the remaining 20% lies a good deal of pain. There are inconsistencies with android that are INFURIATING. And they seem like minor quibbles when put on paper. But then again, the difference between OS X and Windows (and even variants of GUI Based Linux operating systems) are minor on paper.

          The problem with the Android is that it just doesn't have any real polish. Things that sh

      • by perpenso (1613749) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @01:41PM (#33553716)

        The Wall Street Journal also had analysis; they said that Apple can afford to lose a chunk of market share (in a growing market) and instead should worry about the competition driving the price down. Here's the story [wsj.com] (do the google-the-URL thing to get a good Referer: if it doesn't show the whole thing).

        It is not a given that Apple will lose market share. Apple may not be the player that is displaced by Android. Android is more likely to displace all the in-house operating systems being used by the handset manufacturers. For example Nokia could announce that they have dropped Nokia OS and Symbian OS and will use Android for all upcoming handsets.

        The situation is not unlike Linux and Microsoft. Despite Microsoft being widely perceived as the competitor to Linux, it was really Sun Microsystems and other traditional Unix vendors that were displaced. Similarly I expect it will largely be the traditional handset operating systems that will be displaced, not necessarily Apple.

        • by zuperduperman (1206922) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @07:21PM (#33556528)

          No mod points today - but I totally agree. Google has done something very clever which the other vendors have not - they have not tried to take Apple head on, but instead they've picked a bunch of different areas where the iPhone is weak and made Android strong in those areas. They are moving into heavily differentiating Android based on advanced features integrated with Google services (integrated voice recognition / control that is ubiquitous, for example). These are things that are *really*, *really* hard for competitors to reproduce. So you can't go into a store and look at an Android phone next to an iPhone and do a direct comparison - "this one has better graphics, this one has a nicer contacts list, this one has better facebook integration, ... " etc. You have to make a choice between a completely different paradigm. This means that despite the hype, Android is not really competing with iPhone directly, rather only in a secondary sense. Compare with WP7 where it seems that Microsoft is very much going down the line of out-Apple-ing Apple. There are some differentiators but mainly they seem like they plan to take on Apple where Apple is strong - super smooth UI, great gaming, controlled experience. I wish them luck but I strongly doubt anybody can out-Apple Apple. You don't fight an enemy on their home turf, you make them fight you where they are not comfortable.

          It'll be an interesting 12 months, that's for sure.

      • This is the PC Clone wars redux. Apple should study what happened to IBM and the IBM PC since it is playing that role, with its fully proprietary system. Android is the new MS-DOS. The intense competition among lots of hardware vendors for both price and power unified by the new MS-DOS will be more heat than IBM... I mean Apple... can handle.
        • Well since the apple personal computers which lost to the IBM PC were open platforms, I think apple has one more handicap this time. OTOH in the 80s being hip meant having the most capable equipment, while now it's more about marketing.

    • by nloop (665733)
      I see you own an iPhone
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JWSmythe (446288)

      No shit. :)

      Just about everyone knows that "predictions" and "forward looking statements" aren't worth the time it takes to read them. 4 years from now? Android isn't even 2 years old yet. It may not have reached it's peak in popularity, but who knows what bigger, better, faster, toy there will be in the next 4 years. At very least, it's added another competitive element in the market place, but that can simply mean that it will push others (existing, or not yet on the mark

      • Re:Thank you editors (Score:5, Informative)

        by Xest (935314) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @01:24PM (#33553616)

        "Hell, Google's Nexus One direct customer sales only survived from January to July 2010. It's a volatile market, and products come and go very quickly."

        That was very much a one off experiment by a single vendor in direct sales, so it's hardly a great example of a trend in the mobile industry.

        "Look at the Motorola Razr. Kids all thought it was the coolest thing ever. Plenty of them hit the market. They only survived from the end of 2004 to mid 2007."

        Might I suggest the take a look at how the RAZR did? I'll give you a hint- it achieved over 3 times the number of handset sales the iPhone did in a it's first 3 year period. Hardly a good example of a failed phone, it was one of the most succesful phones in history, coming only behind Nokia's ultra cheap handsets like the 1100 which have been lapped up by countries like China and India, as well as African nations.

        If you're going to criticise mobile phone marketplace predictions it's generally a good idea to have a clue about it first. Citing one of the most succesful mobile phones of all time as an example of something that didn't do as well as predicted because it only lasted 3 years is silly because it clearly was a phenomenal success.

        There's a good basis to the idea that Android will continue to grow and that's because it's got the support of so many vendors, and certainly it faces issues, but right now it's growth is incredible. Sustainable? who knows, but it's a better bet as the next contender to the crown in the mobile phone industry compared to other mobile phone OS' who are pretty much stagnant or are even in decline. Perhaps the best thing Android has going for it though because by nature of it's relative openness it's a candidate to replace the next generation of phones lapped up by the poorer markets like India, Africa, and China, whilst things like iOS and RIM's Blackberry OS, possible even Windows Mobile have no real cheap hardware platforms- effectively right now other than perhaps MeeGo or whatever Nokia is calling it this week, Android is the only real contender to Symbian dominated markets without detriment to being a strong player in the high end smartphone market too.

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        I'm still looking forward to the collapse of all this noise towards the end of Q4 2012.

        Me too. By then Nokia will have perfected their 'mobile computing devices' and we'll all be thinking how crap those old smartphones were, with our new mini-PC we dock at our desks or to our TVs. Times, they are a-changing, the old desktop PC dinosaur is dead, it just doesn't realise it yet.

    • Popularity is about marketing, not about merit. I suspect Gartner knows all about marketing.

    • 1300% growth rate (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:12AM (#33552752)

      Android has something like a 1300% growth rate. If we extrapolate that forever, we can see that Android is going to take over the entire universe in approximately 15 years.

       

    • Re:Thank you editors (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tridus (79566) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:29AM (#33552842) Homepage

      That's what I came here to post. I can't believe the editors continue to post crap from Gartner. They're excellent at making very bad predictions, or in this case absolutely meaningless ones. They have absolutely no idea what's going to happen to this market in four years.

      • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @01:10PM (#33553528)

        But they're very useful in finding out what businesses will believe. It's amazing how much pull a Gartner article like this can have during a sales cycle.

        Don't look at Gartner articles as truth, but as as an indicator of business beliefs. They're actually useful in that way.

        • by mounthood (993037)

          But they're very useful in finding out what businesses will believe. It's amazing how much pull a Gartner article like this can have during a sales cycle.

          Don't look at Gartner articles as truth, but as as an indicator of business beliefs. They're actually useful in that way.

          Useful as a reflection of the media too: Gartner makes (stupid) predictions about all kinds of software and companies, but it's the 'Android will dominate' story that gets picked up and repeated.

      • by syousef (465911)

        That's what I came here to post. I can't believe the editors continue to post crap from Gartner. They're excellent at making very bad predictions, or in this case absolutely meaningless ones. They have absolutely no idea what's going to happen to this market in four years.

        Are you sure about that? Has Netcraft confirmed it?

    • by Spatial (1235392)

      "Gartner discovers linear interpolation"

  • by ELCouz (1338259) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:15AM (#33552438)
    the year of linux mobile desktop!
  • Deja vu? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wiresquire (457486)

    Google will be (or already is?) the new Microsoft.

    Just as Microsoft was the new IBM.

    • Re:Deja vu? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:07AM (#33552724)

      Google will be (or already is?) the new Microsoft.

      Just as Microsoft was the new IBM.

      That always sounds like a reasonable comparison, but under Google's current leadership, and their current business focus, that probably won't ever be the case. Microsoft got where it is by committing a whole host of illegal, anti-competitive acts (still are, actually) and can be legitimately said to have retarded progress over the past thirty-odd years. Google isn't really doing anything of that nature, and if anything is pushing the state-of-the-art. Google's external operations are also very standards-based and, so far as I'm aware, Google hasn't pulled anything like what Microsoft did with the ISO approval process.

      Google isn't charging an arm-and-a-leg to phone makers for Android, matter of fact, it isn't charging anything. It also offers a remarkable suite of online services ... also for free. Of course, there's a reason for that: the only thing Google really "sells" is ad space, and that will only make money for them as long as they can attract eyeballs. I look at Google's rather massive investment in R&D and outpouring of free cloud-based services as being very future-oriented: they know that they may not be able to subsist on ad revenue forever, and would like to have other options. Microsoft has been doing the same thing for the same reason for many years, but Microsoft generally fails at anything outside its core competency of operating systems and office suites. Likewise, Google isn't making much money, directly, from its online services (other than its bread-and-butter ad views) but in the meantime we get to play with some cool stuff and they get to sell some more advertising. Some of that nifty online stuff may stick, and eventually start making Google some serious money. Only time will tell.

      But they're far from a monopoly, illegal or otherwise (as of now, anyway), and any comparison to Microsoft or IBM in terms of ethics or monopolism is really undeserved at this point. Not saying that will always be true: companies do change, but in this case I think we'll have to wait until Brin & Page retire. Hopefully their successors will be at least as good, business-ethics-wise (well, better than Gates' replacement, anyway, which wouldn't be too hard.)

      • I'm not new here, but I'm sad to see that cognitive arguments such as above are marked troll. Wish I had some mod points to fix this.
      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        I look at Google's rather massive investment in R&D and outpouring of free cloud-based services as being very future-oriented: they know that they may not be able to subsist on ad revenue forever, and would like to have other options. Microsoft has been doing the same thing for the same reason for many years

        1 thing about that, Google is milking the ads like they'll be nothing eventually, and looking to the future for potential alternatives (or additives). Microsoft is only just jumping on the ad bandwag

        • 1 thing about that, Google is milking the ads like they'll be nothing eventually, and looking to the future for potential alternatives (or additives). Microsoft is only just jumping on the ad bandwagon and trying to slap them everywhere they can. I can imagine Microsoft putting ads into Office soon and alienating its users, while Google moves on to something even more profitable (probably a % of subscription services, micro-paid for from your mobile contract or somesuch).

          Hard to say, but you're probably right that Google will find something to replace or substantially augment their current model. They're still capable of looking forward: Microsoft (in spite of the considerable sums it spends on Microsoft Research) spends more effort trying to maintain the status quo. Oh, Google is a big operation now and certainly has a significant level of inertia, but I think its longer term prospects are better. You're also right about something else: when Google releases something it's

          • by gbjbaanb (229885)

            yep, I agree there - Linux will be popular because of Google.

            But.. developers. Its not about providing tools and saying 'off you go then', MS actively courts devs, look at how .NET dev has finally taken off, MS has pushed massive amounts of marketing, hype, tooling and stuff at devs everytime it can, and the number of C# jobs is the result. And now, I have to learn it for my next role, even though there are so many crappy bits in the framework (version hell anyone?) that it feels like coding VB6 all over ag

            • But.. developers. Its not about providing tools and saying 'off you go then', MS actively courts devs, look at how .NET dev has finally taken off, MS has pushed massive amounts of marketing, hype, tooling and stuff at devs everytime it can, and the number of C# jobs is the result.

              Yeah, you're probably right there, but what you're talking about is really more Microsoft courting PHBs than courting developers. At my job, anyway, I get told what programming tools I have to use, whether I want to or not. That's the case throughout most of corporate America. I've been coding on Microsoft products since DOS 1.0., and like anyone who has been in the business for a while, you have to work to convince me that your latest shiny tool is the best thing since the invention of the wheel. Particula

              • by gbjbaanb (229885)

                Now I'm in the UK, and I see it differently (culture maybe). We don't get PHBs courted by MS reps, what we do have is a pervasive 'marketplace' of developers who want or like certain development tools, these drive the adoption - usually by telling the PHB of XYZ being the next thing. Obviously this only works for mainstream stuff, and PHBs looking at the job market and seeing cheaper/more devs with certain tools. There's also the trainign aspect - we tedn to offer training as a perk to devs, who then say "I

      • by toriver (11308)

        "Free" as in ad-supported. But what happens if/when vendors or phone companies start making "de-Googled" Android builds? Apparently, Verizon's version of the Samsung Galaxy S uses Bing instead of Google, and fixing that is a bit convoluted [nexus404.com] (for a non-techie).

    • when Google starts putting out products which they must pay companies to use or else they would fail in the open market, only then does Google _begin_ to act like Microsoft. Windows CE is a prime example of this since Android is the topic. And know that Microsoft had to sign money losing marketing deals with netbook makers to get them to boost netbook hardware along with purchasing licenses for Windows XP. Steve Ballmer said that was a mistake after that program cost Microsoft millions of dollars but won
  • 2014? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pedantic bore (740196)

    In internet time, predicting what the most popular mobile OS will be in 2014 is like predicting what kind of music our grandchildren will like.

    But as long as we're making predictions, here's mine: in 2014, the most popular popular mobile OS will be whatever the folks at Apple start secretly working on some time next year, and that doesn't get hyped out of all possible hope of satisfying consumer expectations until some time in late 2013.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That would be different from Apple's whole approach. They don't want a majority of the market - they want a niche market with big margins. Apple's goal is never really more than 20% of the market.

      Android is quite likely the biggest winner over the next few years. What I'm personally watching for is what RIM does. While RIM has the corporate market, they've been trying to break out of that. I'd expect the major battles to be between Android, RIM and Windows 7 Phone.

      • Re:2014? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by pedantic bore (740196) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:52AM (#33552652)

        I interpret the evidence differently; Apple seems absolutely delighted with their 80% market share for MP3 players and 70% market share for downloadable music sales. I think they'd love to have a similar position in mobile platforms, although I agree that they will abandon markets that do not permit sufficient differentiation to support their target margins.

      • by anandrajan (86137)
        Android is quite likely the biggest winner over the next few years. What I'm personally watching for is what RIM does. While RIM has the corporate market, they've been trying to break out of that. I'd expect the major battles to be between Android, RIM and Windows 7 Phone.

        Yes, I'm watching RIM and Android carefully as well. Currently, I get crappy EDGE service at home (in Gainesville, FL) and have to resort to UMA (WiFi-based cell service) on T-Mobile in order to make/receive calls. Since Android should
    • Re:2014? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jo42 (227475) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:36AM (#33552912) Homepage

      predicting what kind of music our grandchildren will like

      That's too easy. Something that you can't stand.

  • Is Nokia's Symbian devices every actually used outside of Europe/Asia? Because I really haven't ever seen one for it being the "number one" smartphone platform. I've seen tons of Blackberries, lots of Android devices, multiple iPhones of every generation, a few Windows Mobile devices, even a few Palm Pre/Pixis but I don't think I've seen a single Nokia smartphone with the exception of the N900 which doesn't run Symbian. So where are these? Just hiding outside of the US?
    • by JanneM (7445) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:43AM (#33552590) Homepage

      "Is Nokia's Symbian devices every actually used outside of Europe/Asia?"

      Europe and Asia's population is around 4.6 billion people, or 70% of the worlds population. Anything used in "only" those areas of the world is pretty damn close to ubiquitous, whether it reaches every corner of the world or not.

      • To be fair to the parent, Symbian and Nokia products in general are becoming less popular in Nokia's own back yard.

        What business types need to consider is whether or not it's going to be worth it for Nokia to keep pumping out Symbian/MeeGo/$futureOSHere or to just jump ship and start shipping Android or Windows Mobile.

        Sure, market share's a great number to consider but it's only one factor when you also consider profit margins and consumer enthusiasm.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jonbryce (703250)

        And cellphone penetration in that part of the world is much higher than in the US. For example, 88% of the population of the US has a cellphone, compared with 95% of the population of the EU (source CIA World Fact Book).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:33AM (#33552878)

      Look, Nokia sells 4 out of every 10 smart phones. Outside North America (5% of the world population), Nokia phones are practically everywhere. It's worth noticing that while the Iphone is considered a nice phone (and even a game changer) everywhere and it sells quite well, it was a smash hit mostly in the US: In most places people already had fairly good smart phones, it just wasn't that big of a deal even if the touch UI was awesome.

      As a comment on this Gartner guesswork: many people dismiss the work Nokia does in the developing countries but they probably shouldn't. China and India are already massive smart phone markets and they are going to be absolutely huge. Nokia is _very_ strong in these countries.

    • You probably just don't notice them. People with iPhones like to show them off, and phones that look like the iPhone are still sufficiently novel that they catch the eye. Blackberries also have a distinctive look. Nokia smartphones look like phones. Unless you are actively looking for them, you won't notice them. I'm not sure about the US market - it's relatively small and the carrier lock-down makes it largely uninteresting to handset manufacturers - but over here I see far more Nokia phones than anyt
    • by Beliskner (566513)
      Symbian smartphones are 3 times more popular than iphones - source [wikipedia.org] Apple has 14% marketshare and Symbian smartphones has 41% marketshare
    • by yorugua (697900)
      > Is Nokia's Symbian devices every actually used outside of Europe/Asia?

      Yes. I live in South America, and work in Argentina. I travel to the US at least once a year. I own a E71. My wife a E51. It supports my companies VPN, email, even putty, and instant messaging. Battery (on the E71 at least) is very good. I even run Garmin XT so I don't need a standalone GPS most of the time.

      At least three of my buddies in the company own E71's as well. So yes, they are actually used :) How about market share? Wou

    • by caluml (551744)

      Just hiding outside of the US?

      Wow. Just wow. What an amazing view of the world you have.
      That's virtually like saying Bin Laden is hiding outside your house.

  • by shadowrat (1069614) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:32AM (#33552536)
    Android will become the most popular OS by 2014, or it will not.
    • Android will become the most popular OS by 2014, or it will not.

      Android handsets are already outselling iPhones. I don't think it will take until 2014 until it's eclipsed just about everyone in the market. It's even shipping on devices that don't even have cellular access, so sales are probably much better than we are being led to believe. About the only thing I see slowing it down at all would be Oracle's lawsuit, but that won't have much effect outside the U.S. if it goes badly for Google. The open source daemon is pretty hard to stuff back in the bottle once it's out

  • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot&stango,org> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:33AM (#33552544) Homepage Journal

    ...that the carriers are beginning to resort to their old tricks on the new Android phones? [techcrunch.com] Stuff like replacing Google search with Bing and not letting you change it back, loading phones up with unremovable crapware, locking down tethering, banning installation of non-Marketplace apps, etc.

    Before anyone replies, "Well, just root the phone to get around that stuff! Duh!" let me remind you that geeks who are willing and able to do so are far, far outnumbered by normal people who just want to use their goddamn phone, not tinker with it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TyFoN (12980)

      You still have the choice of buying an unbranded phone. Why anyone would buy a phone that is locked to one carrier is beyond me, but it might be different over the pond in the US.

      • by demonlapin (527802) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:55AM (#33552660) Homepage Journal
        A short explanation of the US mobile market is in order.

        There are four national networks, and they are owned by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA rather than GSM, and they won't activate each other's devices. You want Verizon, you have to buy a Verizon phone; same for Sprint.

        If you want to activate an unlocked phone on AT&T or T-Mobile, you can. However, each of them has different frequencies assigned for 3G service. As a result, you can only get EDGE data rates if your phone isn't designed for their network.

        In other words, since you have to buy a phone that only works on one carrier, and since only T-Mobile offers a lower-cost plan if you bring your own phone, there is a strong incentive to buy a new phone every two years with the carrier subsidy - you won't get cheaper service if you forgo it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TyFoN (12980)

          Ugh, that sounds horrible and extremely anti-competitive. AFAIK we have about 50 different mobile operators for soon to be 5 million people in Norway. And they all use GSM. If you want to switch to another operator you can use the same phone and telephone number.
          It would explain the operator locked phones you have though, thank you :)

          • Well, I didn't count regional operators or MVNOs. So it does sound a bit worse than it is. And we do have full inter-network number portability if you decide to change.

            But you're right. It's crazy. Maybe LTE will change things somewhat, putting all the carriers on one technology, but I doubt it - the FCC just doesn't care enough. About the only thing we've managed to get out of the carriers is truly nationwide service with unlimited long distance and no roaming, which (if you use it) is a great deal. I
        • Thanks for so eloquently explaining the wonders of free unregulated market (the one which wasn't forcibly standardized on GSM).

          • Calling anything in telecommunications a "free unregulated market" is profoundly inaccurate. It's one of the best examples out there of entrenched companies using government regulation to put up barriers to entry. As the old saying goes, you're entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

            When the regulatory apparatus that we have isn't used properly, it makes me suspicious of just how effective a bigger regulatory apparatus would be. After all, the FCC could have declared that AT&T and T-
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Good point. You're basically right that the real problem in U.S. isn't so much lack of regulation as it is regulation in the interests of the big business (rather than society). The point, anyway, is that it's not regulation per se that is bad - but rather its abuse.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          In other words, since you have to buy a phone that only works on one carrier, and since only T-Mobile offers a lower-cost plan if you bring your own phone, there is a strong incentive to buy a new phone every two years with the carrier subsidy - you won't get cheaper service if you forgo it.

          Also, T-Mobile is the only US carrier that operates on Band I (2100 MHz) so they are the only US carrier that can support the vast majority of phones sold in Europe, Australia and Asia.

          • T-Mobile in the US uses Band IV, which uses 2100 only for the downstream data, not upstream. Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org].
            • by mjwx (966435)

              T-Mobile in the US uses Band IV, which uses 2100 only for the downstream data, not upstream. Wikipedia article.

              T-mo uses Band I and Band IV. The upgrade to band I [t-mobile.com] (using 2100 for both channels) was made earlier this year, T-Mo are now selling Band I only devices as well as Band IV. As always dont rely on Wikipedia as an authoritative source of information.

              • Factual corrections are always appreciated, but your link says only that TMo USA insists that their phones be capable of Band I, not that they use it in the USA. Do you have a link saying they use band I in the US?
      • by gilesjuk (604902)

        I would say that sim-free handset owners are in the minority, mainly because it is geeks who want the handset totally unlocked and unbranded. Geeks are still a minority or Linux's market share would be much higher.

        Regardless of the potential cost savings, people just look at the money they have to pay up front and just go for a contract.

        • by LurkerXXX (667952)

          If you are talking UK, sure. If you are talking US, no. Not by a long shot. An unlocked handset does a geek about zero good in the US because the other carrier you might want to switch to either uses another technology, or another frequency than the carrier you were with before.

      • You still have the choice of buying an unbranded phone. Why anyone would buy a phone that is locked to one carrier is beyond me, but it might be different over the pond in the US.

        It is. Many carriers simply don't allow phones not purchased from them on their networks. But I agree: why we put up with that is ridiculous. I'm on T-Mobile here (e.g. Deutsche Telekom) and they've been by far the best carrier I've used (I don't know if any Germans would agree with that assessment) but that's probably because they're the underdog next to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Still, if there was any reason to believe that competition is good for the consumer, this is it. I've been on AT&T (voic

    • Stuff like replacing Google search with Bing and not letting you change it back, loading phones up with unremovable crapware

      How is that different from the IPhone or the other incumbents? I agree, I really hate these tactics, but I just don't see what's new about them.

      • Perhaps it's different outside of North America, but here (US and Canada) carriers were notorious for taking a phone with all the latest whiz-bang features (Bluetooth, wifi, tethering, etc) and loading them with custom firmware that crippled them. You had to either pay an ridiculous monthly fee to re-enable them, if they even allowed you.

        Another neat trick was making a physical button on "dumb" phones launch the web browser to the company's website. This button would be right near the Call or End-Call butto

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ekhben (628371)

          Apple keeping the carriers out of the phone operating system was by far the greatest contribution of the iPhone to the mobile market place, in my opinion. I'll take slavish obedience to Apple over slavish obedience to my carrier.

          (And my carrier has never let me get away with anything so cheap as US$99/yr to develop and install whatever the hell I like on my phone - remember, Apple's restrictions all apply at the App Store's gates, as a tinkerer, I have no issues and no need to jailbreak my phone).

      • Before I argue how it's different, could you clarify how it's the same? (because it's not)

  • When the carriers have as much, or more to do with the selection than the consumer...

  • After some online research into Gartner Group accuracy I haven't been able to find any analysis whatsoever. A couple years ago one of their analysts commented that they periodically review their accuracy and issue reports listing some of their hits and misses. Given the number of managers who take Gartner's word as gospel, that doesn't seem like enough. I'm surprised that this question hasn't come up more often.

    • by Lord Grey (463613) *

      In 2006, four years ago, did Gartner predict the success of the Android operating system in the mobile market? No?

      I didn't think so. No reason to start believing them now, either.

  • Will be making bumper profits as having the largest market share has nothing to do with being profitable.

  • As a developer on a few mobile platforms, I foresee that Android will be popular for carriers and manufacturers, because it's free. But for consumers, it will, by 2014, be no more useful than any previous handset OS: Your phone WILL be locked into the apps, settings and themes governed by the carrier, and the number of "stellar" apps will dwindle considerably. Unless the carriers subsidize development for their particular handset, there will be very little incentive for major developers to waste time on suc
  • Circa 1990 Gartner published numerical graphs showing exactly how OS/2 would become the predominant PC operating system within, IIRC, three or four years.

    People will pay money for anyone claiming to make predictions, and the miracle is that no number of bad past predictions ever seems to affect the credibility of the fortunetellers.

  • I saw this report and blogged about it yesterday (shameless plus: click on the link in my sig to read it). Basically my opinion is that if Verizon gets the iPhone then this could kill Android.

  • This is why you license your tech out to anyone that wants it instead of keeping it in house. You can have the lesser product but there is more of it out there so you win by default. Sure you make less, but you get more back in volume ( and you marginalize the competition )

    A lesson you would have thought Apple would have learned when IBM did it to them in the 80s. I guess not.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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