Forget Linux versus Mac OS X versus Windows 7. The real battle in 2010 is going to be on mobile phones. And most players, with HTC leading the pack, are betting on Android.
The Google-backed open source operating system has already stormed its way into the market on phones like the HTC Hero, the original “Google Phone” and Motorola’s Droid phone and looks set to become even more prominent in 2010.
Leading the Android pack will be HTC which already has a number of Android-running phones in its lineup and is planning to roll out a whole lot more in the new year.
According to leaked reports HTC is planning no less than five Android-powered mobile phones in 2010, compared with just three Windows Mobile phones in the same period. Historically HTC has been the dominant maker of Windows Mobile-based smartphones at one point shipping well over 60% of all Windows Mobile phones in the world.
Now the company is showing a definitive shift towards Android with a range of smartphones planned for 2010. Among these will be the Legend, Bravo and the Salsa. The Bravo in particular is the one to watch out for and is being touted as the successor to the HTC Hero, perhaps the best Android-based phone to date.
The Bravo is expected to ship with a 3.7-inch display on top of a 1GHz Snapdragon processer. 512MB flash, 320MB RAM, HSPA, Wi-Fi, A-GPS, a 3.5mm headset jack, and a five megapixel camera with dual LED flash makes the Bravo look very promising. Some insiders are also suggesting that the Bravo will include high defintion video recording, somthing that few others have at this point.
HTC may be leading the Android onslaught but it is not alone in its growing fondness for Google’s mobile operating system. Motorola, a company that many had already written off a couple of years ago, has made something of an international comeback in the latter part of the year with its Droid and Cliq devices. Like HTC Motorola is switching much of its focus to Android for the future and most, if not all future Motorola devices are likely to ship with Android.
Also looking at Android is LG. In September the company announced the LG-GW620, the first of its mainstream Android-based phones. In November the company announced the GW880, another Android phone. Although there are signs that LG is ramping up its Android focus, the company does still have a strong commitment to Windows Mobile and is also planning to roll out numerous WM phones as part of its dual-OS strategy.
An unlikely addition to the growing Android army is Garmin. The GPS maker has announced that it is planning an Android-powered phone for 2010. The phone will apparently be based around the Nuvifone form which Garmin already has in the market in the form of the G60. Garmin’s core GPS business is now being actively challenged by Google’s various Maps products which provide much of the value of commercial GPS products at none of the cost. Garmin’s entry into the phone market is clearly designed to stem the tide and remain on the leading edge of this market.
Also getting into the Android market are SonyEricsson with its Xperia 10 which is expected out in early 2010 and Samsung with its Behold2 phone.
While many of these phones won’t find their way to South African consumers until early 2010, or even at all, there is a clear defined shift towards Android as a platform. And although Microsoft is betting on its Windows Mobile 7 to stem the tide, when it does make it into commercial release chances are it could be too little, too late.