Yesterday I wrote a rather positive article about iOS and how I see its future. Today is the turn of Android and my thoughts are also positive. The markets stats show that Android is winning in terms of market share, of that there is no doubt, but this group of Android users is split over many more parts than on iOS. Budget devices bought by those who never install an app, high-end devices bought by geeks and the trendy crowd and all of those devices in the middle sold by mobile networks to a significant proportion of users. High-end Android device ownership is changing, however, and the latest and greatest from the likes of Samsung and HTC are finding their way into the hands of normal smartphone users. They are becoming as commonplace as the iPhone and as well built (maybe not the S4), as reliable and as easy to use. They also arguably offer more flexibility to those who want to experiment and grow their knowledge of smartphones.
And all of the above is the Android advantage; it can be anything to anyone which ultimately is what is driving the market share it enjoys today. The fragmentation arguments, the constant scare stories about malware and the perceived lack of app and OS quality are driven by those who prefer the 'Apple' way. If it isn't done in exactly the same way as Apple, it can't possibly good in the eyes of some.
Despite not using an Android device as my main phone, that does not mean I can't see what is good, and at times great, about Android. The complete flexibility and choice is what I like and is what I strive for iOS to be more like. Some of the apps are inferior to their iOS counterparts and some of the hardware is just appalling, but if you make your choices wisely you will receive a lot in return. My personal view is that iOS has a very steady market and that it will increase, but that Android seems to be moving quicker and capturing the hearts and minds of more people now. It would seem that its lead is only likely to increase, but there are two potential shifts that could change that. Samsung could start to concentrate on its own operating system and Google could start to concentrate more on web services as a whole and not just Android. Look at the way Google is attempting to get its services on iOS and other platforms, despite some deliberate barriers, and you can see that the main focus is still on services for the company. I still believe, however, that Android has a healthy future and will ultimately continue to dominate and likely cement its current lead even further.