According to an PC Magazine article (Android Share Already Nearing Windows Mobile) Android already has 3.5% global market share. Windows Mobile, which has been around for some time is loosing market share, down to 7.9% according to the magazine (not exactly “nearing”). Apart from Android moving from no market share to 3.5%, the interesting part is the change in market share and fast the market moves. If anything it says that devices have huge influence on the operating systems market share.
The results are good for Google’s Android but it’s not like they have made the big time. Their road is not easily traveled and will take much longer than one quarter. Indeed, reports show that Google has some real challenges (see Wired article: Android’s Rapid Growth Has Some Developers Worried). Dealing with multiple versions and different handsets – with different capabilities, will give pain before the maturity is reached. This reminds me of J2ME development. The idea is great, but it takes time for the technology and the development tools to mature to a stable and acceptable level. Android will get there.
Microsoft is loosing market share but don’t count them out just yet. They still have some legacy code in Windows Mobile 6.5 which sounds more like an incremental version. Microsoft still has to release Windows Mobile 7.0 which is likely to introduce Mircosoft’s touchscreen technologies.
Another interesting point is Apple’s powerful share of the market, 17.1%. They have one device, the iPhone which is fairly closed. Ok, the App Store is for any developer (as is the Mac), but it’s not an open platform to run on any device (see Attack of the Androids). This shows how powerful the device is in the market share. Bring a cool new device to the market, people will buy it. This suggest that consumers are not so much looking at the mobile operating system. And why should they? Mobile phones are consumer devices.