Android - The Dominant OS

Ash is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

After purchasing Android in 2005 Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has taken the operating system to new levels. Android is now the world’s most widely used smartphone platform, beating out Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS. It doesn’t just stop at smartphones though, Android is used to run tablets, TVs, games consoles and more.

The Phones

Apple and Google have definitely been engaged in a smartphone war over the past couple of years. Both companies know that there is a lot of cash to be made by getting their platform into a user’s hands. While Apple still may be the king of profits in the mobile race, Google’s Android platform is the most widely used.

The Android OS had the lion’s share of the OS market at the end of the third quarter with research firms reporting it having somewhere around 75% of the market and close to 1.3 million activations per day.

There is a striking difference between the two companies though, Apple produces their own hardware and software, they collect all the money whereas Google licenses out the software and occasionally gets in on the manufacturing of a device. iOS is a closed system, Android is open-source and if history proves to be right time and time again then I’m sure that Android will end up winning the battle.

The Players

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is a big player in this battle. They use the Android operating system to build and sell their Kindle Fire devices. These devices take away from Apple's market share which proves to be great for both Google and Amazon.

There has even been some talk, and there will probably continue to be talk, of an Amazon cell phone. If one does come it will no doubt run Android.

Other players in this massive mobile game are the manufacturers of the Android based handsets. Samsung is the leader in that aspect, but there are also Android based handsets from Motorola (owned by Google) and HTC, to name a few. All of these handset makers will obviously want Android to triumph over iOS in the long run.

Let’s not forget about the carriers! AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) will all need Android to continue its domination over the market. If iOS becomes the dominant platform all three networks will be forced to pay whatever Apple wants. As we delve into an Android world the carriers are gaining a bigger advantage over Apple. Sure, none of them will throw Apple to the curb, but they may be able to get better deals for themselves and their customers.

The Outcome

Google’s Android OS will become bigger. Due to it being open source I think that Android based phones with cheap equipment on the interior will soon become the dominant phones in emerging markets.

The advantage lies with Google because of their desire to keep the platform open, even Microsoft has decided to begin closing off their Windows 8 operating system.

Overall, the more handsets that Google can get into the hands of consumers, the more money it will make from advertising, recommendations and other services. They don’t care who makes what phone, they just want the platform to be as wide spread as possible and I think that will happen quite soon.

 


Ash1402 has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Amazon.com, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Amazon.com, and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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