Apple and its iOS operating system, which, in various forms, runs the iPhone and iPad, get much of the attention. But, as comScore numbers released on Friday show, Android continues to win where it counts, which is in overall market share.
comScore reports that the Google platform's share of the pie rose 5.2 percent during the three months ending in April (to close at 36.4 percent) compared to the previous three months, when it had 31.2 percent. Apple's iOS market share also was in winning territory, with an increase from 24.7 percent to 26 percent. The pain was spread across RIM (down from 30.4 percent to 25.7 percent), Microsoft (8 percent to 6.7 percent) and Palm (3.2 percent to 2.6 percent).
Two things are interesting to note during the quarter: Android crossed the one-third milestone and iOS overtook Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform.
The rise of Android is not lost on the folks in Cupertino, at least according to Mike Masnick at Tech Dirt. The site reports that changes were announced to iOS today, though they were partially obscured, so to speak, by the iCloud announcements:
While a lot of the attention on today's Apple announcements were around the cloud stuff, there were a bunch of changes to iOS announced, too, and what was striking was how many of them really looked like Apple scrambling to play catchup to Android on certain features - with the pull down notifications being a key such feature. That feature is standard on my Android phone and has been for some time, and it looks almost identical to the Apple iOS implementation.
In fact, I think most people would reasonably agree that Android owes a far greater debt to Apple than Apple owes to Google for features. But the point is that this sort of innovation goes both ways. Whenever we hear about complaints about "copying" or "ripping off" features, people seem to ignore the fact that everyone does this, and it pushes everyone to do more in the future. It increases the pace of innovation.
The bottom line is that Android will continue to coexist in rough equilibrium with iOS which, of course, is an Apple-only affair. The "trading" of features that Masnick describes will continue, as will the losses by Research In Motion. And, as this well-written story in the Guardian points out, the power, functionality and sophistication of smartphones will continue to voraciously eat away at the desktop PC world. That world suddenly seems like yesterday's news.