Strong sales of the iPhone 4S are putting renewed pressure on Android to innovate. Ubuntu for Android could give the platform a key capability iPhone is still missing.
by Jason Hiner May 1, 2012 4:00 AM PDT
Ubuntu for Android (Credit: Canonical)
Last year was a long time ago for Android.
That was when Google’s mobile platform was stealing market share from all the other smartphone platforms — winning even against the iPhone — and beating a path toward market dominance.
But Android is now facing a renewed challenge from its archrival. Android’s vulnerability against the iPhone can be summed up by looking at the two biggest wireless carriers in the U.S. — AT&T and Verizon. At AT&T, the iPhone represented 78% of all smartphone sales in the first three months of 2012. At Verizon, which had been an Android stronghold since the launch of the original Motorola Droid in October 2009, the iPhone has picked up over 50 percent of all smartphone sales for each of the past two quarters (Q4 2011 and Q1 2012).
How’d that happen? Android won over more users than Apple during 2010 and 2011 because Android devices were available on more carriers and there were Android phones that cost a lot less than the $200 base model of the iPhone. But now the iPhone has spread to virtually all of the major carriers and there are now iPhone models available for under $100.
Android badly needs a new advantage against the iPhone in the next stage of the mobile platform fight. It may get it from Canonical’s Ubuntu for Android.