January 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm
I Just arrived here at CES…. Clear day, but cold here for the desert! Definitely Android’s presence at this major Consumer Show will help warm up the mood. 2011 is going to be a great new year in the mobile industry in North America as both Apple and Google battle it out for the leading market share of smart phone devices.
#1- Devices, Devices and more Devices
We are all looking forward to some of the new devices that will hit the street with Android. As an open system and an entry platform into the mobile area the competition with ensue between Consumer electronic manufactures, PC manufactures, incumbents and anything you can embed an OS.
The Apple vs. Google’s Android (24.6% vs. 23.5% respectively according to Comscore) competition has first of all made a major dent in RIM’s leadership. Will Blackberry move from #1 to #3?
At CES this year we expect a fresh taste of many of the new devices to come.
#2- The blurring line between Smartphones and Tablets
This jostling is not only in the Smartphone race, but in the tablet market as well. Apples iPad with its 44% marketshare getting nibbled to death from Android’s estimated 39% marketshare by 2010 according to the Piper Jaffray’s estimates.
Although there has been polarization of the different formats, a new breed of formats occupying that middle ground has started.
What makes this interesting is in the multiple forms of display sizes from the 3.5 inch Retina displays, advanced OLED’s all the way up the spectrum to the 10.1 inch and larger. How will content itself polarize for these different formats? Or maybe not?
#3- Apps and Media Marketplaces
The big differentiator in this new era of advanced internet devices is in the content. Apple’s leadership in the iTunes marketplace ( more then 300K strong) has not been threatened yet, but with Android’s openness as the angle for developers to bring in new and exciting things in parallel to the shear volume of content. The Android Marketplace has will quickly reach the 200k level and continue to grow strongly! HTML5 mobile apps and content that blend web experiences on native app experiences is something we should keep an eye out for this year with the overall Android App and Marketplace experience.
#4 NFC and the mCommerce explosion
It has been a long-time coming to see this opportunity of Near Field Communications baked into devices. The quiet release in Google and Samsung’s Nexus S with the Android 2.3 and the NFC chip is an indication that these enablers will be aggressively now released into the market as part of the competition to bring in these new business models. Apple, RIM, Microsoft as well as the mobile operators have all entered this foray becoming the next big battleground for local and location based payments.
#5 Connected and Suggest Advertising
2011 will be a year of advertising innovation beyond the basic impression based CPM models of past. Android will be a unique platform where Google will bring out is best of ideas of mobile and local advertising that will go beyond the basic behavioral response, but to include the context of location and push. How will this be mitigated so that our social privacy is not evaded? The debate will continue as the competition ensues. Google’s Admob vs. Apple’s iAd will be two of the big battle grounds, but expect to see all of the local retailers, commerce and media companies bringing in new and exciting formats to make it more relevant for advertisers in this cross-media, physical and local connection. The shear volume of Android handsets entering the market should make this a very dynamic addition to Google’s strength, but with Facebook’s Places Mobile Application and the opportunity to bring advertising into this mix as social ads will be another interesting spike in this evolution.
#6 Application Search… the other blurring line
Up until now, Applications have been silo’ed creatures that had activation to content only when downloaded and launched. I would expect this to be another unique battleground as the plethora of content grows, access in-app will become more and more important as well as the indexing of relevant content on the go. Twitter search has had the make-up to be the next big thing in the search space, but now will the growth of endless applications paralleling websites as the content for mobility; search will take a potential exciting new direction in the coming year with Applications.
#7 TV and Rich-Media Convergence
Android should make an exciting platform for the future of TV. In 2010 we saw Google TV, Apple TV and the evolution of real-time video streams anytime, anyplace as a growing trend, now in 2011 with the advances in LTE and more and more content becoming available online this will be another battleground for the mindshare of consumers.
As the Android OS continue to show up everywhere in 2011 ( taxi’s, airplanes, billboards, etc..) this opportunity will make way for interactive video everywhere on the go. However, how long will it last before content owners hold back from licensing content to Google’s TV initiatives?
This trend is also bringing in new entrants such as Vizio that has been a top Flat-panel manufacturer now entering into the smart device area as well.
#8 Chrome OS vs. Android OS cross-platform
Google has been strategic in keeping these two different platforms separated as they build within the two different marketplaces of mobile and online, but how long will this last. Android platform has been strong with the evolution of the opensource Webkit Browser based on a Safari core. The Chrome Browser vs. The Safari browser dynamics has now put Google in a unique position for moving forward with its own enablers in parallel with taking the best from both worlds. 2011 will be the year of the Cloud when it comes to the connected OS cross-platform.
#9 Android , Google Music and Content Distribution
It seems like Apple has enjoyed the luxury of being predominant player for the last several years in the mindshare of the music industry. With the shear volume of Android handsets and tablets flooding the market, it would only make sense to see some unique play into the music space by Google. This space has been a minefield of content rights licensing and business models. In 2001, the world will begin to relook at the Limewire’s and the Bit torrents of the world that have made such dent on the business models of music. Intel will launch a new architecture for content protection embedded on its chips that will find their way into the Android devices to come and the App Marketplaces will evolve with new dynamics for business models around the distribution and rights of music to attempt to give content owners more choices in revenue generation.
#10 Social Relevancy and the Android OS
It was rumored in 2010 that Facebook was attempting to launch their own devices the same way Google brought the reference platforms of Nexus One and Nexus S into the market. There is no stopping Facebook from moving forward with this strategy, but it is clear that further enhanced and improved Social Relevancy will become a key part of the entire OS of Android in the near future starting with Android 2.3. Facebook and Google have not always shared similar views, but with the large market penetration of Android moving forward they will find the right mix of cooperation strategies that will make this a platform that will leverage social interactions and conversations as a core to the overall user experience.