Manufacturers shipped 32.9 million Android smartphones in the final quarter of last year, while Nokia “only” shipped 31 million, according to a widely-echoed Canalys report.
“2010 has been a fantastic year for the smart phone market,” Canalys vice president Chris Jones said in a statement. “After a difficult 2009, the speed with which the market has recovered has required real commitment and innovation from vendors and they have risen to the challenge.”
In 2011 and beyond, Jones expects the smartphone to evolve remarkable new powers as vendors compete with each other for new customers and try to tempt existing smartphone owners into upgrading: dual-core processors for running more complex apps at higher speeds; NFC (near field communications) for paying with phones the way one would with a credit card; and even three-dimensional displays.
But for now, one of the most important differentiators between the various smartphone platforms is their selection of apps. Apple currently leads that race with over 350,000 apps in iTunes, while Android only counts about 100,000 in the Android Marketplace. Other platforms, including Nokia, lag significantly behind those two.
To try to catch up to Apple, deep-pocketed Google intends to grow its app community with the brute force technique of hiring engineers and product managers with mobile app expertise to build Android apps in-house, according to the Wall Street Journal:
The new app-development efforts will be scattered across Google’s offices world-wide, the people familiar with the matter said. The company, they said, will bankroll small groups of engineers to create a range of apps, from the kinds of games made famous by Rovio Mobile Ltd.’s Angry Birds to services that are based on a user’s location, like the popular app from Foursquare Labs Inc. that lets users ‘check in’ with friends at, say, a store or park.”
“If you build it, they will come,” goes the saying, applied here to smartphone platforms and app developers.
And if they don’t come fast enough, Google counters, start paying them to show up.
Image courtesy of Flickr/Saad Irfan