The mobile device craze is bigger than it ever was, thanks to innovative gadgets like smartphones and tablets, which have taken over most of the mobile device market. Although laptops and PCs still have a place in the industry, their influence is not as great as it once was.
Operating systems like Android are becoming giants in both the smartphone and tablet sectors, emphasizing tools like Android controls to help organizations create mobile applications based on this vast network. A recent Gartner report said that worldwide shipments of smartphones, tablets and PCs will total approximately 2.4 billion units in 2013, increasing 5.9 percent from 2012.
"Consumers want anytime-anywhere computing that allows them to consume and create content with ease, but also share and access that content from a different portfolio of products. Mobility is paramount in both mature and emerging markets," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
At this point in time, Android has asserted itself as the most popular mobile operating system in the world, according to Gartner's findings. By the end of 2013, the Android platform will account for nearly 867 million units, with projections speculating that it will surpass more than 1 billion units in 2014. Windows-based devices will be ranked number two this year and next, while iOS and Macs will likely be ranked third in both years.
According to Milanesi, although the numbers associated with varying operating systems may appear to declare a winner, each platform is struggling to remain relevant in each mobile landscape.
"Apple is currently the more homogeneous presence across all device segments, while 90 percent of Android sales are currently in the mobile phone market and 85 percent of Microsoft sales are in the PC market," Milanesi said.
Android Shows No Signs of Slowing
The Android operating system may not be credited with kick-starting the smartphone craze, but it has made the industry what it is today, and will continue to impact the industry in the near future. An IHS iSuppli forecast said that Android shipments will total almost 3 billion units by 2016.
Daniel Gleeson, mobile analyst at IHS, said Android-powered smartphones are taking a firm hold on the industry. Google has spurred the platform's immense growth by offering an open-source platform that is provided to smartphone brands for free. As a result, Google hopes to generate revenue with mobile services and advertisements, Gleeson said.
"Such an open-source model means that Google offers handset makers the ability to customize Android easily and, by also eliminating licensing fees, is greatly encouraging adoption among smartphone handset manufacturers," Gleeson said.
This model is very different than the one taken by Apple, which has more of a closed system that it has direct control over. Apple also releases only one new iPhone each year for the most part, compared to Android devices that are not only available at various price points, but have new models being released all the time by many different companies.
With Apple and Google at the helm of the global smartphone race, the mobile industry appears to be in good hands. IHS iSuppli said that Apple and Google smartphones accounted for more than three-quarters of all smartphones in 2012, followed by Windows Phone, Symbian and BlackBerry, among others.
The popularity of smartphones is one of the most significant trends to influence the greater tech landscape in quite some time. These powerful gadgets make it possible for users to access the Internet anywhere, making email, music, videos and the web all available in the palm of their hands. As Windows Phone and BlackBerry attempt to carve out their own successful place in the burgeoning smartphone landscape, it appears that Android and iOS will continue to be the ones that lead the market for years to come.