updated 12:15 pm EST, Mon December 21, 2009
Android's multi-platform nature an advantage
Apple will soon face tough competition from Google when it comes to cellphone apps, argues ABI Research analyst Bhavya Khanna. Total industry app downloads are expected to grow to 5 billion in 2014, as compared to the 2.3 billion estimated for 2009. Apple will likely remain on top of the industry, says Khanna, but the company is forecast to lose some of its 2010 share to apps from Google's Android platform.
"The big beneficiary will be Android, which will see its market share of total application downloads increase from 11 percent of the market in 2009 to 23 percent in 2014," the analyst proposes.
Google's major advantage is said to be the hardware-independent nature of Android, which means there are already 14 phones with the OS, and more expected to launch in 2010 alone. The Motorola Droid, already available, is frequently cited as a chief iPhone competitor. As the number of Android phones grows, it may attract an increasing number of developers wanting to reach as many devices as possible.
Apple is also expected to be hurt by the launch of more stores from other phone makers and cellphone carriers, as well as a shift towards lower prices driven by existence of free or ad-supported software. Google, for example, may undercut turn-by-turn app sales through its introduction of a free Maps-based option.