Back many moons ago, HTC and Microsoft we're buddy-buddy. HTC was producing Windows Mobile devices, Microsoft was happy to be one of the leaders in the smartphone business, and everything chugged along nicely. Then the iPhone and Android showed up, changed the smartphone game completely, and Microsoft was essentially left in the dust. The company has since been trying to get back in the ring with Windows Phone, but high licensing costs and lack of third-party support make this an unappealing option to many hardware vendors – why pay for the OS (Windows Phone), when you can get one for free (Android)?
If you're a dedicated follower of tech news, you've probably heard the big story from late last night: Microsoft is buying Nokia. Holy cow, Redmond has an end-to-end distribution model! This could finally make Windows Phone a competitor! The phone and tablet market is getting its first major shakeup since the rise of Android!
Well, yes, and then again no. While it's true that the upcoming acquisition is a huge deal for Microsoft, and an even bigger deal for Nokia and anyone who's invested in the company (either in a monetary sense or as a customer), I can't see it having a huge impact on Android.
Changing ecosystems is hard. You have to download your apps all over again and if you're going to a platform that's not made by Google or Apple, you have to wonder whether or not you'll even have your apps available to you. Well, thankfully, Microsoft has stepped in to provide a tool for users to find out whether or not you'll be covered if you switch. I tried it out and guess what it found?
The Developer Economics 2013 report—a sort of State of the Union on app development—is out and it's packed with helpful tidbits, both for armchair analysts and programmers trying to make some sense out of this crazy software world. One of the most interesting observations the survey showed is there is still demand for a third platform. And right now they're getting it in a surprising place: on Blackberries.
Above is the graph of OSes that developers list as their "main" platform.
IDC's report for the first quarter of 2012 indicates that Google's Android continues to grow its market share to 59%, while Apple's iOS lags in second at 23%. Unsurprisingly Samsung has given the biggest boost to Android, accounting for a whopping 45.4% of all Android smartphone shipments worldwide.
In total 152.3 million smartphones were shipped in the first quarter of 2012, of which 89.9 million were Android-based smartphones (59%), 35.1 million were iOS devices (23%), 10.4 million were Symbian-based phones (6.8)%, followed by BlackBerry, Linux, and Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile devices.
It would appear that Sprint plans on going full speed ahead in focusing on product development for its 4G LTE lineup this year. David Owens, Sprint's VP of Product Development made clear at CES Wednesday that Sprint "won't be introducing any more WiMax smartphones," adding "April, May, June, July, August, those will be very aggressive times for us." This may be a hint that we could begin seeing LTE devices as early as April, which is great news for customers holding out for a new device (like Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, which is poised to be Sprint's first LTE device).