Before the court verdict in the recent U.S. patent litigation battle between Apple and Samsung, we discussed how whichever way it went there were likely to be huge ramifications for the mobile phone industry. The conclusion resulted in a win for Apple against Samsung although Samsung is to appeal and also led Apple to name some Samsung Android devices it is looking to ban from sale. It now seems that the Samsung Apple ruling is pushing Android alternative thinking from manufacturers, looking to avoid complications with future devices they come up with.
Earlier today we discussed how Samsung plans to retaliate and has confirmed it will sue Apple and possibly attempt to ban the iPhone 5 if it arrives with 4G LTE connectivity. The legal problems between the two giant companies look as though they will therefore intensify further, leading some manufacturers to consider planning more smartphones using alternative operating systems to Google’s Android. Although some companies have declared that they intend to stick with Android, rumblings going on behind the scenes indicate that this is not the full story.
An ItWeb article points out that two thirds of smartphones now use the Android operating system but that some makers such as HTC, ZTE and Sony might now become wary of potential problems ahead with using Android. However plenty of big names have declared since the Samsung and Apple ruling that they will continue producing Android devices and Reuters reported that Sony, ZTE, Huawei and Lenova all confirmed this with them. ZTE’s chief of business development in Europe, Chris Edwards, said for instance that the ruling, “is not relevant to what we are doing.”
Sony has just launched three new Android smartphones at IFA in Berlin while Huawei announced four and the VP of Huawei’s phone business, Lars-Christian Weissewange declared, “we have made our choice,” while Sony felt the ruling was not impacting consumer thinking. However deeper below the surface some manufacturers are looking to Android alternatives and bearing in mind that the Sony and Huawei Android smartphones just announced would have been in the planning for some time it’s hardly surprising that at this stage the companies insist that Android is the way forward.
Samsung produced almost half of the 68% share of Android smartphones sold in the last quarter and in that same timeframe Microsoft Windows Phone devices accounted for only 3% of the market share. However since the ruling shares in Nokia leapt and this is because the company is the main Windows Phone device manufacturer, indicating that some people feel that the Windows Phone operating system may now be the way forward. Nokia has a much-anticipated Windows Phone smartphone ready to be launched and meanwhile the main amount of Samsung’s devices have run on Android but Samsung has now just announced a new Windows Phone 8 device. It seems then that even Samsung realizes the value of placing its eggs in more than one basket.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised then that one analyst, Peter Cunningham of Canalys, feels, “Today, all Android vendors are considering their software options.” As Blackberry devices are made by RIM and Apple is the sole maker of its iOS iPhones, these two operating systems are not available to other manufacturers, making Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS look likely to pick up a significant amount more of the market share. However one drawback at the moment is that the Android apps market is massive with around half a million apps available from Google Play while Windows Phone apps only number around 100,000 so far.
One thing for sure is that the patent litigation battles look set to go on and the next few months in the mobile phone industry are likely to be fascinating as clear winners and losers emerge and the longer-term effects become more apparent. We’d like to know what readers think about the Samsung Apple ruling and just how far it will impact on Google’s Android OS. Do you feel that doubts about Android will be short-lived and that this is a brief hiccup? Maybe you feel that Android may suffer more severely and that Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform will gain significantly more users? Let us know with your comments.