Despite a slight slackening in its rate of expansion, Android is set to pass one billion device sales this year, putting it well ahead of Apple’s mobile devices and the Windows phone; in fact, the Google-developed operating system has proven so successful that even rival Microsoft is willing to have Windows share devices with it.
Dual boot machines generally used to mean Linux-based systems with Windows partitions that did not know the other operating system was there. The new Intel duel boot machines, however, place Windows and Android side by side so that switching between them takes just a second or two, with no need to reboot. This flexibility will make it much easier for users to ensure that their mobile devices are fully compatible with their home computers and with software they are likely to need for work. Meanwhile, AMD is getting together with BlueStacks to develop a system that enables Android applications to be run within Windows itself.
In this new age of compatibility and cooperation, the big beneficiaries are likely to be the consumers, who will effectively get more for their money, and the marketers, who will find it easier to develop cross-system apps and related campaigns. The potential loser is Apple; although it trails behind Android in terms of device sales, Apple is well ahead on profits from these sales. This is because the two use different sales models, with Apple depending on revenue from the devices themselves while Google makes money from advertising sales made through Android, meaning it can afford to sell the devices themselves at a loss; from its point of view, more people owning the devices automatically means more money. This could put Apple in a corner as it is forced to compete with lower prices elsewhere, especially if the Windows phone is able to reduce prices as its sales expand, and Apple may be left more dependent than ever on brand loyalty unless it can innovate a way out.
Adding to the appeal of Android devices are two new developments. Firstly, the LG flexible phone is about to become available in America for the first time, which is bound to generate excitement; secondly, Samsung has completely revamped its tablet interface in a way likely to considerably increase its appeal. The rise of Android should certainly give marketers something to think about at a point where the public is increasingly moving away from accessing the internet through traditional computers. Marketing strategies will have to move with it.