Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Is there really room for a third mobile OS?

There was a graph on the Asymco site that caught my attention today. It is shown below.

Few things jumped at me:
  1. The amount of smartphones shipped is growing like crazy. Not that I doubted it, but it is nice to see an exponential curve. It is good for the entire industry
  2. Android growth is just spectacular. I do not believe I have seen anything like this in any market
  3. Symbian is disappearing, while BlackBerry is shrinking fast, in particular recently. I would bet that in a few quarters the BBOS curve will match the one from Symbian
  4. Windows is not growing, actually the opposite
  5. BADA is showing up for the first time, with a significant 4%, four times Windows (!) and a third of BlackBerry already
I wrote before that I thought there was no room for four mobile OSs. I felt one between Windows and BlackBerry was not going to make it. Considering Nokia is behind Windows, and the strength of Microsoft, I was betting on Windows to be #3.

Now I am wondering if there will ever be a #3. I mean, one with significant market share. The way this graph looks, knowing that a Nokia with Windows is not going to be here in Q3 (therefore, this graph is going to look even worse for Q3), considering that the bottom of the market could be taken eventually by BADA, one would conclude there will be two mega players (iOS and Android) and there will just be crumbs for the rest (e.g. below 10%).

After all, 3 is the perfect number, but developers would not mind having just two. I think I have seen this pattern before. Last time, one took 90% eventually. I do not think this is going to happen in mobile, though.