With the unveiling of the next Android OS 'Key Lime Pie' a possibility at its Google I/O event, starting tomorrow, it seems the existing flavors are doing pretty well. Analyst figures from Gartner show almost 75% of smartphones now run the OS, powered by growth in Asia.
Android By The Big Numbers
Analyst firm Gartner has published its latest market share for mobile devices, and Android is so far ahead of the pack that the figures become almost meaningless. For the record, 156 million Android units were sold compared to 38 million iPhones with only BlackBerry and Microsoft OS-powered devices hovering around the six million mark. That's massive market share (and growing), but since few in the Android family can match Apple for revenue and ecosystem purchases, it hardly tells the full story.
Asia represents the growth engine for Android both in sales terms and huge numbers of locally produced devices selling into China and other countries. Note that Microsoft double its sales on last year, suggesting that Windows Phone 8's wheels are finally starting to gain some traction. Of course this all ignores profits, and we generally see only Samsung and Apple making any money, with others relying on a major turnaround or on a knife-edge.
With Samsung's dominance of the Android market, and its increasing move away from Android branding and experience with its own OS layer and software, Google will be looking at ways to reignite awareness and interest in the core OS and its other products. Some stories ahead of I/O such as the unified cloud storage announcement and Google+ expansion are just the beginning.
Devices and Some Key Lime Pie
Google's I/O event is just the place with a look at the next Android OS, Key Lime Pie top of the agenda for many, and perhaps some new hardware to drive Google's own device projects. However, it is possible we'll only see Android 4.3 Jelly Bean in action, as KLP seems buried in development still. A new LG-made Nexus smartphone could be revealed, hoping to gloss over the sales issues that were had with the previous model.
There's also much talk about a new tablet, and those who remember last year's event will want to know whatever happened to the Nexus Q music/media sphere? On the Chrome side, Google will be keen to keep pushing the increasing variety of Chromebook PCs as well as Chrome OS and the browser.
We'll provide updates throughout Google I/O as developers are shown off all the new tricks and highlights, while waiting for Apple, which has a few miserly iOS updates to show for its year so far sat patiently on the sidelines, to respond.