Will The Rise Of Android Come At The Expense Of The iPhone? : All Tech Considered Android is on the move. There's a view among some that the Android (mobile OS) revolution will happen sooner rather than later.
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Will The Rise Of Android Come At The Expense Of The iPhone?

Friend or foe? The face of the future? Will Android skate past the iPhone? Graphic courtesy of Google hide caption

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Graphic courtesy of Google

Android is an ominous name for a consumer electronics device. It conjures up images of a science-fiction future where machines subsume humanity. Well, watch out because there's a growing view out there that the Android (mobile OS) revolution is just over the horizon.

Tech research firm Gartner recently predicted that Android, the open mobile phone operating system developed and promoted by Google, will eclipse the iPhone in sales by the end of 2012.

Over at Betanews, Joe Wilcox has taken this prediction and run with it. He sees a correlation between the rise and fall of the Mac in the marketplace and the current run of the iPhone.

Put another way: iPhone is to Android — and somewhat Symbian OS — handsets as Macintosh was to the DOS/Windows PC in the 1980s and 1990s.

I have to say that I see his point. The iPhone rocks. It's blazing a trail for others to follow. But Apple, no matter how smart and well endowed with cash, can't match the armies arrayed against it in the long run.

With Google as their general, a growing number of developers and device manufacturers are marching forward with variations on the Android theme. They're attracted by the flexibility of Android's open architecture. It frees them from the constraints of Apple's highly regulated iPhone ecosystem.

At some point, all of the scratching and clawing for market share by Android champions and acolytes should drive innovation and lower prices for the public. On this trajectory, Android eventually has to come out on top.*

Does that mean Apple loses? Of course not. Apple has a very profitable business making Macs, despite commanding very little in terms of overall market share. Maybe that's its plan for the iPhone, too: maximize profits, not unit sales.

*The caveat being, of course, that only fools think they can accurately predict the future.