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2 Billion Reasons Why Android Will Forever Dominate

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From now until the end of the year, 250 million more Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android devices will come online, bringing Android's total army to 1 billion strong. According to Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, low-cost devices will help drive Android's total reach to 2 billion active devices in the coming years. In other words, most people's first encounter with a smartphone will be an Android device.

This is both a blessing and a curse for Google, which founded Android on a platform of openness. In one respect, it has allowed Google to command elements of the mobile experience, which should translate into more lucrative search queries for Google. But on the other hand, Android's openness puts Google at risk of other businesses putting their best interests ahead of Google's.

I can say for certain that Android's approach has created developer attraction that differs in scale than what Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) can offer. By and large, Apple developers make money off of how many people download their application. Google, on the other hand, gives developers an opportunity to modify and own more of the mobile experience on a much higher level, which is a far more powerful preposition.

Although Apple may command about 73% of industry's operating profits, Android's openness invites the possibility of more innovation to the smartphone experience since than what Apple could ever offer. To really do Android some justice, it should never be compared to Apple on a sheer monetary basis. There are far more business opportunities to consider for an Android developer, which are inherently more difficult to measure.

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) Home is a testament not only to Facebook's interest in owning more of the mobile experience, but also confirmation that Android is a more innovative smartphone platform than Apple iOS. Eric Schmidt was recently quoted that he thinks what Facebook and Amazon has done to the Android experience as "fantastic," because it shows how open Android really is. The fact that Google allows major competitive threats to piggyback off of Android's 70.1% market share is nothing short of amazing.

Android's openness may in fact undermine Google's built-in moneymakers, but it's never going to stop a user from opening up a browser and going to

As one of the most dominant Internet companies ever, Google has made a habit of driving strong returns for its shareholders. However, like many other web companies, it's also struggling to adapt to an increasingly mobile world. Despite gaining an enviable lead with its Android operating system, the market isn't sold. That's why it's more important than ever to understand each piece of Google's sprawling empire. In The Motley Fool's new premium research report on Google, we break down the risks and potential rewards for Google investors. Simply click here now to unlock your copy of this invaluable resource.

Read/Post Comments (10) | Recommend This Article (8)

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  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 6:03 AM, JT1951 wrote:

    You say: "To really do Android some justice, it should never be compared to Apple on a sheer monetary basis."

    And while your at it to be really fair let's say that Android does not have HUNDREDS of different models of phones competing with basically ONE Apple phone model ( counting the older models as the same phone ).

    Android certainly has grown fast....... as you can expect in that is was given FREE by Google. Google basically reverse engineered the Apple iOS, made some things round that were square and added a few of their own ideas to the mix.....and then gave it away.

    Android is TOYOTA and iOS is Porsche. The Apple operating system is made to work simple and clean with iCloud and with more security. It does that. Sure the Android system offers more flexibility but it is also more prone to hacking.

    And lets look at income..... Apple has 70% of smart phone profits on a small percent of total phones sold. Seems to me that is a smart way to do it. Quality sells and has lots of repeat customers and loyal followers. A recent survey showed 92% of iPhone owners would upgrade to the next iPhone model. Then you add the fact tablets are replacing many computers. Apple iPhones, iPads and their Macs work seamlessly together. You buy something on one and it will automatically be on all your other devices. You only pay once. Your music on one device goes on all your devices without paying anything more. Apple is simple and works great.

    That is why so many people buy Apple products at a premium to all the other brands. That does not make them FANBOYS because they buy Apple products, it makes them people who want the best experience no matter the brand and price.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 7:54 AM, yahoouser4529 wrote:

    I am not a fan of android but I use it because there is little choice. Iphone is too expensive and so is blackberry. Windows phone is expensive too. The android phone I use costs only 65 dollars and it was bought brand new for 65 last month. It is froyo version and even though not the latest, it still has swype and voice recognition that is remarkably accurate. The only reason android leads is because its the cheapest out of all smartphone operating systems and nowadays many are broke. If i had the money, I'd have gone for blackberry z10

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 8:18 AM, knpstr wrote:

    Android doesn't have 100's of models. You're thinking about hardware, Google doesn't make the hardware themselves at the moment. Android is the software, just as iOS is the software. Android allows other companies to modify their software, which means it is more "open", Apple is much more restrictive, so Android allows for the bigger opportunities for developers as they can mold it anyway they want.

    Android also works simple and seamlessly with the cloud. If you have a Google account all of your information syncs automatically to all of your devices PC/Tablet/Laptop/Mobile via the Cloud. Android is also built off of a Linux platform which is stable as well. So, I believe your concerns are not justified.

    The key in much of Apple's business model is superior marketing. They add a lot of "perceived value" through selling their products as fashionable, with a lot of hype. In reality, comparing tech specs, apple sells inferior technology at a higher price. Certainly that is a good business model, as long as they can sustain their brand value. Selling less product for more money will have large margins for sure. But the iPhone hasn't been superior to Android products on a technical basis for some time, and that is do to what the hardware developers are doing, LG/Samsung/etc, etc.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 8:42 AM, eidsonb wrote:

    Yawn,,,,iOS is old and Stale...Android is buggy and a security nightmare and its open code leads to many other issues....BOTH are based on old computer languages...UNIX and Linux...

    Nothing dominates forever...if so we would still have trains or evolves...

    Now go buy a real phone with a mobile computing OS...and that would be BB10

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 8:48 AM, fugeguy wrote:

    2 senarios:

    Some people like being controlled in every little aspect of their lives...

    Born into a government run hospital, go to government run daycare while mommy and daddy both work all day to pay taxes, 16 years in .gov school and then after 22 years of programming and pigeon holeing you get to slave away in a .gov job for40 to 45 years and then....

    Perfectly comfortable Apple owner.

    Second senario- must always have the latest thing. Always trendy dosen't mind getting fleeced as long as everyone else is naked too.

    Also a comfortable Apple owner who also has zero home equity despite 20 years of mortgage payments.

    Then there is the evil open source droid. All the options and being able to chose how you want things to operate- scary and stuff. And oh dread the company is not printing money hand over fist and basically shafting its customers- oh the horror.

    Well I hate to tell you control freak dumbed down sheep- open source always wins and unless you are sucessful in running your competition out of business or buy them and squash them you are done. Just a matter of when.

    All because freedom is better than control. A lesson I hope the US never completely forgets...

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 8:49 AM, cochiaj wrote:

    I don't have an iphone but several of my friends do. I love my Android phone. I will never buy an iphone. There was no reason for Apple to just let AT&T have the iphone for so long. I don't have AT&T and never will so I couldn't have the iphone. AT&T exclusively had the iphone for 5 years (I think) before any other phone carrier had it. So I am used to Android. There are more Android based phones probably due to the same reason there are more Windows based computers than Macs ---- cost!! I love my Android based phone. It's not hard to get used to.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 10:14 AM, TRIndyWest wrote:

    yahoouser4529, it's cheaper because it's open architecture and freeware. The hardware makers don't have to pay licensing fees to Apple or Microsoft.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 10:48 AM, businessgypsy wrote:

    @TRIndyWest, Android is neither free nor open - but you are headed in the right direction with your thinking. OS control by any entity, no matter how currently strong, is already in the process of bleeding out. Truly open mobile OS is developing on several fronts, most noticeably Intel's Tizen project. The leap frog that makes this whole argument moot will be the inclusion of the OS onboard with chip purchase for manufacturers, and published sourcecode for developers that doesn't require the imprimatur of any official "app" store for distribution. Apple, Micosoft, Google phones? As quaint as buying a black rotary-dial from Bell South (or, as I remember them, Southern Bell. Loved that name.) I'll bet a bottle of peaty single malt that my words will ring true 3 years from this date.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:10 AM, Gary03mw wrote:


    "There was no reason for Apple to just let AT&T have the iphone for so long."

    Yes there was. Apple had to agree to a long exclusive contract with AT&T to get their terms. Take a look at your Android phone and notice the words Verizon (or whatever carrier you have) on the front. Now take a look at your buddies iPhone and notice the lack of a carrier name on the device. Notice how many Android devices are full of bloatware installed by the carrier. Then notice how an iPhone only comes preinstalled with the Apps that Apple wants on there.

    Working so closely with AT&T was also how Apple had a break though with visual voicemail. Essentially for Apple to get control of the platform, app stores, visual design, etc. They had to agree to a long term exclusive deal.

  • Report this Comment On April 20, 2013, at 11:19 AM, Gary03mw wrote:

    As for this whole open vs closed debate. It's really more proprietary vs fragmented. Everyone is slowly adopting the proprietary approach.

    Apple has been proprietary. BB is proprietary. Microsoft is trying their hand at hardware much more with tablets (the Surface is proprietary). Google is realizing that they put all the work into Android yet Samsung is making all the money. Basically Google did the R&D and got forked by the two most profitable Android manufactures (Samsung and Amazon). So now they have bought Motorola and have also been trying their hand with a proprietary system. It doesn't help that in places like China Google isn't even the default search on Android because its replaced with Baidu and other Chinese services.

    And this is all good. Proprietary systems get regular updates, they are inherently more secure, they have vetted app stores, less malware, less bloatware, ecosystem advantages like BBM and iMessage, app development becomes easier.

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