Android 2.0: The iPhone killer at last?

Get past the hype: Here's the real deal on Android's chances to unseat the iPhone

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How the mobile market will pan out

The mobile market is young and fluid enough to confound any predictions. For example, Android could fail under the competing interests and reactionary approaches taken by its big-company backers, or it could become the standard forced onto consumers by these dominant providers. If Verizon is disappointed with Android, it could turn to Palm's WebOS and give Palm a new chance at meaningful success -- unless Verizon cuts a deal with Apple instead. Microsoft may pull a rabbit out of a hat and reinvent Windows Mobile in an insanely compelling way, though a Zune-like result is more apt given its history.

Still, my bet is that when the smoke clears after a few years, iPhone and BlackBerry will be what matters in North America, with BlackBerry becoming the "safe" choice for businesses that don't want their employees accessing the Web or running personal apps -- the lock-down device, essentially -- and the iPhone being the dominant device by individuals and most businesses. In Europe, I see a three-way market led by Nokia's Symbian and followed closely by the iPhone, with the BlackBerry being the choice of the multinational business and government agency crowd.

In Asia and the rest of the world, I haven't a clue. My belief is that Nokia's Asian dominance has more to do with a slow awakening to mobile devices as information devices outside Japan and South Korea, and Nokia's not exactly been an innovator in its Symbian efforts. Latin America and Africa are also too new to the information revolution to know what will take off there; thin-client apps that run on the regions' 2G networks simply make more sense for now than the thick-client, bandwidth-intensive uses that the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Nokia, et al. devices are moving to.

The wild card remains Android. And we'll see soon how that hand plays.

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This story, "Android 2.0: The iPhone killer at last?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in mobile, Google Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry at InfoWorld.com.

Galen Gruman is executive editor of InfoWorld for features and news.

This story, "Android 2.0: The iPhone killer at last?" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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