At 135 devices, the Android army marches on but what happened to the Windows Mobile legions?

The number of Android devices is rising steadily; it’s already up to 135.  Android devotees should rightly rejoice.  However, Android is not the first mobile platform with an open licensing strategy. A quick visit to pdadb.net lets us count the number of devices that shipped for every mobile platform in history.  We can also see the current market shares as listed by Gartner for these platforms.

The numbers of SKUs (stock keeping units) that have shipped historically vs. the market shares of the mobile phones running those platforms are (see Footnote below for some caveats):

The same data in a scatter plot:(SKUs on the x-axis and share on the y-axis)

The thing that jumps out is how uncorrelated the two quantities are.  The Windows Mobile/CE number is such an outlier that it breaks any attempt to link the two variables.

What’s likely to happen is that since the licensing of Android is even less problematic than it was for WinCE (i.e. it’s both free as in beer and free as in speech) the number of Android SKUs is likely to overtake WinCE.  In other words, we’re very likely to see Android grow from hundreds to thousands SKUs.

However, the real question for the Android platform isn’t whether it will have licensees. WinCE proved that there is vast demand from many companies to build cloned and undifferentiated devices. The real challenge is whether Android can achieve significant volumes without fragmentation to keep the platform/network effect going.

The WinCE platform was actually less fragmented through its life than Android is today. This is understandable since the source code was decidedly not open and thus not modifiable and new versions were released far less frequently. And even with a high price tag, it was wildly popular with licensees. Nevertheless, the volumes never came and Microsoft was forced to abandoned the whole strategy.  The next version of Windows Mobile (Windows Phone 7) will follow an “iPhone lite” model of highly restricted configurations and device and ecosystem specification.

So will Android follow the fate of Windows Mobile with an even more fragmented, bazaar-like licensing model? Or will thousands of undifferentiated Android devices swamp their integrated competitors?

Footnote: The total SKU number includes non-cellular devices whereas the market share number includes only cellular devices. Omitting non-cellular devices will not detract from the pattern or change the correlation meaningfully.  The argument can also be made that the “platform” value lies in both cellular and non-cellular devices (e.g. iPad) and they should both be counted.  Unfortunately there are no market share statistics that blend both device types into one market.

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The black ships from Cupertino

Softbank stopped accepting reservations for the iPad after only three days.

In one Twitter exchange, Mitsuru Yoshii sent a message to Softbank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son saying that the iPad was the “21st century’s black ships.”

In response to the historical reference to the U.S. Naval fleet that opened up Japan to the West in 1853, Mr. Son wrote back: “Indeed!”

via Japan’s iPad Frenzy Signals a Sea Change – WSJ.com.

In Japan the term “Black Ships” has come to symbolise a threat imposed by Western technology but also the opening of Japan to the West and the awakening of imperial ambitions that lasted for a century.

Dell Streak Phone

0,,i=226814&sz=1,00.jpg 643×449 pixels.

Would you buy this?

Instant messaging: AFK

In 2007, 14% of Britons’ online time was spent on IM, according to the UK Online Measurement company – but that has fallen to just 5%, the firm says, basing its findings on the habits of a panel of 40,000 computer users.

The study was released shortly after AOL sold its ICQ instant messaging service $187.5m (£124m) – less than half what the company paid for it in 1998.

And in September 2009, a survey of internet use by the New York-based Online Publishers Association found that the amount of time spent by surfers on traditional communications tools, including IM and e-mail, had declined by 8% since 2003.

via BBC News – Instant messaging: This conversation is terminated.

In other news today Yahoo and Nokia announced a worldwide partnership. Yahoo will provide e-mail and chat services on Nokia phones. The services will be co-branded.

OMG LOL.

Does iPhone really have 72% of Japanese smartphone market?

MM Research does not count Symbian as a smartphone platform. This makes them inconsistent with any other analyst for counting smartphones.  So shouldn’t Symbian be included?

In a comment to iPhone has 72% of Japanese smartphone market | Asymco it’s been pointed out that 12 million Symbian sold in the same time frame as Apple sold 1.7 million phones in Japan.

It would seem then that the correct market share for iPhone would be 12%, with Symbian having 83% and “others” having less than 5%.

However

Symbian in Japan is not the same thing as Symbian elsewhere.  Symbian in Japan is used as a low level OS by Fujitsu, Sony Ericsson Japan, Mitsubishi, Sharp and others to provide devices running the MOAP(Symbian) software platform.  MOAP (Mobile Oriented Applications Platform) is the software platform for NTT DoCoMo’s FOMA (Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access) service.

Unlike Series 60 and UIQ MOAP(Symbian) is not a open development platform.

MOAP is also supported by Linux with Panasonic and NEC using it in something called MOAP(Linux).

MOAP(Linux) is also not an open development platform.

So the “72% share for iPhone” in Japan must be stated with this important caveat: that Symbian and Linux are not included because, due to not having exposed APIs, they are classified as feature phone platforms.

US digital music sales exceeded physical media in 2009

US music share 2009

via AppleInsider | Apple’s iTunes lead increasing, now selling 26.7% of US music.

iPad outsells iPhone (part II)

“Checks indicate that US iPad sales remain strong post-launch, driven by rising consumer visibility to iPad’s user experience, sustained PR/word-of-mouth marketing, 3G iPad launch, and broadening iPad apps/content,” Abramsky wrote in a note to clients this morning. “We believe Apple is now selling >200k iPads/week, greater than US Macs (est. 110k Macs/week) and just below US iPhone 3GS first quart (246k/week).”

Retail checks in mid-May showing widespread iPad stockouts at Apple stores and Best Buy. The 3G iPad is sold out at many Apple stores and about 25 percent of them now have only selected Wi-Fi iPads available. Waiting lists are not uncommon.

… Abramsky raised his global iPad outlook for 2010 from 5 million to 8 million.

via Apple Selling More iPads Than Macs | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD.

iPad is not only outselling iPhone version 1, but, soon, iPhone version 3.