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Google Android's Potential to Disrupt the Handset Manufacturing Market

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Google Android is a disruptive technology with the power to change the mobile phone market by lowering market entry barriers to the all current and potential mobile phone manufacturers.

By Karn G. Bulsuk

At present, Nokia dominates the global handset market with 39% market share, followed by Samsung (17%) and Sony Ericsson (8.6%). Google Android is a disruptive operating system which has the potential to change that.

Android is a mobile operating system with a robust and friendly interface, packed with features for anything up to a full-featured smart phone. In a mobile phone’s development costs, the cost of developing a decent operating system and associated software is considerable.

The Android Interface
While Chinese mobile phone producers have been producing their own brand of cheap, low quality handsets or knock offs of popular models, the software has often been lacking. Although packed with features, the interface is often inadequate, with features often hard to access, and the overall build is of low quality. Although priced attractively, the mantra of “what you pay is what you get” applies here.

By giving Android away for free, Google has basically lowered market entry barriers to all handset manufacturers, who are now free to focus on design, hardware and quality at an attractive price range. Up-and-coming handset manufacturers can now begin to offer credible mainstream alternatives to the traditional incumbents.

Perhaps in a few years, the mobile phone marketplace will be dominated by smaller firms given a boost by this open source operating system. Google keeps doing what its best at: creating disruptive technology and opening up new markets, then giving it away for free.

Photo credit: Android simulator licences under a Creative Commons license. See here for more details.

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