Since I spend most of my time thinking about what will happen, at the end of each year, rather than looking forward I like to look back to see how wrong I’ve been. The great thing about being wrong is that you learn something. Especially if you use a foundational theory to tie concepts together. Theory building is all about finding anomalies that adjust and improve it.
Fortunately, exactly one year ago, on December 30 2009 I wrote an article asking if Android was disruptive. It turned out to be the right question to ask for 2010.
What have I learned since?
With a market share of 31.5 percent, Nokia is still the largest vendor of handsets in the Indian market, followed by Chinese brand G’Five with about 10 percent share, IDC said on Wednesday.
No, I haven’t heard of G’Five either. The article goes on to say that there are 68 new vendors in the market accounting for 41% of total shipments. There were only five new vendors with a share of 1% in the first quarter of 2008.
It was not long ago that Nokia held over 70% of the Indian market. That market is now larger but the share for Nokia has dropped by half at least. The share was not lost to Samsung but to 63 new entrants. They managed to capture 40% of the market, roughly equal to what Nokia lost.
These new vendors will launch Android phones next year or the year after that. According to IDC, Android obtained 9.4% in the third quarter up from 2.9% y/y. The number of Android models went from 2 to 19 in the same time frame.
What does this mean for Your favorite mobile OS?
When reading the comments disputing the possible end of the voice-phone era I’m reminded of similar comments disputing the end of the PDA era.
Although the Apple Newton pioneered the market in 1992 and John Sculley came up with the acronym, the Newton did not sell in significant volumes. It wasn’t until 1997 with the Palm Pilot that the PDA market took off. Microsoft quickly followed with a licensed OS based on Windows CE. In 2001 Microsoft launched the Pocket PC brand to cement its attack on the PDA market. The first phones using a Microsoft OS were using something called Pocket PC Phone Edition. The first Nokia smartphones (Communicators) were built like mobile PDAs.
The logic was quite compelling. The original PDA was built to mobilize contacts, calendars and notes. They replaced bulky paper organizers and seamlessly synced to PC productivity software like Outlook. It was a compelling product in the US where small business customers needed to keep track of hundreds of contacts. Users could even ‘beam’ contacts to each other via infrared. The idea of adding a phone function to the device made sense insofar as contacts could be immediately dialed from the contact app rather than typed into another device’s phone keypad.
By the early 2000′s PDAs were forecast to sell by the hundreds of millions.
There are now well over 390,366 apps in the app store
via 10,000 Apps! – Presented by 148Apps.com :: 10,000 iPhone and iPod Touch applications in the iTunes App Store.
Since launch, December has been the month with the most apps added. In December 2008 3,800 apps were added, in 2009 25,517 and in 2010 it looks like we might get nearly 30k new apps.
That amounts to nearly 1000 new apps per day.
It also seems that 500k apps will have arrived by mid-2011. As the production of apps continues to grow one wonders if this new medium will turn out to become more popular than recorded music in terms of creative output.
 That includes about 65,000 inactive apps.
In a recent article I made the claim:
My bet is that by the end of 2012, it will be hard to find any branded phones which won’t run a smartphone
I also showed how pricing has evolved over the last three years.
Two days later an article in Fortune’s Google24/7 blog highlighted the possible price points of low-end smartphones: