Will Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich melt?

google unveils android 4.0 aka ice cream sandwich - unlock worldwide

google unveils android 4.0 aka ice cream sandwich - unlock worldwide

I though I had nailed down which Smartphone and OS was next on my shopping list, when suddenly BAM! I was bombarded by four press releases in ten days; all from the latest and greatest trying to convince me that there is better “ice cream” out there? So now I am undecided as to which flavour to pick? They have apple, blackberry, mango and an ice cream sandwich too!

Here is what’s on offer:

Ice Cream Sandwich

Google unveiling the latest version of their Android operating software for mobile phones, and yes you guessed, Ice Cream Sandwich is the name, or for those of you that hate the name, it is also known as Android 4.0. Google is launching this new OS upgrade  in partnership with Samsung on the new Galaxy Nexus handset.

BlackBerry® BBX

Research In Motion, is now touting their next operating system, one that merges the best of QNX and OS7. This will be known as BlackBerry® BBX and will work on their range of smartphones and BlackBerry® PlayBook tablets.

Apple iOS5

Apple unveiled their new iOs5 operating system to coincide with the release of their new iPhone 4S. iOs5 works on Apple’s range of desktops and laptop computers, iPhone smartphones, iPods, and iPad tablets.

Microsoft Mango 7.5

Mango is Microsoft’s sexy name for their latest version of Windows Phone 7.5. The are teaming up with handset maker Nokia and Mango 7.5 will be powering Nokia’s new Lumia line of smartphones.

So what’s the difference?

Here at UnlockWorldwide.com we have reviewed most operating systems and they all have very similar features, with the look and feel of the interface being the key differentiator. Most smartphones and tablets are now completely touch-screen. Removing any external buttons and replacing them with on-screen icons has been a priority for all the operating platforms. In the eyes of  the consumer the differences can sometimes be minimal, but not for the big brands, and similarities have led to increased litigation and major patent infringement wars between the top manufacturers.

The intricate differences are too many to list as just downloading one application can change the look and feel of a device. There are however major features that we may want to look for in a smartphone:

  • Organisation – A touch screen means endless buttons, so how to organise them into easy to find groups is a key factor.
  • Visibility – The features that are most regularly used must be easily accessible.
  • Quick Access – No need to log in to get notifications or use features such as taking a quick photo.
  • Multitasking – Ability to move around applications and come back to where you left off without loosing information.
  • Security – Don’t get your information hacked. Keep it locked. A cool new Android 4.0 feature is face recognition unlocking.
  • Swap Content – Tap to exchange information or  content (Android Beam, Blackberry Tag, Apple Bump).
  • Email Capability – Organise emails in sub-folders and handle different email addresses to keep work and personal communication separate.
  • Voice recognition – Typing can be distraction, especially when driving. Voice commands is the future.
  • Seamless Integration – Synchronisation between devices. Pick up where you left off on your work PC on your tablet computer, and then finish it off at home on your laptop or TV.
  • Applications – No matter how good a device is, if the apps you need are not available for that platform  then it us useless.
  • Payments – NFC or Near Field Communications allows you swipe your phone to make payments instead of using a plastic credit card.

So what is at stake for the mobile manufacturers and OS makers?

Early brand adoption from consumers is key. With operating systems now seamlessly working across different devices from desktop and laptop computers, to phones, to tablets, and even televisions, brand loyalty will become harder to break. For example if you are using an Apple laptop , Apple iPad, and iPhone, it would be very hard for Samsung to sway you away from using an iPhone and replacing it with a new Galaxy II S; not if the operating systems are not compatible.

Other features like Near Field Communications will become huge revenue producers for handset makers and is a big reason to want to dominate worldwide wireless devices. Imagine getting a percentage of the money spent every time someone swipes a smartphone instead of a plastic credit card. That is a big number.

Who’s on the outside watching in? 

Not all the big players have the latest and greatest operating system. There are however very big consumer electronic manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, LG, and Sony Ericsson that do offer an array of these important devices that we all want to seamlessly connect across. These manufacturers are using Google’s Android operating system and to smaller degree Windows Mango. The million dollar question is do they need compete with their own operating system, or is using third-party software enough to help them keep and increase market share?

Why is Google vulnerable? 

The one manufacturer we did not mention above was Motorola. And that is because the are being bought by Google. And while this is good news for Google. It might not be good news for HTC, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG. They all market their smartphones and tablets using the Android platform and Google has now become a direct competitor.

In 2011 Android driven handsets accounted for around 48% of all smartphones shipped. And Motorola certainly did not account for the lion share of these sales. Google runs the risk of alienating manufacturers and this could mean a quick meltdown in market share if they choose to adopt a different OS. Also, improving on 48% in such a competitive market place could prove difficult.

Motorola is not a big player across different consumer electronic devices, and does not make computers or televisions. This still leaves Google with a tough battle to fight as seamless integration between devices becomes more important . This is where Sony and Samsung might have the edge over everyone else. Unless of course Apple starts making TV’s.

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