The year 2012 was momentous in the mobile device and mobile technology arena. We saw some awe-inspiring devices appear on the market and some that shouldn’t have ever left the manufacturers’ shelves. Android came into its own with the release of Android 4.0 and Android 4.x along with some top notch devices from Samsung. Apple launched the lower-costing smaller-sized iPad Mini, iPad 3 featuring Retina display and iPhone 5, all of which enjoyed great sales. However, on the innovation slide, Android skied ahead of Apple in 2012. Rewind to the start of 2012. There was news of ICS or Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.0 that would unify Android tablets and smartphones, finally putting to rest the fragmentation issues that had plagued Android’s adoption since years. Year 2011 also saw many Android tablets show up, only to fall flat on their face. Android was at a low ebb. But it all changed with ICS, and later the release of Android 4.2, Jelly Bean. The new OS was showed off on initial devices such as Google’s Nexus but that didn’t quite take off. It was Samsung that tipped the scale between iOS and Android.
The second half of 2012 saw Samsung releasing high quality devices such as Samsung Galaxy III, Galaxy Note II and the latest Galaxy Note 10.1. These smartphones and tablets were as good if not better than the reigning iPhone and iPad devices from Apple. Suddenly, the scales tipped Android’s way and Android shot ahead of iOS in smartphone sales in US.
Though Apple won the lawsuit against Samsung over intellectual property rights on the design of iPad 2 and iPhone 4, Samsung seems unaffected. In fact, it’s taking sweet revenge in the best way possible – beating Apple at what its best known for – innovation. The last year has seen Apple releases but they have not been outstanding or world shattering in any way. Apple has set its bar way up high and we expect it to maintain its status which is why last year’s run was less than impressive.
Android on the other hand seems to have grabbed part of Apple’s share with the Samsung products. While Android facilitated mobile device innovation, Google would not have the market share it enjoys today without supporting device manufacturers like HTC, LG, and most importantly, Samsung. Google’s own Nexus devices have been kind of lukewarm. Google seems to be intent on creating products for mass appeal rather than high quality niche products. I guess that’s a strategy too.
So, what’s in store for 2013? Surprisingly, the grapevine hasn’t caught any Apple rumors yet. Google may release its version of an Apple TV (the proposed Nexus Q was pulled back before its release) as it wants a Google alternative for Apple’s iTunes and Apple TV. Google’s team is also working hard on mobile app development with new apps and updates to Google Current, Sound Search, Google Now, Google Shopper, and other Android apps.
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