Google recently announced they had 10 billion downloads from Android Market. That’s more than decent but the thing that interests me is the rate of growth. In less than one year the rate of downloading trebled and the rate of downloading is still increasing. For most businesses that would be stressful, but Google cranks out more serving capacity pretty smoothly. They’ve had a lot of practice.
Mathematically, if they treble cumulative downloads every year the progression will go like this:
- 2012 – 30 billion
- 2013 – 90billion
- 2014 – 270 billion
- 2015 – 810 billion
About 2015 the growth should break unless every human on the planet buys a smart phone for the other ear… Sooner or later, Android/Linux could approach monopoly and they did it by competing on price/performance and not exclusive dealing. How is Wintel going to keep Linux in any form out of the “personal computer” space? They are not. OEMs and retailers will want this kind of growth in the PC market and it will happen. If M$’s current “partners” won’t do it, someone else will within a couple of years.
This kind of growth indicates that Android/Linux has mind-share. Consumers want it and no amount of advertising will change that for Wintel or for Apple. By the end of 2012 the matter will not be in doubt. The only question I have is how Android/Linux and GNU/Linux will carve up the markets. GNU/Linux should have some advantage in performance as much of Android/Linux apps is interpreted but the byte-code is compact so mobility is enhanced by using it. I would bet Android/Linux will dominate in the mobile space for the near future and GNU/Linux will take over the non-mobile space where people may expect/demand more speed than anything. If Java is more attractive for developers than other C-ish languages, GNU/Linux can run that too. It is pretty easy to port a portable language to GNU/Linux and the apps will work on any distro.
Why do I claim GNU/Linux will take over the non-mobile space? Because of the apps. GNU/Linux repositories work more of less the same way that app stores do and people like that. Wintel will have nothing like it until “8” ships and that’s not happening for months yet. FLOSS does apps stores better. Debian GNU/Linux has had APT working well for more than a decade and it handles all the apps, not just the OS. This is the one feature of Debian GNU/Linux that convinced me. Now that the idea of installing/updating all the apps and the OS from the network is proven/acceptable to ordinary folk, GNU/Linux will be proven/acceptable. M$ is vainly trying to reinvent the wheel but it will be too little and too late. This explosive growth in installing/updating from the web will burst through the walls of the garden. While the world considers whether or not “8” has merit, Linux will take over. 2012 will be a great and decisive year in the OS wars.