Recently Canalys reported phenomenal growth of Android/Linux smart phones in China.
“Android has become a major growth driver in China, running on 81% of the smart phones shipped in China in Q2 2012.”
That’s 10% more than the share globally. Further, globally Apple is in second place with only 19% compared to 68% Android/Linux share of units shipped in Q2.
Of course, China is a huge market with the most potential in the near term to soak up many millions more units in the coming year or two. Eventually everyone in China who wants one will have one but by then the rest of the world will be in high gear and it won’t be to buy more expensive kit.
I think this phenomenon is not lost on OEMs of all kinds. FLOSS has a natural advantage in the market, price, all else being equal. The myth that Chinese-made products for Apple are wonderful while Chinese-made products with Android/Linux are second class is not sustainable. I think more gadgets will be produced with */Linux and some of them will be desktop/notebook PCs. Expect that later this year when M$ attempts to flog “8” on the world. */Linux will be price-competitive and since M$ is announcing the viability of ARM, that will be a major vector for GNU/Linux onto retail shelves. Of course, */Linux has a price-advantage for notebooks/desktops/tablets and thin clients too.
Apple’s tablets are clinging to their popularity but many cheaper units are selling. Apple has a good grip but not a monopoly there. I think */Linux will have traction when more tablets sell. At the moment the market for tablets is still very young. The world does not need $600 tablets as much as it needs $100 tablets. Apple cannot produce those but the world can with FLOSS.
SJVN has just posted on the tablet wars:
“As we head toward the 2012 holiday season, I expect iPad to finally have serious competition from Android tablets. I suppose it’s possible that Microsoft, with its Surface and Windows 8 tablets running on x86 processors and Windows RT tablets running on ARM processors, could be a contender as well, but I don’t foresee that. Android and its various hardware vendors have just spent the past two years showing how hard it is to compete with Apple in the tablet market; Windows is too late to the game to compete in this round. It might catch up later, but right now the story is Android.”