The Andoid OS is bound to continue and destroy Apple in the short term. The real question is whether or not it will be the long term winner. This battle between Apple and other OS manufacturer’s has happened before. You certainly don’t need a history degree to realize that Microsoft and Apple had this same battle when Windows came out and began to be utilized by competing PC manufacturers at a time when Apple’s own OS was relatively unchallenged (GUI-wise) at the time. Eventually Windows was ubiquitous and though Apple continued to create and use their own operating system, it had lost the battle not only for software dominance but also for hardware dominance.
That quite simply must not happen in this case if Apple wants to win the long term war. In this case the iOS brings with it a few things that the Android OS doesn’t have; specifically an overseer that adds system-wide features that software manufacturers can rely on being there and an App Store that is easy to sell on and widely used. The Android OS really doesn’t offer the first feature by default since by its very nature it is open and instead of a single store where developers can rely on selling their goods, there are many. In its current form, this does not bode well for the Android OS.
In order to compete long term the Android system must have certain characteristics that every developer can count on being there regardless of the device using it. If that does not happen (and it currently hasn’t), larger developers are likely to steer clear of the entire platform due to support issues after product release and low margins. If Android can somehow group together and make a finite set of features that every device (or most of them) utilizes then that is a different story entirely and Apple has every reason to be worried.
If anyone is looking for a big story in technology or the big story of 2011, this is it. Will Android become synonymous to the Windows-ization we had in the PC market (and in the process possibly overwhelming Apple) or will each phone developer release their own brand of ‘Windows’ killing any semblance of solidarity between Android devices? A good question that we will continue to look at over the next year. In the meantime, please feel free to give us your thoughts in the comments.