Taipei, Tuesday, September 26, 2017 15:42 (GMT+8)
mostly cloudy
Taipei
36°C
New business model and strategies in China's smartphone market - Another kind of Android
Danny Kuo, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Friday 20 April 2012]
Registration required (free) to purchase. Please sign in if you wish to continue.
Android's open strategy and rapid progress has resulted in the emergence of a wide variety of Android iterations. On the hardware front, there are both Google-certified phones and tablets; while on the software front, there are also a number of customized and alternative versions of Android that use different interface designs. This Special Report examines how China-based vendors are also actively developing and evolving Android in a variety of ways for their own purposes.
Abstract
Commercial Android variants featuring different levels of modification

Google's open approach to Android's source code has enabled the operating system (OS) to grow rapidly in the smartphone market. Virtually all market research carried out on the subject shows that Android became the number one mobile OS by market share in 2010 or 2011, with shipments of devices running second-place iOS less than half the figure for Android.

Google's open policies may have helped Android to take the top spot in the market, but they are also a potential weakness of the platform. Some vendors have made modifications or additions to the functionality and interface of Android out of concern that the plain "vanilla" version of the OS was not sufficiently competitive with iOS or other mobile platforms in these areas. These modified versions in some cases already diverge significantly from standard Android, and can therefore be regarded as Android variants or "mods."

Besides competing with non-Android platforms, Android handset vendors' other primary motivation for modifying Android is the desire to make their products more competitive and distinctive within the Android market itself. The use of modifications to Android as a means to differentiate products also extends to telecom carriers and ecommerce companies who aim to use such modifications to expand the size of their original businesses and increase profits.

There are also pure enthusiast "mods," as well as variants created by smaller companies and startups hoping that their own distinctive modifications will allow them to achieve more rapid growth in the crowded smartphone market.

So are modifications to Android a good thing or a bad thing for the Android ecosystem as a whole? Do they create new markets that do not conflict or overlap with the original, official Android OS, or do they make the official Android market more chaotic and sow the seeds of future problems in the development of Android as a whole? Moreover, what is Google's view of these variant versions of Android? On the one hand, Android variants could bring models and ideas for new functions and features, but on the other hand could weaken Google's hold over app developers and eventually end users.

Even more importantly, the majority of commercially-oriented Android variants were created by companies in China. A key question is therefore whether Android variants can repeat the industry-changing success of China's white-box handset industry.

Table of contents
Price: NT$48,000 (approx. US$1,685)
Realtime news
  • ITC ruling raises Section 201 concern

    Green energy | 53min ago

Pause
 | 
View more

China AMOLED panel capacity expansion forecast, 2016-2020

RESEARCH EXTRAS | Jun 8, 15:37

This Digitimes Research Special Report examines the China AMOLED industry, focusing on the expansion capacity of the makers, the current implementation plans of major smartphone vendors in the market and the technological hurdles faced by China's makers.

Taiwan server shipment forecast and industry analysis, 2017

TAIWAN MOBILE DEVICE | May 31, 10:20

According to surveys and analyses conducted by Digitimes Research, revenues generated from sales of server motherboards, servers, storage systems and related network system equipment by Taiwan-based vendors rose 4.8% on year to reach NT$555.8 billion (US$18.79...

Taiwan handsets – 2Q 2017

TAIWAN MOBILE DEVICE | Aug 24, 14:56

The revival of the Nokia brand by HMD Global is benefitting Taiwan's handset manufacturing sector. Orders for Nokia-branded feature phones have become a main growth driver for Taiwan's handset shipments.

China smartphone market and industry – 2Q 2017

CHINA SMARTPHONE | Aug 18, 14:38

Digitimes Research estimates smartphone shipments to the China market in the second quarter of 2017 totaled 94.1 million units, maintaining a similar level to that seen in the first quarter of 2017 but down 11.8% on year.

Taiwan LCD TVs – 2Q 2017

TAIWAN DISPLAY SYSTEM | Aug 14, 11:13

Taiwan TV makers' shipments to some of their China-based clients were weakened by rising LCD panel prices in the second quarter of 2017, during which shipments to China's financially-troubled LeEco had mostly stopped.

UMC
Global AP demand forecast, 2017-2020
Global notebook shipment forecast, 2017 and beyond
  • China AMOLED panel capacity expansion forecast, 2016-2020

    This Digitimes Research Special Report examines the China AMOLED industry, focusing on the expansion capacity of the makers, the current implementation plans of major smartphone vendors in the market and the technological hurdles faced by the China makers.

  • Taiwan server shipment forecast and industry analysis, 2017

    Digitimes Research estimates that revenues from sales of server motherboards, servers, storage systems and related network system equipment by Taiwan-based vendors reached NT$555.8 billion in 2016 and the amount is estimated to grow 5.9% on year in 2017.

  • Global notebook shipment forecast, 2017 and beyond

    This Digitimes Special Report examines key factors in the notebook industry, including products, vendors and ODMs, that will affect total shipments in 2017 and through 2021.