Taipei, Monday, October 24, 2016 13:27 (GMT+8)
scattered thunderstorms
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.
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
  • Taiwan September unemployment rate down on month, up on year, says DGBAS

    Bits + chips | 1h 53min ago

  • ICP DAS expects new products to drive 4Q16 revenues

    IT + CE | 1h 59min ago

  • Black Cattle Food sets up 6G AMOLED factory in China

    Displays | 2h 4min ago

  • North American semiconductor equipment industry posts September book-to-bill ratio of 1.05

    Bits + chips | 2h 9min ago

  • Samsung rolls out 8GB LPDDR4 DRAM package

    Bits + chips | 2h 12min ago

  • FET to budget NT$10 billion on acquisitions and investments in 2017-2019

    Mobile + telecom - Newswatch | 2h 15min ago

  • MCU maker Nuvoton reports strong earnings for January-September

    Bits + chips - Newswatch | 2h 16min ago

  • More than 30 IC design houses to vie for fingerprint sensor market in 2017

    Bits + chips | 2h 21min ago

  • Taiwan market: iPhone 7 tops market share in September, says paper

    Mobile + telecom - Newswatch | 2h 30min ago

  • Yilan County Government sets up over 1,000 indoor W-Fi access points

    Mobile + telecom | 2h 34min ago

  • Taichung City adopts LED smart lighting solutions from Philips

    LED | 2h 36min ago

View more

Taiwan server shipment forecast and industry analysis, 2016

RESEARCH EXTRAS | Apr 1, 15:47

Strong demand from the cloud computing market helped Taiwan's server shipments grow 12.5% on year to break 10 million units in 2015, accounting for 90.7% of worldwide shipments and the percentage is expected to grow to 91.1% in 2016. This Digitimes Research Special...

China smartphone touch-panel industry 2016 forecast


In 2016, China's smartphone panel capacity is expected to increase steadily, with BOE and Tianma expanding 6G capacity and GVO and Truly Optoelectronics increasing their share of handset panel production. This Digitimes Research Special Report analyzes the key...

Taiwan handsets – 2Q 2016


Taiwan's handset shipments slipped 13.5% sequentially and 45.4% on year in the second quarter of 2016.

China smartphone AP shipments - 2Q 2016


Shipment of mobile application processors for smartphones and tablets in the China market are expected to grow 18.6% in the second half of 2016.

Global tablet market – 2Q 2016

GLOBAL TABLET | Aug 29, 18:33

Worldwide tablet shipments dropped 9.4% sequentially and 13.2% on year to total only around 40 million units in the second quarter of 2016.

Intel strategies in the mobile device market
Analysis of China revised domestic semiconductor industry goals
  • Wireless broadband developments in Southeast Asia markets

    As of 2013, the 10 ASEAN nations had a total of over 700 million mobile subscriptions, with the CAGR from 2003-2013 reaching 24%. This Digitimes Research Special Report analyzes the various mobile broadband markets in ASEAN and looks at the respective trends in 4G LTE development for those markets.

  • 2015 global tablet demand forecast

    This Digitimes Research Special Report provides a 2015 forecast for the global tablet market and analyzes the strategies of key market players such as Google, Apple, Intel, and Microsoft.

  • 2015 China smartphone panel trend forecast

    This Digitimes Research Special Report analyzes the strategies of key China-based major panel makers BOE, Tianma and IVO for attacking the different market segments through technology and pricing, and their relationship to local vendors Huawei, Lenovo, ZTE, Xiaomi and Coolpad.