Apple’s launch of the iPhone ignited a fiercely competitive market that now sits with 1.4 billion smartphone users across the world. 5 generations of further development (iPhone 4S is the latest) and the iPhone still sets an innovative example with inventions such as the app store. Sparking an entirely new industry, Apple has fundamentally changed the way we engage with the world in our everyday. The app store is now 25 billion downloads strong – 4 apps for every human on the globe – and with 600,000 apps available for download the Apple App Store can cater to pretty much anything. 200 million iPhone sales later and 23% current mobile market share, the iPhone is massive.
Just over a year after Apple had proven the success of a new generation of smartphones, Google joined the fight. At the end of 2010 they finally took the first place as the leading smartphone platform, and today they are on top of 56% of the mobile market share with 375 million handsets sold! Unlike Apple’s interconnected hardware and software, Android is an open-source operating system offered to mobile developers to use on their smartphones (Samsung, HTC, Sony, etc.) and free for developers to expand on. Android smartphones are therefore available on a great variety of handsets and for more affordable prices than their heavy contestant, the iPhone.
With their first smartphone released already in 1999, RIM’s (Research-in-Motion) Blackberry is heralded in the business sector, with just 11% of smartphone market share (Q1 2012). It prides itself in providing quality solutions for enterprises and business people and because of this and its high focus on security, Blackberry smartphones are endorsed by high profiles such as President Barack Obama and various US government agencies. In terms of style many Blackberry's differ greatly from the more popular smartphones with its distinct QWERTY keyboard preferred by some over touch-screen typing. Following the footsteps of Apple and Android, RIM launched its own Blackberry App World on April 2009, now with 70,000 apps available.
November 2010 was a huge turning point for Microsoft when the new Windows Phone was released. With an entirely new design compared to its predecessor it is expected to have great success along with the upcoming launch of Windows 8. Global market research companies expect its 1.9% market share to rise to around 20% by 2015. The design of the new Windows Phone – called Metro – has been adopted by multiple handset developers such as the Nokia and HTC. From no apps to 100,000 in 20 months, the Windows Phone Marketplace is quickly gaining momentum, which might increase even more with the launch of Windows 8.