The Rise of Apps, iPad and Android [telecom]

The Rise of Apps, iPad and Android


In 2010, the computer truly went mobile.

Sure, users of Apple Inc.'s iPhone have had the Web in their hands since 2007. But this past year, smartphones plunged into the mainstream, giving millions of people the ability to browse the Internet, watch movies and stream music anywhere they could maintain a cellular or Wi-Fi connection-and without having to find a place to sit down and boot up a laptop.

There were 81 million smartphones sold world-wide in the third quarter, the analysts at Gartner say, almost twice as many as a year earlier. They accounted for nearly one in five mobile phones sold that quarter. The chiefs of Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. think smartphones could account for nearly three of every four phones sold by the middle of the decade.

This surge has upended the balance of power in the wireless market.

Devices running on Android, the software distributed by Google Inc., and Apple's iOS have shot past Research In Motion Ltd's BlackBerry, Gartner data show. Android is even closing in on market leader Nokia Corp., which has struggled and replaced its CEO this year.

Microsoft Corp., a powerhouse on the desktop, is struggling to find a foothold, with just 2.8% of the market for its mobile operating system in the third quarter. It has pinned its hopes on devices running a new version, Windows Phone 7, which are just hitting stores.

This past year also saw the tablet computer finally get traction, thanks to Apple and its iPad. The company sold 7.5 million iPads in their first six months on the market, and Gartner thinks nearly 55 million tablets will sell next year.

The momentum in technology is now with devices that can easily be carried around and the applications that sustain them.

The Journal runs through the defining moments of that transition this year and look at what to expect in 2011:


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Monty Solomon
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