How Much Longer Will Android be the Underdog?

The perception of us Android users is much like the Linux crowd: thick black-framed glasses, translucent skin that hasn’t seen daylight since who knows when, and a foreign dialect that sounds slightly like a techno form of Klingon.  BUT for how much longer?  For the first year following its inception, Android has largely been an underdog in a four dog fight with Microsoft, Apple, and RIM.   While most of the focus has been on the mobile phone image of Android, it is quickly spanning to a slew of devices from onboard automobile PCs and  kitchen appliances, to of course the obligatory  smartbooks/tablets.
Even with the recent launch of the mighty Nexus One, Android is still languishing with poor network support (specifically for the N1), mediocre customer support for the hardware, and if we are to believe recent reports, the techno-sphere it is also suffering from poor sales.  Has Google watered down Android by letting it be all things to all devices and form factors, or are we still experiencing growing pains for a new, yet immature platform that can be a solid foundation for mobile computing.
I say the latter. Android has certainly had its fair share of problems, UI quirks, and all around issues. But as we saw at CES, it certainly is on the move.  And this is before whatever is going to be announced at MWC and CTIA in the coming months.
So after this short analysis, what say you?  Has Android peaked or is it just hitting its stride?

    I say it's just hitting it stride baby!

    I can't remember a mobile OS that was adopted a quickly and by as many manufacturers as Android has been. And with all the exposure from Verizon lately it only added to excitement surrounding the OS. Add to that the fact that its free to Manufacturers, why wouldn't they attach themselves to that excitement.

    That I believe is what will eventually land Android in the hands of the mainstream, it' adoption by so many companies on so many handsets.

  • Anthony

    My Droids is great and I might even plan to purchase a tablet when they release. Android rocks.

  • Fitz

    Maybe it's the fact that my skin has melanin and I'm a girl that means I'm inherently bound to poorly do the translucent fanboy thing of awaiting the mainstream breakthrough starry-eyed, but I think a lot of the readership of blogs like this one and similar will be wishing for these quiet, private days of exclusive Android ownership by the end (or even maybe by Q2 or 3) of 2010.

    Seeing: a) the "huh??" Android microwave that made the rounds a bit ago and b) the Android posting activity on facebook from surprisingly non tech-y friends who look like they're figuring out such a geeky OS just fine has convinced me that a peak won't consist of Steve Jobs coming to visit all of us in our homes to shake our hands, it'll just be a random, un-categorizable ramp-up.

    I say brace for mind-boggling brand confusion more than a charming fight out from the underdog seat.

  • Steven I

    I personally thing Android will stay the underdog until application developers (large and small) fully embrace the platform and release applications at the same time or before other platforms (iPhone, Blackberry, WinMo, and WebOS). I have yet to take the leap and purchase and Android devise because the applications that I use on a daily basis just aren't available yet for Android. I haven't found a good replacement for Bloomberg, Chase Banking, WSJ, NY Times, BGRMobile, Engadget, Directv, etc. I know most of these websites can be accessed through the web, but the convince of a dedicated application is unmatched. These are just a few from larger companies that still have yet to fully embrace the platform, and I think that's holding the platform back. Trust me, as a T-Mobile customer I would much rather have a 3G phone to use rather then Edge on my iPhone, but right now Android just doesn't offer everything I need. I hope (and assume) this will change shortly, but until then I think some people are going to sit on the sidelines.

  • I was amazed recently to notice in public places – how many people have a sony ericsson mobile phone – it would actually be interesting to see some stats at some point – it really does seem like SE has a big market – and if that is true it could well be the Xperia X10 which breaks through into mainstream – after all if a well known company like Sony is on the Android bandwaggon – how bad can it be??

    For what its worth – I have had SE since the k750i before which I had several models of Siemens phones (including the horrible yellow rubberised one MT35 I think)

  • Zack

    Part of the reason the Android app market is growing at what seems to be an exponential rate (nevermind iPhone having more in number alone) is because Android is a DREAM to write apps for. iPhone you need an intel mac and a developer's license, Blackberry is limited Java, and Windows Mobile is just a pure nightmare. I've dabbled in all three of these, and Android has by far been the most pleasant and rewarding developer experience I've ever had in my 10 years as a professional device programmer.

  • ez-e

    until at&t gets some compatible devices for their network.

  • make_j4

    @Zack: Developers will do what they have to do to get their job done. One look at the iPhone market will show that "barriers to entry" have been pretty darn minimal. The other platforms have suffered mainly from distribution issues rather than development environment; want to make money from selling a WinMo or BlackBerry app? Good luck with that. Apple solved distribution. That — coupled with drop-dead simple UX and sex appeal — places them deservedly at the front; with everyone else *thinking* they're playing catch up but are really the walking dead. Except Android. UX and performance are improving and it's a short matter of time until it catches up to the iPhone.

  • James

    Without a doubt the Motorola Droid was the first real competitor to the iPhone. The Nexus One follows that. Google has to spend more time on the UI but the people who I ask like Android very much. The number of iPhones that I see day to day dwarfs the number of Android devices but within a few years Android will certainly catch up.

    The big thing Apple and the iPhone OS have going for it is the iPod Touch. Android doesn't have anything like that as a secondary market. There are non-phone devices running Android but none that are particularly successful that I'm aware of. The iPod Touch gives Apple a huge market that isn't effected by the whims of the wireless carriers.

  • droid is great so i think in a year or two it will be the superstar..