An Android for "low-end" phones

It's possible that Android will be put on a "crash diet." Jeff Chiu, writing in Quartz, says that Google might try to drastically reduce the hardware requirements for its newest OS (codename Key Lime Pie), to better position itself in emerging markets. Doing so would also help reduce the level of fragmentation present on the platform.

The result would be a version of Android that requires just 512 megabytes of memory (RAM). That’s half as much as the current version of Android needs. Since early 2012, many owners of older Android phones have been unable to upgrade to the current version of Android because their devices have too little memory. That’s one reason Android is so infamously “fragmented,” with the majority of Android phones in the world currently running on “Gingerbread,” a version of the operating system that was first released in 2010.

Link to the full article in the source below. 

Usage vs marketshare

Despite losing considerable marketshare to Android, iPhone (and iPad) dominate mobile internet usage - a key factor in Apple's continued success according to Brain S. Hall, of Read Write Web.

iPhone 4: CC Image courtesy of William Hook on Flickr

iPhone 4: CC Image courtesy of William Hook on Flickr

A new study, this one by Experian, shows again that when it comes to actual usage, iPhone handily beats Android, with iPhone users spending an average of 26 more minutes each day on their devices. Android users use their devices 49 minutes per day - for iPhone users, that figure is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Hall notes that it is not clear why Apple retains this lead. (Other technology journalists have argued that Apple users, due to their higher income bracket, spend more money on apps and conduct more e-commerce transactions). Nevertheless, Apple's lead is substantial.

...that 26 minutes per day adds up to 3 hours a week, 156 hours a year - the rough equivalent of a full month of regular workdays for every user. That difference is critical in many ways, helping Apple continue to attract carriers and developers to its platform - and helps make its higher prices more palatable to consumers. 
For carriers, the iPhone's advantage in engagement makes it more valuable: more usage = more bandwidth = higher revenues. That will help Apple continue to hold carriers hostage to its hefty subsidy demands. 

In addition, iPhone users spend more time emailing, texting, using social media, and taking photographs than Android users. This lead reinforces Apple CEO Tim Cook's statement (at the D-11 conference) that "winning, for us, has never been about making the most."

Android and iOS mobile usage.

Everyone can succeed in mobile

Mobile traffic still only makes up 15% of all worldwide Internet traffic. That is less than one-sixth of all time spent on the Internet.

This was reported by analyst Mary Meeker at the D-11 conference. It is clear that mobile, though the most important technology sector, still has a long way to go.

Mobile Traffic as a Percent of Global Internet Traffic

Dan Rowinsky, of Read Write Web, summarizes Meeker's report.

We are currently in Year 6 of the Mobile Revolution (if we date the start of mass smartphone acceptance to the release of the original iPhone in July 2007). According to Meeker’s report, there are 1.5 billion smartphones users in the world, or about a 21% penetration rate of mobile users. Compared to the nearly 5 billion global cellphone users, smartphones still have a long road to climb. Believe it or not, in the big picture, smartphones are still in the early stages of adoption.

Smartphone usage

Rowinsky also points out that mobile is unique, insofar that it's such a large pie that nearly every player has the chance to succeed.

If there is really a remaining battle in the Smartphone Wars, it has less to do with Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft vs. BlackBerry and more to do with the race to connect the rest of the world to the Internet through mobile. The company that can best figure out how to solve that diverse and complex global problem will be in a great position to succeed for the decade to come.