There has been some interesting predictions on Android outselling iPhone. While this is interesting, it is too early to call.
The openness and free nature of Android will certainly make it very popular choice for most of the device manufacturers and carriers. But then, openness and flexibility doesn’t necessarily mean winning consumers.
I can’t help but compare Android to Linux. Both are open and gives the flexibility to the user/manufacturers/carriers. Like Linux, I expect Android to gain huge traction and gain decent market share. But then on the negative side, like Linux, we probably will see several versions of Android floating around going forward with a layer of carrier/device specific versions confusing the end user.
Linux has gained good market share on the server side but failed to gain a decent share on the desktop. One of the key issue, according to me is the User Interface. A good user interface makes a HUGE difference in consumer apps. I think Linux lacks that. There are some versions better than other (Ubuntu?), but then, we cannot compare most of these with Mac or Windows.
I expect the same issue with Android. Unless there is a company who can focus on bringing innovation on the UI side for Android, I expect it to have the same fate as Linux on the desktop. Don’t get me wrong, I love linux, but to get mass adoption, it needs to get a new face, kind of like the Mac which is actually built on BSD. Google is a great company on the server side, but unlike Apple, their expertise is on the server side which doesn’t help Android much.
If there is good focus by vendors/manufacturers/carriers etc on the UI, Android can outsell iPhone. On the other hand, if iPhone opens up their platform (which is unlikely knowing Apple), it is going to be a totally different ball game. Even then iPhone will still have lots of other advantages with its integration with iTunes etc.
Android and iPhone are taking two different approaches in the mobile market. iPhone started as a consumer product and is now becoming a platform with the recent SDK release. Android is taking the opposite approach where it started as an open platform and is moving towards end user products. Who will win? My vote is on iPhone. What do you think?