Android and alternatives target OEMs as next frontier

by Kristen Nicole

News of Ubuntu’s plans to bring Linux to the mobile space has raised the question of what the future could look like for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Linux has hardly made a dent in the current computing space when compared to Microsoft’s market share, and the dominance of iOS and Android in the mobile realm poses a similar challenge. But as the market begins to consolidate around the major players, Ubuntu sees its potential as an Android alternative. The Google-Motorola acquisition alone indicates the rising competition amongst OEMs as they also struggle to maintain relevance in a mobile world where only a handful of operating systems will rule.

Appcelerator expands to Asian OEMs

Appcelerator, the company behind the Titanium platform for mobile developers and publishers, sees a huge opportunity in partnering with OEMs, especially in the Asian market where many of them are based. Coming off a $15 million Series C round of funding this morning, Appcelerator’s cross-platform solution lets developers create a single app that can be published across all the major operating sytems. Extending that solution to OEMs means more distribution points to reach end users, and more direct content and monetization options for Android manufacturers like Samsung and HTC.

“We're moving very quickly on the Asian opportunity,” says Scott Schwarzhoff of Appcelerator. “Japan today is the number three country in terms of accelerated Titanium development, next to the US and India. And Korea's very strong as well—lots of good OEM opportunities with Android partners there. I think that for us we may open a physical presence in the UK in Q1 of next year, but the Asian opportunity is one that's very large from a strategic partnership standpoint, and in particular around Android. And Translink Capital as a venture partner is an Asian-focused VC firm, already providing huge boosts to our ability to penetrate that market.”

The promise of OEMs and Android’s open nature

OEM team-ups have proven fruitful for Pandora, expanding its points of integration to Android devices through featured app placement, as well as set-top boxes and even automobiles. The options for OEMs are certainly on the rise, as more connected devices flood the market and more consumer apps seek distribution channels for marketing or services. This is a key area to target as mobile operating systems and platforms alike take on the next frontier in consumer electronics, and this is one area Android’s open platform could really shine.