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Android’s been sitting pretty this past year, overtaking Apple as the most dominant OS in the US and beyond. But a wave of competing operating systems and associated handsets is creeping Android’s way, from Hewlett-Packard to Windows Phone 7. Apple still presents the biggest threat to Android, with heightened rumors of a September release for the iPhone 5. The most recent report from Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Witmore indicates there will be two new iPhones: the 5 and the 4S.
Priced around $349, the 4S would come with a pre-paid voice plan, addressing consumer demand for a wider range of devices. Varied price points and access have been two sweet spots for Android, enabling it to take over iOS by giving consumers options. With older generation iPhones now lowered in price (the iPhone 3GS is now available at AT&T for only $49), Apple’s looking to compete at the mid- and entry-level price ranges.
Android wins in diversified handsets
The smartphone market is still a cutthroat environment, even as the tablet market shows promise. Android continues to encourage handset development, with devices like Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Active appealing to mobile users’ different lifestyles. HTC and LG are both leveraging Android 2.3 Gingerbread for 3D handsets, with the HTC Evo 3D reportedly hitting UK stores in July. The summer release date puts HTC head-to-head with the LG Optimus 3D, expected to launch around the same time. Both running dual-core processors and sporting dual cameras for 3D photo and video capture, Android’s handset variety alone has its own appeal in today’s consumer market.
Google suspends paid download apps in Taipei City
Another area of competition between iOS and Android is the app marketplace, where marketing an app can make or break a developer’s business. In Taipei City, both companies face scrutiny over their app refund policy, but Google went as far as suspending downloads of paid apps on the Market after being fined over $40,000 for not extending trial periods on its app downloads. Taipei residents had complained that they were unable to claim a refund for apps deemed unsatisfactory, leading local officials to send a formal letter to Apple and Google demanding an explanation and an outline of improvements by June 23. While Apple amended its refund policy, extending its trial period from 15 minutes to a week, Google replied with a recap on its existing refund policy, pointing out that app purchases can receive a full refund if uninstalled within 15 minutes.