Counterclockwise: Xperia Play, Samsung Galaxy, Motorola ROKR

By 02:08 Wed, 21 Jul 2021 Comments

Counterclockwise is our weekly trip down memory lane. We recount some remarkable (and some sad) stories of the past. This week smartphone OSes vie for market share while Sony and Motorola fail to capture certain market niches, games and music respectively.

Counting the growth rings on smartphone OSes

Three years ago IDC announced that Apple has become the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. It shipped 20.3 million units in the second quarter of 2011 and boasted 19.1% market share. Samsung came in second with 17.3 million in shipments and 16.2% market share.

This is the tale of the rise and subsequent rivalry of iOS and Android. Compared to the second quarter of 2010, Apple had increased its shipments 142% while Samsung had leapt 380%. Even HTC, then fifth, boasted a 166% growth.

A year later analysts took another see and announced that Android and iOS combined ruled 85% of the market. Even though Android had the lead in number of units, Apple was still raking in 77% of the profits. These days Android alone accounts for 85% of the market, up from 80% a year ago. Android's main app store also surpassed the iOS App Store a year ago.

Several recent OSes have sprung up in the meantime. In 2011 RIM was still plotting a QNX-based BlackBerry – it was losing ground to Android and iOS and needed to switch to a shiny, recent OS, which would later be dubbed BlackBerry Operating System (OS) 10.

A year later a different type of Operating System (OS) was being created – Firefox Operating System (OS) was to be based on open technologies and was backed by the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. Even though we saw screenshots as early as August 2012, it would be another year before the Operating System (OS) officially launches. We recently reviewed to check on how it was coming along.

To be fair, RIM wasn’t exactly flying either – in 2012 all we had of BlackBerry Operating System (OS) 10 was just a developer phone.

Game over for PlayStation Mobile

Looking back through our news archive we spotted a quick announcement from 2011 that Sony Ericsson is updating the software of the Xperia Arc and the Xperia Play.

It was a minor update, it didn’t even change the Android version, which remained at 2.3.3. But that’s not why we're bringing it up – it's becautilize Sony announced that it won't be supporting the PlayStation Mobile platform past Android 4.4.2.

The PlayStation-branded Android gaming platform came to be and fizzled out in the span of those three years. Sony may be winning this console generation wars but this failure in mobile will remain a black imprint in its history.

Now comes in white

Do you remember how long it took Apple to release a white iPhone 4? It had to redesign the capturing camera lens, which took a while. Of course there were white iPhones before that, it's just that the 4 proved a troublesome model.

But the iPhone 4 isn't the first phone to acquire a white color option some time after its launch, there are plenty of examples. The Samsung i900 Omnia got a white back in 2008 followed by the Samsung i7500 Galaxy a year later (that's the progenitor of the best-selling Galaxy family).

Another year after that a grandson of the Galaxy and the progenitor of the premium Galaxy S sub-family got a white paint job.

Things have cooled off on white in recent years and leaning towards gold, a craze kicked off by the iPhone 5s.

The failure of the first iTunes phone

Apple didn’t always have the iPhone – in September 2005 the Motorola ROKR E1 was unveiled, which was based on the E398 but had iTunes integration. It was the first iPod phone of sorts, it could pack up to 1GB of storage and 100 songs.

The original Apple iPhone was released to the market in June 2007. The ROKR experiment had proven unsuccessful (perhaps in part due to the heavy limitations on storage) and even before 2011 the ROKRs had lost their iTunes integration, the ROKR E2 had switched to RealPlayer (remember RealPlayer?).

Still, over the years recent ROKR phones were unveiled, including a trio in 2008. The torch was temporarily passed to the Motorola SLVR L7, which did have iTunes support, but neither the ROKR nor the SLVR proved as successful as the legendary RAZR.

That was a blackchapter in Motorola's history, one it's only just recovering. It helped that it spent some time under Google's umbrella to position itself as a high profile Android vendor and it has now gone to manufacturing giant Lenovo.



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