Google Android has seen an increase in its market share in Asia from 16% in 2010 to 52% in 2011, according to a report from ABI Research. The tremendous jump in numbers is of no surprise, given that two of the leading Android handset makers, Samsung and HTC, are based in Asia with a strong presence in the same region.
Due to its open-source nature, Android has been popular amongst manufacturers for one simple reason - the absence of licensing fees to be paid for using the operating system (OS). This is especially important to manufacturers looking to reduce overall costs and churn out low-cost smartphones in emerging markets. The smartphone market in Asia could see a time of turbulence as entry-level smartphones take a bite out of the market share and force the bigger players to re-evaluate their strategy in emerging markets.
However, the real disruption will most likely come from Microsoft. As the Redmond-based company enforces its patents on the Android OS, both HTC and Samsung have agreed to pay licensing fees to Microsoft for the use of the Google mobile OS on their devices. While the big boys can afford to pay up, this will cast a shadow of doubt on smaller manufacturers who might be priced out of the Android ecosystem, should Microsoft choose to go after them.
It remains to be seen if the lawsuits filed by Android's competitors are going to have any negative impact on its growth in the near future.