Over the past few years, Android has come to dominate the market shares of smartphone and tablet operating systems. Now, the operating system can be seen making inroads into new industries and device types.
Meanwhile, a new study by VDC Research projected that Android device sales will eclipse 900 million a year by 2015, spurred by market-share increases not only in smartphones and tablets, but also through integration into medical devices, connected car systems and military communications devices, among other applications.
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“Android has really emerged quite rapidly, as the fastest-growing operating systems of all the verticals we track,” said Christopher Rommel, vice president of machine-to-machine (M2M) and embedded technology at VDC Research.
VDC conducted a survey of 500 engineers and developers working on Android projects. The survey asked about current and future projects, the growing role of the application developer community, and which vendors are expanding into M2M and embedded systems. VDC’s research also incorporated project information from vendors, including companies like Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, Siemens, Sony and Wind River.
VDC research showed that one of Android’s biggest growth areas by 2015 will be in connected car systems, forecasted to grow by more than 62% over the next three years. The boom is fueled in part by initiatives such as the GSM Association’s Connected Car Forum, which is helping the connected car market grow through automakers and mobile operators working to improve the speed and quality of telematics and infotainment services. The research showed that Android will gain ground on other OSes competing for car OEMs, based on the ability to upgrade outdated OEMs of older vehicles with technology on par with smartphone and tablet capabilities.
Android is already taking hold in aftermarket systems like the Kenwood DNN990HD connected navigation system and the Clarion AX1 car stereo system, based on Wind River technology. At the moment, Windows Embedded Automotive, QNX Car Platform, and GENIVI-compliant solutions have a leg up on Android, but QNX is hurt by the plummeting value of BlackBerry and, research points to Android making big gains in automotive OEMs, according to Rommel.