If there was any single trend in 2010 that everyone noticed, everyone had to address, and everyone had in their pockets, it’s the move to mobile. Mobile platforms were big in 2009, led mainly by Apple’s iPhone. But in 2010, Android finally arrived in earnest, and by the end of the year, unit sales of Android were hovering at around 13% of overall mobile device sales, just ahead of Apple’s 12%.
And yes, that means there are still a great many non-smartphones out there. And Oracle hopes to address this market by refocusing Java ME to target clamshell and feature-phone devices. That means adding WebKit to Java ME so that portions of the browser can be stitched into mobile applications on tiny flip-phone screens.
But while Oracle targets the cheaper, more prevalent devices, everyone else in the developed world can clearly see that Android and iPhone are the future of mobile devices. Apple started the year by infuriating these folks, however, by stipulating that no intermediary compilation would be allowed for iPhone applications. That meant no Flash, no application translation tools, and no non-XCode-built software could be sold in the iPhone marketplace. By the end of the year, however, Apple had backpedaled on this policy.
Google, on the other hand, kept its anything-goes policies for Android. As a result, early in the year, some Android marketplace items were found to be spying on users without their knowledge. While Google removed these applications, it remains a concern in the less-regulated Android market. After all, even Steve Jobs suggested that if mobile device users want to see porn, they should get an Android device.
Perhaps the strangest development of 2010 was the relegation of former dynamos of mobile to also-rans. Even the introduction of a revised operating system and a tablet PC by RIM late in the year, did not change the fact that developers are ravenous to learn about iPhone and Android development. And Nokia spent much of the year flailing wildly, seemingly without any plans for its multiple phone operating systems and development environments.