Cyanogen last month became the latest mobile operating system provider to fail to make a dent in the calcified duopoly of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. And the market likely won’t change before OSes aren’t the most important platform anyway, according to CCS Insight.
Cyanogen had generated a significant amount of buzz in the mobile world—it was named to the 2015 FierceWireless 15—with a tweaked version of Android focusing heavily on services, but the company essentially closed its doors at the end of last year after failing to gain any significant traction. The company joined a long list of players big and small that have either fallen by the wayside or failed to elbow their way into the market as Google and Apple solidified their positions as the only two players with mass-market traction: BlackBerry, Microsoft and Nokia have become all but irrelevant in the segment, while Firefox OS, LiMo, MeeGo, WebOS and others have disappeared in mobile.
Fresh data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech illustrates the dominance of the top two players. Android accounted for 72.4% of smartphone sales in the top five European markets for the year ending in November, the research firm reported this week, and iOS claimed 24.6% of the market, leaving all other players to fight for the remaining 3%.
One major challenge for smaller players is that major smartphone brands find them “too risky to implement on a flagship product,” CCS observed this week. Just as Apple and Google became disruptive forces in mobile nearly a decade ago, more disruption is on the horizon, the firm predicted. But it probably won’t be in the form of a third mobile operating system.
“Cyanogen’s collapse reminds us that it won’t be a direct attack that will disrupt the market for mobile platforms. Instead, it is the undertow of major new trends such as artificial assistants that will alter consumer behavior and expectations,” CCS wrote.
“A decade from now, we might not be talking about Android or iOS, but rather Google Assistant or Siri, or perhaps Alexa, Bixby or Cortana. The current two-horse race is likely to be disrupted by a different type of race, rather than a different type of horse.”