Google’s Android operating system is poised to take the glory among sales of smartphone handsets this year. Not bad for a 10-year-old, which has left doyens BlackBerry and Apple eating dust in some respects.
As if to confirm this, global electronics firm Samsung reported a record 88.4 million smartphone shipments during the third quarter, and its market share grew to 35.2 percent from 32.9 percent for the same period last year, the company said.
Although Samsung, a South Korean firm, launched its own operating platform for smartphones, Bada, in 2009, it dominates Android, an open source platform that was established in 2003
International speculation is that Samsung, the largest manufacturer of Android hardware, may own Android in future as the incremental differentiation of its products from other manufacturers running on the platform makes an intriguing story.
Besides the Android platform, Microsoft’s Windows-operated phones are popular locally, according to Arthur Goldstuck, the managing director of technology consulting firm World Wide Worx.
BlackBerry seems to be growing but it appears to be the older and cheaper Curve model that still appeals to many South African consumers.
Apple is choking on its own bite of the apple as it maintains a share of less than 10 percent of the smartphone market. The company has one model, a top-of-the-range device. Apple continues to sell older versions of the model but when it releases the iPhone 5s here, the device will not be much cheaper.
Beneath that is a tier of sophisticated, cheaper but under-the-radar options such as Huawei, the Nokia Asha range and newcomer to the premium category: the LG G2.
About 1 000 new aircraft will be needed to meet growth in demand for passenger and cargo flights in Africa in the next 20 years – 300 of them in South Africa, according to a forecast by Airbus yesterday.
Referring to the increasing number of foreign airlines flying in to benefit from the growth in the continent’s markets, Airbus spokesman Linden Birns pointed out that these will not all have to be provided by African airlines.
“How the market is shared among airlines flying to and within Africa (as a whole) and South Africa (in particular) will depend on the competition between them,” he said.
“This in itself will be determined by the regulatory framework that defines market access and ownership.”
Airbus and its US rival, Boeing, are competing for orders from SAA for its new long-haul fleet, some of which will be needed for its expanded route network in Africa. This will carry passengers for its new codeshare partner, Middle Eastern airline Etihad, in addition to its own passengers and those of fellow members of the international Star Alliance, while South African domestic and regional airline Comair has taken delivery of the first of a new fleet from Boeing.
An interdict obtained in the North Gauteng High Court has prevented the intended launch of a new domestic airline in this country by Safair, unless changes are made to its ownership structure to ensure that it meets the requirement that it must be South African owned.
But Skywise, a domestic airline that is preparing to launch, has leased Boeing aircraft.
Meanwhile, Airbus’s newest long-haul aircraft, the extra-wide-bodied A350, which is being flight testing and has been competing with the Boeing Dreamliner for an order from SAA, is to be shown today to a party of South African journalists, including Donwald Pressly, Cape editor and parliamentary correspondent of Business Report, in Toulouse, France.
Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Asha Speckman and Audrey D’Angelo.